10 Classic children’s books to read before Book Fair

Abigail Poag, Staff Writer

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In the midst of literary analyses and assigned reading, it’s easy to forget the years we spent sneaking books under the covers and begging our parents to read us just one more story. In honor of Book Fair, here are 10 children’s books to bring you back to the good-old-days of illustrations and large print. Funny voices (NOT) optional.

“The Cat in the Hat” – written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is an integral children’s book author, and no story captured our imaginations as much as that of the charismatic cat who turns a rainy day into an opportunity for fun. Although a giant talking cat with questionable fashion sense is always mildly creepy, this classic book never disappoints.

“Curious George” – written by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey

Is anything better than an adorable monkey going on adventures with a trusty side-kick, the man with the yellow hat? Clearly not, as George’s antics always kept us captivated and giggling. The cheerful pictures helped too.

“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” – written and illustrated by William Steig

The donkey Sylvester, upon finding a colorful pebble, accidentally turns himself into a rock without a way to transform himself back. We never looked at rocks the same way after this.

“Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” – written and illustrated by Mo Willems

This charming read follows a hilarious pigeon as he endeavors to convince us, the readers, to let him drive a bus. Featuring Willems’ cartoon-like drawings and a host of sassy lines, we hadn’t rooted so hard for a bird since Big Bird on “Sesame Street.”

“Where the Wild Things Are” – written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

After throwing a temper tantrum, Max finds himself transported to another land filled with creatures, the “Wild Things.” Containing stunning illustrations of jungles and beasts as well as a nuanced storyline, “Where the Wild Things Are” became one of our parents’ favorites too.

“Chrysanthemum” – written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum, a young mouse, experiences the harsh realities of growing up when the other children tease her about her name. We can thank this book for teaching us about acceptance and helping us learn to spell the titular flower. “Chrysanthemum” is a long word for a first grader.

“Frog and Toad” books – written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Easygoing Frog and sincere Toad are one of the most iconic duos of children’s literature. The book chronicles the friends’ escapades as they search for a missing button, eat cookies and make relatable facial expressions.

“The Giving Tree” – written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein

This deceptively simple story focuses on a boy growing up before a tree’s eyes, taking apples, branches and eventually the trunk from the generous tree. A work that spurred controversy and varying interpretations among its readers, we just thought of this book as the “sad one.”

“Magic Treehouse” series – by Mary Pope Osborne

Siblings Jack and Annie travel through time with the help of a magical treehouse, exploring everywhere from ancient Egypt to the prairies of the 19th century midwest. With its straightforward plots and snappy titles, this extensive series kept us going back to the library week after week. It also made us all want treehouses.

“Harry Potter” series – by J.K. Rowling

Few can say they’ve entered upper school (or even middle school) unfamiliar with the tale of a boy named Harry and his fabled battle against the evil Lord Voldemort. Ushering in a new generation of fantasy-lovers, this series introduced us to a world of magic, friendship and quill pens.

 

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