Friday, May 21, 2010

Children's Books You Might Have Overlooked

I've been at this Mommy job for 30 years. Here are some books that you might never have thought of, or even heard of that are worthwhile to read to your kids. (Or they might want to read it for themselves.)

1. Mary Poppins. If you think seeing the movie is the same as reading the book, think again! Unless your child's imagination is dead, they will absolutely love this book, especially if read by mom or dad. And the best news is, the book Mary Poppins is only the beginning of the series. There is also Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, Mary Poppins in the Park and Mary Poppins and the House Next Door. This is absolutely the best series of books to read before bedtime, and don't be surprised if older siblings, ones that are much too old for Mary Poppins, listen in too!

2. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is absolutely a great book to read on a cold winter afternoon! Make a cup of hot chocolate and read it it aloud to your kids. This book has it all; winter nights, villains, suddenly becoming an orphan, danger, train rides and menacing wolves. You will love it!

3. Magnificat This is not a prayer book, despite what the title implies. This is a book to read to the kids , preferably during the warm days of late spring to early fall. It is the story of an alley cat that is simply magnificent! Read the adventures of this cat, that eventually lead him to the ultimate in loyal acts, and his trip to heaven to receive a rainbow colored halo. (obviously a fiction book) This book will stay with you.

4. Miss Suzy - This was one of my most favorite books when I was young. So much so, that when I had my first children, we waited months for an intra library loan in order to get it to read to my kids. Then came Ebay, and I was able to buy a few copies. I just checked, and there are some copies available right now. Essentially, this book is about a squirrel, Miss Suzy, who lives happily at the tippy top of a tree, until a group of red squirrels evict her. She goes into an open attic window and spends the winter with some new found friends. But by the spring, she wants to be in her old home. New found friends to the rescue. A totally delightful story.

5. Nancy Drew and the Crooked Bannister - A nice thick, complete story featuring the teenage sleuth and her friends Bess and George. The story has such enticing elements as, a mad scientist, a family squabble, a robot. Trust me, you'll enjoy, and very easy to find on Ebay for about $5.

6. The Bobbsey Twins and the Playhouse Secret - This is the original series of Bobbsey Twins when they offered a full exciting story before the Twins became an easy reader series. Read this story in the last weeks of January, with some nice hot chocolate on the side. The story in a nutshell: the Bobbsey parents have to leave home to take care of a family member who is very sick in another state. Slightly deaf, Aunt Sally, a family friend comes to take care of the kids. At the same time, a shady antiques dealer comes to town and starts to scam people, hiding the toys in a playhouse that the Twins find by accident. Elements of this story include, being snowed in, a Valentine's Day Party, a Sleuth Club, and capture of the scammers. Very easy to get on Ebay at very reasonable prices.

7. A Christmas Carol - You've seen the movie a dozen different times, with a dozen different casts. Even with different spins on it, but nothing compares to the original. "Marley was as dead as a door nail, of this we must be perfectly clear." A history lesson, for this story portrays life of 1843 England exactly the way it was. I have read that it Dickens wrote this book after having a dream, within two weeks. Elements in this story are generosity, renewal of ones humanity, ghosts, and how one's life touches those around them, even people they don't know.


Lily said...

I think I shall look into these books, Sweet Mary. I have read #5 ( I looooved Nancy Drew when I was young) and I've read #7. I don't think I've read any of the others. Thank you, we are looking for more read alouds right now. It is a fun time, I have four who are all interested in hearing the same things these days!

Mary Bennett said...

Some might take a little dedication, like Magnificat! , but worth the trouble. Let me know as you read the books. I'd like to know how your kids enjoy them.

abroadermark said...

Oh, oh, oh...I LOVE Miss Suzy!!! It was my favorite childhood book. The copy I had as a little girl disappeared, but I've since found two other copies at thrift stores. I read the story to my kids every so often, and they love it as much as I did/do. Even my little boys love it!

Lori said...

Don't you just love that when you're reading to your youngest and slowly everyone gravitates and snuggles up to listen to the story?

Mary Poppins looks like a fun read. We'll check it out for sure. Thanks for the tip.

Also, I sent you a Tweet. Your link below to follow you on Twitter seems to be broken. I'm following you on Twitter through your Twitter name on the Blog Frog. :)

Cheryl Lage said...

What a wonderful post! I will most assuredly delve into some of these with my twosome!

Thank you so much for linking up with Way Back When-esday! Hope you will often!

Style Attic said...

What a great post. Thanks for doing the leg work and offering up the ideas :) It will be great for summer reading ideas! A friend of mine also mentioned The Boxcar Children mystery books. They are really old school, but avail in local libraries.

Moderate Means said...

I am one of those people that firmly believes that the book is always better than the movie...but I had no idea that Mary Poppins began in book form! And that there is a series! We've just finished reading the "Ivy and Bean" series and I was going to try Nancy Drew next, but I think I'll check for Mary Poppins at the library. Thanks for the book ideas - I love finding new books to love :)

Mary Bennett said...

Hi Everyone! Thank-you for your input on this post. PL Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins series, had a long writing career with Mary Poppins. I believe she died around 1997, but had authored "Mary Poppins and The House Next Door" sometime in the late 80's to early 90's. Travers herself was born in the early 1900's. Because I read these books myself as a child, then to my children, and then also during troubling times, the Mary Poppins series is a sort of comfort food for my brain.

Rachel said...

I love Nancy Drew! I remember reading that series as a child. I need to get some of my kids reading that series.

Love your list of books. Thanks for doing that!

Found you via theblogfrog.


Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

I also had no idea that Mary Poppins is a book! I'm off to check my library online!


Lala's Pequenos said...

Wonderful list! I didn't know about the Mary Poppins books!! Glad I found you via blogfrog!

Katie said...

Great books. May need to try some of them. I found you from the mom loop

Anonymous said...

Probably urban legend, but I heard that Pamela Travers cried when she first viewed the Mary Poppins movie. I don't blame her -- the books are so much better!


Mary Bennett said...

A big thank-you to everyone who found me via-blogfrog and the loops. Please let me know when you start to read Mary Poppins. May-be we could read it to our kids at the same time, and share blog notes?


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