Archive for the ‘Classic Books’ category

The Classic Winnie-the-Pooh

September 20, 2018

What a great belated-birthday surprise I had this past weekend from my daughter and son-in-law.  They surprised me with a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston!

One of my favorite characters was there to greet me!


Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff…

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” ~Eeyore

I have to say I was probably more excited to see this exhibit than all of the youngsters that were there!

Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, and their friends are beloved characters in our family. If you get a chance, you have to see this exhibit. Kids will love the little bed, the steps on the halfway down stairs, Eeyore’s house, the bridge, and all of the interactive activities included in the Hundred Acre Wood exhibit. Adults will enjoy the artifacts, letters, photographs, drawings, and history that go along with the Pooh stories written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard. There’s so much to see and do that everyone will be entertained.

These pictures I’m including are just a few of the many things to see.


A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin


“One thing you should know, no matter where I go, we’ll always be together.”~Christopher Robin


The inspiration for A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh


Pooh and Friends

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” ~Winnie-the-Pooh



Treasured Editions



Pop-up Books and Fun Activities





Sketches by E. H. Shepard

“Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more to give way to the happiness of the person you love.” ~Winnie-the-Pooh



“Any day spent with you is my favorite day.” ~Winnie-the-Pooh







Interactive Play in the “Hundred Aker Wood”

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ~Winnie-the-Pooh


My feet would love to do some interactive play in these!


A little creativity and Eeyore has a new home!

If you love Winnie-the-Pooh like I do, here are two books that might be of interest to you and your family.


other winnie

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~Winnie-the-Pooh







Learning Everything – Little Golden Books

January 8, 2015

A much-loved Christmas present was the book, Everything I Need to Know I learned From a Little Golden Book. It was written by Diane Muldrow. She’s the editorial director at Golden Books/Random House and an author of children’s books of all ages. She knows books.

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If you look carefully, the book resembles a classic Little Golden Book. It’s the same in appearance and size, but it is has more pages than the usual Little Golden Book. The inside cover has the familiar place to add your name as the owner of the book.


The next page is the copyright page with a cuter-than-cute illustration of the “poky little puppy.” Following the title page, is a lovely introductory letter written by Diane Muldrow. Then the fun begins. If you know Little Golden books, you’ll be delighted with what you see. Memorable pictures from classic Little Golden Books greet you with each page turn. At the bottom of the page is the title of the book, the names of the author and illustrator, and the year in which the book was published. The text consists of sage advice that accompanies each illustration and offers a refreshing outlook on life. Here are some of my favorites. “Use your imagination.” “Stay curious.” “Be a hugger.”

Like other Little Golden Books from my past, this book is one to be cherished. It was given to me by my daughter. Who knew she could choose a book with such wisdom in it? I’m the mother. I’m supposed to be imparting my wisdom to her!

Little Golden Books have brought many hours of enjoyment to my daughter and me. Hopefully, someday I’ll have a grandchild who will find these books just as appealing as we do.


Monkey See, Monkey Do

February 20, 2014

One book missing from our school library was CAPS FOR SALE written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina. I’m sure somewhere along the way it was either lost or damaged and was never replaced. The horror of it all!


This book is a classic! Its simple text and story line are perfect for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Esphyr Slobodkina’s narrative and illustrations capture the attention of young readers and keep it with the silly antics of the monkeys as the peddler tries to retrieve his caps. In just 672 words, the author included color concepts, left-right directions, repetition, and a mixture of just-right ingredients to produce an entertaining story that begs to be read again and again.

CAPS FOR SALE is no longer missing from the shelves of our library, and it shouldn’t be missing from yours!

The Important Thing

December 19, 2013

At this time of year when priorities can easily become confused, a certain book comes to mind. I’ve mentioned this book before, but it’s a classic and deserves to be mentioned again.

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The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown has been around for over fifty years, and it still hasn’t lost its charm. The illustrations by Leonard Weisgard are a combination of bright colors and black and white drawings that compliment Brown’s rhythmic text. It’s a perfect book to share with a child. It celebrates the importance of the world around us − the simple things. When the book ends, the story need not end. You can continue by telling about the things you think are important. It’s fun. Give it a try.

With Christmas just around the corner, here’s my important thing.

The important thing about Christmas is the presence of love. It’s a time for family and friends, a time to share, and a time to laugh. But the important thing about Christmas is the presence of love.

What’s your important thing?


August 1, 2013

The Boxcar Children written by Gertrude Chandler Warner was the book that put me on the road to reading. I fell in love with Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. I wanted to live in a boxcar and have the same adventures as the Alden children. Warner’s writing and appealing characters motivated me to read her subsequent books and develop a fondness for mysteries.

When I learned Patricia MacLachlan was writing a prequel to the original Boxcar Children, I was a bit hesitant. Patricia MacLachlan is a phenomenal writer, and if anyone could do the job she would be the one to do it. But would she stay true to Gertrude Chandler Warner’s original story and characters?


I turned to the first page of MacLachlan’s prequel. I was immediately transported back to my childhood. Patricia MacLachlan maintained the same storytelling magic as Gertrude Chandler Warner. The Boxcar Children Beginning immerses the reader into a simpler time. It entertains. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. The story demonstrates kindness, family values, and sucks you into the Alden family’s adventures. Patricia MacLachlan didn’t disappoint. Her prequel is a winner!

This is a perfect book to read aloud with the family. It lends itself to discussions about past history, The Great Depression, and work ethic. It’s quality summer reading!

What’s Important?

April 11, 2013

What’s important? The Important Book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard is. It’s been around since 1949, and it’s still popular today.  That says a lot for a book!


I’ve used this book year after year with my students. The book lends itself to discussions and provides a springboard for writing activities. Repetition plays a big part in making this a great book to share. Each page of the book follows a pattern.

Look at what some of my second graders wrote.

The important thing about a goldfish is that it swims. It is gold and small. It lives in a bowl full of water. And it has gills for breathing. But the important thing about a goldfish is that it swims.

-by Sydney

The important thing about school is that you have recess. You have lunch. You have math. You read. You write. But the important thing about school is that you have recess.

-by Henry

The important thing about gold is that it is shiny. It is the color of the Green Bay Packers! Leprechauns love gold. It’s worth money. But the important thing about gold is that it is shiny.

-by Andrew

I decided to share in the writing fun.

The important thing about families is that you are there for one another. Sometimes families make you laugh. Sometimes families make you cry. Families pull together during good times and bad times. But the important thing about families is that you are there for one another.

-by Me

Speaking of families, we went to visit our daughter over spring break. We stayed eleven days. That’s almost four times as many days as Ben Franklin said visitors should stay. In his words, “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” We took showers. We didn’t stink, but we stretched the limits of our stay. What can I say? We love our daughter! She’s family. And during our overextended visit, we picked up a new family member.

A wonderful man asked our daughter to marry him. We’re thrilled! We now have one more person in our family to be there for.

That’s the important thing!

Read to Your Child Day

February 14, 2013

Have a heart! Not only is it Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Read to Your Child Day. What better gift to give to your child than a book that you can read together. It’s a great way to bond and to instill the love of reading on this special day.

Here are some classic book suggestions from our family’s treasure trove of books that have been well read over the years.

Toddler Books


Pat the Bunny was a real favorite in our house, but I think we patted the bunny a bit too often.


The pop-up version of The Little Engine that Could provides lots of fun for both parent and child, but the original version is still my favorite.

Picture Books


While living in the Boston area, my daughter made Make Way for Ducklings one of her favorite picture books.

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As you can see, she still loves those ducklings!


Dr. Seuss’ And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street is a great way to encourage imagination!


Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Katy and the Big Snow are long-time favorites for both boys and girls.

Beginning Readers


Who could not love these two books? The Cat in the Hat and Frog and Toad Together

For Middle Grade Readers


Here are two more enduring classics to enjoy. Runaway Ralph and Charlotte’s Web

For Older Readers

Little Women and The Secret Garden



These books have remained all-time favorites in our house. The older copy of Little Women belonged to my mom and was passed on to me. The newer copy belongs to my daughter. The older copy of The Secret Garden was given to me as a gift, and the copy on the right I gave to my daughter.

There are so many wonderful books to share. Children grow up quickly. Don’t let a day pass by without reading to them or with them.


You’re never too old to be read to. So cozy up with your child and some books in a comfy chair and read!


January 24, 2013

Books are fascinating. When my niece gave me a copy of Riley Child-Rhymes with Hoosier Pictures written by James Whitcomb Riley, I was captivated. The book is an 1898 edition and belonged to my great aunt. The pages are yellowed and it’s falling apart, but Riley’s poems and the Hoosier Pictures by Will Vawter are all there. I was holding a treasure!


James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was known as the Hoosier Poet because of the poems he wrote, using childhood memories and dialect of his home state of Indiana The illustrations, known as Hoosier Pictures, were created by Will Vawter (1871-1941), also of Indiana. He worked closely with Riley and illustrated many of Riley’s works.


In Child-Rhymes, Vawter’s black and white illustrations enhance Riley’s poems. Some poems are short and others are longer and tell a story. “Little Orphant Annie” entertains children with witch-tales and warns them “the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you Ef you Don’t Watch Out!” “The Bear Story” is a funny tale of how a youngster went out to kill a bear. It reminds me of how children love to exaggerate when telling adventures of their own. In “The Happy Little Cripple,” Riley writes about a little child who has “Curv’ture of the Spine” and whose Pa “runned away” because he was drunk. They’re not your ordinary rhymes of today, but Riley’s poems provide humor and insight into what life was like in simpler times.

This new-found treasure has been a source of entertainment and has enriched my life.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

January 17, 2013

As the announcements of the Caldecott and Newbery Awards approach, I came across the 1948 Caldecott winner. White Snow Bright Snow was written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin.

The eighteen inches of snow we had dumped on us days before Christmas has all but disappeared, and I find myself yearning for more of the fluffy white stuff. White Snow Bright Snow is the perfect answer for the winter season. It’s an ideal book to cuddle up with someone special in front of a nice warm fire and read together.


The book starts with a snow poem, which sets the stage for what is to follow. As the story begins, the postman, the farmer, the policeman and his wife, the children, and even the rabbits are anticipating what is to come. Suddenly, snowflakes appear. The adults deal with the snow in very practical ways, but the children laugh and dance while trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues. During the day and into the night, the snow falls to create a beautiful white landscape as can be seen by Duvoisin’s double-page spread. The next day the children and the rabbits take advantage of the snow, enjoying their time outside. The adults go about their daily chores despite the snow. The snow slowly melts as the story comes to a close. “…the smell of wet brown earth filled the warm air.” When the children see the first robin, they know spring has arrived.

Tresselt’s lyrical language found throughout the story adds to the beauty of the book. And Roger Duvoisin’s use of bright red and yellow make the pages sparkle against the more subdued background colors. The team of Tresselt and Duvoisin make this book a classic.

I eagerly anticipate the new Caldecott Award winner and Caldecott Honor books.

Enjoy these snowy picture books:

Snow written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

The Snowy Day written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Snow written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz

Over and Under the Snow written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Snowballs written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Oh! written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

A Perfect Day written and illustrated by Carin Berger

Katy and the Big Snow written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

Teaching with A BALL FOR DAISY

August 28, 2012

The Caldecott Medal winner, A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka is a wordless book about a dog and her special ball. There are underlying themes of loss and friendship which Raschka expertly conveys with his bright and charming illustrations.

This book presents teachable moments and lends itself to preschool through first grade curriculum in numerous ways. If you’re using it in your classroom or library, here are a few suggestions for extended activities.

For preschoolers:

While sharing the book, have students name the colors used by the illustrator. Discuss the expressions on Daisy’s face as the story progresses. Is she happy? Is she sad? Why? What happened? Engage students in conversations about what makes them happy or what makes them sad.

For kindergarten and first grade:

To aid in language development, have students retell the story in their own words as you page through the book.

It’s never too early to talk about the different parts of the book – character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.

Promote imagination. Have students make up a new story about Daisy and her friend and draw illustrations for the story. This can be done as a whole group activity or in smaller groups.

However you choose to use this delightful picture book, make sure to enjoy the story from beginning to end!

If you’d like to watch and hear Chris Raschka talk about his books and illustrations, click here.

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