Books I still love

As a book-lover and a mom of many, over the years I’ve spent a lot of time reading books to my kids.  I’ve gotten tired of lots of stories.  (My least favorite? Books adapted from Disney movies– yikes, they make me crazy.)  But here are some books that I’ve literally been reading for a decade or more and still love to see, even though in many cases I just about have them memorized.

I’ve linked to each book on amazon.  Many are listed for mere pennies– folks obviously don’t know what fun these books are!  If you have an account on or a good local used bookstore, check there too.


1. A Week of Raccoons by Gloria Whelan — charming drawings and repetition, fun ending

2.The Napping House by Audrey Wood, Don Wood –cozy and lyrical

3. Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, Lynn M. Munsinger –Tacky is one funny guy.

4. You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love — sure to squeeze mom’s heart

5. Mrs. Toggle’s Zipper by Robin Pulver, R. W. Alley –adorable folks, charming problem-solving

6. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau — amazingly detailed drawings and a big message

7. Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel — an early reader that will have everyone chuckling

8. But No Elephants by Jerry Smath — this one has you rooting for the elephant

9. Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson — exuberantly poetic

10. Hedgehog for Breakfast by Ann Turner,Lisa McCue — a tale of hilarious misunderstandings

I hope you have fun checking out a few of these books.  And I’d love to hear which story books have delighted you and your children over the years!



  1. J. Johnson says:

    I’ve read many books to my children over the years, but there is only one that I read so many times that I could still repeat the story verbatim after not having read it for several years: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. (My children are now 13 and 17.) My son’s 2nd favorite book was Green Eggs and Ham; my daughter’s 2nd favorite was Owl Babies.

  2. I have so many favorites, but the one that really gets me excited when my kids pick it out is Pigs In The Mud In The Middle Of The Rud. We have great voices for each character.
    And I couldn’t agree with you more on the disdain for Disney books. Ugh!

  3. We love Aunt Minnie McGranahan by Mary Skillings Prigger. She is an old maid who ends up adopting her 10 nieces and nephews following her brother and his wife’s untimely death – based on a true story. I will also second Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – excellent, fun book to read. Another favorite is How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague – and Teague’s books Dear Mrs. LaRue and Detective LaRue are good too. And as a Mama, I love the book I Love You As Much by Laura Krauss Melmed. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

  4. Oooooo! I love a good book list!

    We LOOOOOOOVE “You Are My I Love You.” The Best!

    And I agree about Disney books. Or Star Wars books. Or any book based on a movie or cartoon!!! I refuse to read them. That is NOT literature. 😉

  5. I could, and have in fact, read the Napping House several times in one sitting!! Love, love, love that book!!

  6. My girls just love Tacky! Have you read “Listen Buddy” by the same author? They always crack up at the end of that one.

  7. Don’t know if these two count–they’re chapter books from the children’s section of the library, and this is one mom who has adored both of them (relatively new books, btw).

    First, _Crunch_ by Leslie Connor. Tells the story of a close-knit family who micro-farm (in a lot of the same ways you describe your family doing, btw). The parents entrust the children to their older siblings while they take an overnight trip. Only gas runs out. In the whole country. The kids have more than one overnight to navigate the booming bike business that is happening in their back barn as well as lots of other troubles–but they do a magnificent job of sticking together and loving each other through the gas “crunch.”

    Then, _Moon Over Manifest_ by Clare VanderPool. Set in the Depression era, this book tells the story of Abilene Tucker’s first trip to Manifest, a small Kansas town with a colorful past–that includes some characters who might matter a lot to her own developing story. VanderPool weaves the old stories of Manifest together with Abilene’s story. Delightful.

  8. I noticed Lisa McCue listed on one of your books. We have some little Corduroy board books and at least one other that she illustrated, and have always found her illustrations to be sweet. One of the many I still enjoy reading is Bear Snores On. The rhythm of the rhyming language is enjoyable, and so is the story. “The coals pip-pop and the wind doesn’t stop…” I’ve always enjoyed the Mary Ann Hoberman books we have as well, especially Seven Silly Eaters.

  9. Anything by Bill Peet, but our most favorite was Kermit the Hermit. At one time, I could recite it by memory. My two kids are now in college and I still remember many of his books. Fun memories!

  10. Ooh! What about “My Monster Mama”? 😀 And “No Matter What”??

  11. I loved reading “A Million Chameleons.” and also “Mouse Paint” and “Mouse Count.” And Leo Lionni books. I think I could go on and on.
    I am with you on the Disney books. I hated them, and most commercial character books and toys. At the preschool/childcare I supervise I don’t allow commercial character anything (no Mickey, no Barney, no Dora) with the exception of Winnie the Pooh characters, because they are based on real literature.

  12. I love Panda Palace! My husband got it for our daughter when she was little and the boys loved it. That one is a keeper for the grandkids! I would add “The Hallo Weiner” by Dav Pilkey (Of Capt. Underpants fame,) to the list. Best pun book EVER.

  13. I love the Wood’s books. Another one that she wrote and he illustrated that I adore is “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub.” I’ve also always loved “Tiki Tiki Tembo” and the classic Dr. Seuss readers.

  14. Two we read over and over are “Over the Moon” by Karen Katz and “The Mulberry Bird: An Adoption Story” by Anne Braff Brodzinsky (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one – all of us). They are both adoption related books and they all like to hear the stories. Of course, they also like that they make their mother cry. I can’t get through either of them without a few tears.

  15. Karen. More for the young adult or mature reader; i read it when i was probably 13. it’s out of print, i’m sure. i still have my ancient copy of this book. story of a girl with cerebral palsy who has a great family and lives a marvelous life on Long Island. So inspiring. Well, anyway. Also, The Family Nobody Wanted. (going waaay back to what I loved!) my girls love Yoko. the “girl’ (cat”) who takes sushi in her lunch box and all the kids laugh at her… until one day she explains it and lets them taste it. yummy.

    • Oh my, I remember this book from JR high (and I’m in my 40’s). I still remember the front cover.

      Karen in TN

  16. The Story of Ping and The night of the moonjellies. 🙂

  17. Caillou series by Chouette Publishing, you should really check that out.

  18. Here’s a few I can think of that my youngest daughter loves and many of these my older girls loved too.

    A Chair for My Mother-maybe this one is a favorite because my mother was a waitress and a single mom too.

    Big Red Barn and Good Night Moon-I can not say how many copies of Good Night Moon we’ve purchased. It gets worn out.

    Lots of the Dr Seuss series books. This daughter loves Put Me in the Zoo. My favorite is Inside Outside Upside Down.


    Blueberries for Sal

    Eric Carle Books

    A new favorite that I purchased this last year is If Jesus Came To My House by Joan Thomas

    My 4 yr olds favorite right now from the library are the Angus books. She’s loves that Scottie Dog.

  19. These were all new to me, I’ll have to check them out. I second the hate for Disney movie turned into books!

  20. For reading before bed my 12 year old still enjoys the “Little Bo” books the best or Peef.
    The reading material has changed for all my children but as my grandchildren visit me they enjoy the thousands of books ‘gramma laura’ has with them especially liking the eric carle books and the amelia bedelia ones.
    Of the thousands of books in my house my all-time favorites have to be Shel Silverstein books and Eric Carle ones.
    Not a fan of rewritten books of a movie but when a movie is produced based on a book—they can be most enjoyable and eye-opening. This helps people to want to read the book as librarians will attest to.

  21. I recently spoke to a group of moms on how to increase brain power in their children and I, too, mentioned to them that those awful Disney books are to be avoided at all costs. It beats me how my young children all want to spend their dime on those books at the library cast off sale! They are impossible to read aloud and many moms who want to read aloud to their children give up on it simply because they have chosen the wrong book.

    Give me Mike Mulligan and His Steam shovel!

    Jill Farris

  22. I am so happy to see your list of books! Thanks for sharing.

    Our favorites are by Maine author Robert McCloskey:
    Make Way for Ducklings – love this one
    Blueberries for Sal – love this one too
    One Morning in Maine- um, love this one too!

    We have always had a “no TV books” for when we are choosing books at the library. My problem is that my youngest 4 haven’t watched much TV and so it is inevitable that one of them will end up choosing a Sesame Street, Arthur, Disney or some other such annoying book. I have had other moms at the library glare at me when I say “no” to those books, but who in the world wants to actually sit down and read them? LOL

  23. I love Big Red Barn! And, I know most people dread it, but I still love Good Night Moon. When the kids were very young, I’m as Quick as a Cricket and I Love You as Much…were our nightly routine. As they got older, anything with Minerva Louise made them giggle, Sheep in a Jeep, and as much I as I got tired of them, the lift the flap Maisy books made all my toddlers laugh, esp when looking for Panda in a toilet – yeah, I know. My faves are Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Katie the Big Snow, and the tear jerker The Little House. so many good kids books yet also SO many bad ones out there! thanks for listing your faves – just like recipes, tried and true are the best!

  24. Owl Babies, The Seven Silly Eaters, and all the Frances books are what leap to mind right away. We have a current new favorite here that I just found at the library… Millie Waits for the Mail. About a cow that likes to scare the mailman.

  25. I never get tired of:

    Any of the Festus and Mercury books by Sven Nordqvist

    The Present by Michael Emberley

    Rocks in His Head by Carol Otis Hurst

    The Serpent Came to Glouchester by M.T. Anderson – my favorite

    On a Tall Tall Cliff by Andrew Murray

    The tale of Custard the Dragon – Ogden Nash

    Weslandia – Paul Fleischman

    Okay I’ll have to quit, I guess. But so many really truly great books are out there hiding. You never see them on book lists and they just get overlooked. You almost have to stumble across them like we did most of these. Thanks for the list, I’ll have to check out each one.

  26. I forgot Brother Juniper by Gibfried.

  27. I also wanted to add that we love all the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd – great rhyming, fun stories about Hairy (a dog) and his friends who get into all sorts of trouble.

  28. Blueberries for Sal! My parents read it to me. I read it to my kids. They borrowed it for babysitting. Pretty sure it will be on their kids’ bookshelves when the time comes.

  29. Re: Disney books. Saturday Night Live (I have only teenagers!) just did a skit on Disney acting school and it definitely hit on all the things I find annoying in Disney shows and movies. We also avoided Disney books. You want The Jungle Book? We read Kipling. You want Jasmine? We read 1,001 Arabian Nights of …? Can’t remember the exact title. My girls are older. Been many years. I would add The Elephant’s Child to our list of favorites, speaking of Kipling.

  30. Angela Mayer says:

    Thank you, Mary! I just ordered them all through the library system. Our local branch had Dinner at the Panda Palace and we are enjoying it. I second all the Robert McCloskey books…favorites here!

  31. We loved many of the Sandra Boyton books when they were really little.
    some family favorites I didn’t see mentioned were
    One Snowy Night
    Little Bear and Frog and Toad stories
    Many Moons
    Miss Rumphius and Roxaboxen by Cooney
    Miss Piggy Winkle (we skipped the magic parts)
    Just in Case you ever Wonder by Max Lucado

    Sorry our kids are older and we live abroad so I don’t have the authors right on hand.


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