..well, not that different. But today, April 2, is International Children’s Book Day; instead of a review, I thought I’d post some recommendations for children of all ages. (Or if you’re like me, and perfectly happy to read kid’s books because they’re books and they’re there and some of them are really quite good)
For the very young:
Chu’s Day is a wonderful little picture book by Neil Gaiman. There’s a sneezing baby panda in it.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, is another good one; this time involving mice and cookies.
But No Elephants, by Jerry Smath, is about neurosurgery. Kidding. It’s about an old woman grudgingly acquiring a houseful of animals; hijinks ensue.
For 4-6 (or so) year olds:
The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish (again by Gaiman) is hilarious, and the title basically explains the whole story.
I Want My Hat Back is by Jon Klassen, and the first time I read it I laughed so hard I could barely breathe.
Where’s My Cow, by Terry Pratchett, is a great take on the Spot-the-Dog type books.
For kids getting into chapter books:
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J Sobol is a great book in an equally enjoyable mystery series.
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien is one I read as a kid; I loved it.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate diCamillo is absolutely adorable–a huge-eared mouse saves the day for everyone.
(good grief, they’re almost all animal stories. let’s change that with the next category!)
For the more advanced readers (but still age-appropriate):
The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud is a great adventure story set in an alternate-reality London.
The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley is one of the best retellings of the Robin Hood story in the history of ever.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (by Avi) is a book about a girl crossing the Atlantic when a mutiny breaks out aboard the ship.
(Of course there are so many other choices, including classic options like Treasure Island or Johnny Tremain or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; but if you’re reading a review blog I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with them, so I thought I’d look for things a little less ubiquitous) Aaand, those are some of my suggestions for the book-loving child in your life. And if they don’t love books, give one of them a shot anyway. You never know what might ignite the spark.
Happy International Children’s Book Day!