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Favorite Kids Books for Grown-ups

Some great books you may want to share with your own children

There are few joys of parenthood more sublime than curling up with your little (or not-so-little-anymore) ones and sharing a good book, especially a book you loved during your own childhood. As in any genre of art or entertainment, children’s literature goes through its own trends and fads, but some titles stand the test of time. We asked some local parents what books they loved when they were kids, and what they are sharing with their own children today!

“I apparently loved Dr. Seuss. I remember The Cat in the Hat Comes Back being a preferred one, also The Sleep Book. My kids love Cat in the Hat books, but possibly because of the cartoon show. My favorites to read to them are Dr. Seuss of course, but also Marilyn’s Monster.”

– Katie Venit, Eau Claire

“For chapter books, my favorites were The Secret Garden and Little Women. I shared The Monster at the End of This Book with my kids, but I don’t think they were interested in The Secret Garden. My younger daughter liked Little Women. Today I LOVE Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables.”

– Amy Renshaw, Eau Claire

“Mine was Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. I couldn’t wait to get to the big dog party at the end. My mom would read it to me every night and at the end she would ask me to find the dog with the yellow hat, or the one dancing. Great memories! My daughter’s favorite, at the moment, is My No, No, No Day! by Rebecca Patterson. It’s the best book about a toddler who’s having a pretty frustrating day with itchy clothes and a ‘hurting foot.’ ”

– Alyssa Van Duyse, Chippewa Falls

“I actually learned to read at age 3 by watching TV game shows, and my parents enrolled me in the Beginners Book Club, meaning a book would come by mail once a month, and I’d devour them. Mostly Dr. Seuss, but also P.D. Eastman (Go, Dog. Go! and Are You My Mother?) and Berenstain Bears (The Great Honey Hunt). Those books remain on a prominent shelf in my living room, and they still make me smile.”

– Dean Kallenbach, Eau Claire

“My kids have loved Paddington books by Michael Bond and Little Bear stories by Else Holmelund Minarik (and illustrated by Maurice Sendak). Written in the Fifties and Sixties, they’re sweet yet funny, and funny in a way that we both enjoy. Little Bear books are also great easy readers for beginning readers, but not so simple that I was ever bored reading them aloud. They’re brilliant.”

– Kristen Berger, Eau Claire

“We read Little House in the Big Woods (and subsequent books) on a never-ending loop. (My poor mother.) I introduced them to my oldest as well and she started the loop again, too. I still love them for the most part, but I discuss how the language about Native Americans makes me uncomfortable and why. I also loved the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books when I was little and it drove my mom nuts that I wanted to read them so often. (Triplets that dressed all alike and were Norwegian. Anyway, she still has some of them and reads them to my daughter. She loves them, too.) I also loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series. I’ve read it with my daughter, but it was WAY over her head and I don’t think she appreciated it yet.”

– Rachel Hart-Brinson, Eau Claire

“Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is my childhood favorite. Still read it to my kids. It has a creative, crowd-sourced resolution!”

– Joshua Johnson, Chippewa Falls

“Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is one of my favorites. My grandchildren love Curious George, Froggy, and Clifford books, as well as most books by Sandra Boynton, especially Blue Hat, Green Hat.”

– Monica Holtz, Eau Claire

“Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. I loved it as a child and have shared it with my children and nieces and nephews. I have also used it in teaching lower elementary art classes. And I even presented an interpretation and analysis on it in college. When I used it in teaching art I also showed the video after the art was made and the lesson was complete. It’s such a wonderful story about using your imagination to create your own world.”

– Susan Santee-Buenger, Eau Claire

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