Reading To Kids Is FUNdamental!

About once a month on a Saturday morning or a lazy Sunday afternoon the Hubs & I take our two kidlets over to the library to stock up on books. Our son is four and daughter is two and both are such book lovers we’d go broke if we bought them even half of the ones we borrow each month from our local library!

We mainly read to our kidlets at night before they go to bed, but we have been known to squeeze in one or two into our morning routine before rushing off to pre-school (for the kidlets) and work (for us, though – I wouldn’t mind swapping with them for a day!).

Not only is reading a great way to stimulate young minds and is the first step getting them learning to read on their own, but it’s also a great way to spend quality, one-on-one bonding time together.  I love nothing more than having one – or both – of my kidlets cuddling up under my arm on the couch, being quiet, still and totally in the moment of taking a story in.  Sometimes we point and talk about different elements of the pictures, other times we sound out words together.

Like a lot of boys, our son likes books that feature trucks, cars, dragons or dinosaurs in them while my daughter prefers ones that center around animals and people.  There are some books we’ve read to them a thousand times and our kidlets can recite the story along with us!  There are also some books that are a total bust, with the binding cracked open only once to read.

Here’s are my kidlets top five current favorites, in no particular order:

The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse is the latest entry from Eric Carle.  If you are a parent, I am sure you know him well. We have many other of his books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and From Head to Toe, to name just a few.  His books are simple and straightforward with wonderfully colorful illustrations.  In this book, the animals are painted in bold, wild, and unexpected colors  – just as a child would paint them. Most of Carle’s  books are also printed as durable board books, so they stand up to destrcto kidlets, but this one is a large hardcover one with slick, glossy pages.


I Stink by Kate & Jim Mulligan.  It’s the story of one garbage truck’s alphabetic trip through the city collecting trash! My son’s favorite part of this book is when I put on my garbage truck voice “Beep, Beep, outta my way!”  We’ve also read almost all the others in this series I’m Dirty, I’m Mighty, I’m Big and I’m Bad.  Only from researching this blog post did I discover that these authors just came out with a new installment in the series entitled, I’m Fast I’m sure I’ll have to find that book at the library this weekend!

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone is based on an old folk tale.  The little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from her animal housemates to plant and tend to it. However, no one will help her. She winds up making a delicious cake that her friends want to eat, but since she made it alone, she eats it all by herself.  The moral of this story is that those who show no willingness to contribute to an end product do not deserve to enjoy the end product.  I have to read this book to my daughter EVERY DAY.  Why?  I really don’t know, the closest I can come is that I think she likes the repetitiveness within the story itself.

A Dragon Moves In by Lisa Falkenstern. A rabbit and hedgehog are enjoying a picnic when they feel a rumble and think they’re having an earthquake.  Rather, it’s an egg-quake, a baby dragon one. Baby moves in with rabbit and hedgehog and before long realize they have a growing problem, their dragon! Instead of moving to a new home they decide to follow the current suburbanite trend of razing the house and rebuilding a much larger mc-mansion in its place.  The illustrations in this book are spectacular, the expressions of the animals faces are so lifelike, but not in a scary way.

Personally, I like the moral behind The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.  It’s teaches children the value of optimism and hard work and how when you combine these two traits together, no mountain is too big to climb.   This is the first book my son actually bought himself, with birthday money his Great Aunt had sent him.  He had heard this book at school and came home asking for it about a year ago.  My hubs had an earlier version of this classic tale as a child (which is also still available) but I really like the updated artwork.  Now my daughter adores it as well.

There are so many more books that I’d love to talk about, but this post would go on FOR-EVER, and we can’t have that, so I’ll just list a few honorable mention books here – sort of my list of reliable and “go-to” books in a pinch:

Margret & H.A Rey’s Curious George and the Firefighters

Corduroy by Don Friedman

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

(and his other series Knuffle Bunny are good ones too!)

What are your kids favorite books to read?  What was your favorite book when you were your kids age?  Have you read it to them yet?

Copyright © 2012 The Harried Mom. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Sherri says

    Oh, Mike Mulligan! Loved that book…and my son was borderline obsessed with garbage trucks when he was small and would love the stink book.

    Books have always been a huge thing in our house, and I have never regretted time or money spent on them!
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      Somebody actually gave us Mike Mulligan & Corduroy together – and for the longest time my son didn’t want to read either of them. I don’t think he was too into the illustrations, but now that he loves hearing stories – he loves them both.

      I have no problem with buying a book vs. a toy, I’d rather have the house overrun by books than Matchbox cars & Hello Kitty toys anyday!

  2. says

    Our current favorites include Tickle Monster (for the 2 year old) and Shel Silverstien’s collections for the 6 year old. I’m thrilled that they enjoy reading so much — because I enjoy reading so much!

    Other recent children’s books that we adore include Duck & Goose. And the Little Quack books.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I’ll have to check out Shel Silverstein’s books. We also read the Gossie books – at least my 2 year old daughter does!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I also like The Pigeon Has Feelings Too and The Pigeon Eats A Hot Dog – they’re so much fun! I def have to get Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I’ve heard of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – I just requested it from the library – sounds like it’s my kinda book too!

  3. says

    We love anything by Mo Willems and Mercer Mayer. My youngest is on a Little Critter kick, which makes me happy because I have such a huge collection. We also love Henry and Mudge and Berenstain Bears.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Mo Willems is great. We have all the Pigeon books now…and someone gave us the Knuffle Bunny book – which I didn’t even know existed. So sad to hear of the passing of the Berenstain Bears creator, my kids haven’t been exposed to them yet, but now seems like the perfect time!

  4. says

    My daughter will LOVE I Stink! (especially since the word stink is part of it)…
    Right now she’s in a big Disney Princess phase so she loves her bedtime book with different original stories.

    My husband also reads a compilation book, Mike Mulligan and More, which includes the classic favorites The Little House.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      We love Mike Mulligan & Mary Ann too! My son feels bad for Mary Ann when all the steam shovels are pushed over the cliff! Luckily my daughter is more into Hello Kitty than princesses at the moment, I can’t take any more Disney books – I’m all Car-ed out!

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