The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown

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This was my dad’s favorite book when he was a kid, but I didn’t know it until I happened to see it among a set of Little Golden Books at the grocery store.

Little Golden Books were a big part of my childhood but lately the brand has been diminished a bit since they now let just about any story be published with that distinctive gold spine. But the classics are still worth reading and still appeal to modern kids.

This is now one of my favorites as well. Margaret Wise Brown has such a distinctive rhythm and this may be her best work. The words on each page dance. Perhaps my favorite page in any book is this one:

“And suddenly Brush woke up and Hush woke up.
It was morning.
They crawled out of bed into a big bright world.
The sky was wild with sunshine”

The illustrations are also lovely and strange. Just a wonderful book.

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton

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It’s hard to know what books will resonate with a child, but this one sure did. Even a year or two after first reading it, our four-year-old still pulls it off the shelf and wants us to read it.

Flip-Track Mountain

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We got this used and it may be ‘out of print’ now. It was an enormous hit with our two-year-old and remained so until he was 4 or 5. The tracks don’t fit with any of the other track-based toys we have, and some of the plastic fittings have gotten worn over the years, but we keep it in a plastic tub in the attic and pull it down every now and then for the kids to play with.

The tracks are patterned as road on one side and train rails on the other, so you can flip them depending on whether you want to drive a car or a train. Seems trivial as an adult, but it appeals to young kids.

And most of the fun is in putting it together, rather than actually playing with it. It’s essentially a 3D puzzle that the child assembles, with the trick being how to get the track to loop around and reconnect with itself.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

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This book is a classic, and an essential book for some children who are beginning to learn how to read. It’s fun for parents and children to read together, but I got tired of reading it after the tenth or so time. It reminds me of the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas” in that there is a mountain of words you have to climb over to get to the end.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

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We had never heard of this book when it was recommended to us. We have since read it about a brazilian times. For a few months it was always the one our two-year-old wanted to read before bed.

David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon

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Our 3 year old loves the David books and can “read” along since we have read them many times. The books are full of imaginative illustrations that will appeal to children and adults.