Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Salon: I Like Short Books

"I often joke," children's author and illustrator Eric Carle says, "that with a novel you start out with a 35-word idea and you build out to 35,000 words. With a children's book you have a 35,000-word idea and you reduce it to 35. That's an exaggeration, but that's what's taking place with picture books."*

I'm focusing on happiness in my reading this year. One of the precepts of happiness is knowing yourself, knowing what you like, knowing what has the probability of making you feel happy.

So what kind of books do I like?

I find I am full of contradictions, but....

I like short books best. Most of my favorite books are short books.

I like books with pictures.

Rhyme. Repetition. Simplicity. Depth.

Children's picture books, then.

I like children's picture books best. I've often thought that if I ever became a high school librarian, I would dump all the awful enormous and boring books and replace them with children's picture books. Just to see what happens.

I'm working my way through 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. I've joined a Yahoo group that's reading these. I've been shocked at how few of these I've read (only about 200!)

How about you? Do you read many children's picture books? What are your favorites? 

A second busy reading week in 2010. Seven fantastic reads:

*From an article in The Guardian


  1. Home of the Brave and Calvin Coconut!? Are you kidding me!? I love both of these books and picture books too. Lots of life lessons can be learned from picture books, not the least of which is to laugh.

  2. I have just started the 2010-2011 Texas Bluebonnet Books. Home of the Brave and Calvin Coconut were the first two I've read. Bodes well for the 2010-2011 Bluebonnets!

  3. The only picture books I get to read right now are my 15 month old's favorites. So we read the same 3 or 4 books over and over and over. I'm just thankful that she loves books so much at this age. She will pull her books off the bookshelf and look at them all by herself. I love introducing her to my favorite books.

  4. There is something about reading books over and over that makes them beloved. What is that? I found myself naming as my favorite books some of those I read on a daily basis to my children. Why does that happen? They say familiarity breeds contempt!

  5. Hi, I'm a children's picture book author from London, UK and I think that a good picture book is like a good song - you love it so much, you want to hear it over and over again until you have to join in. There's also comfort in the familiarity and joy in the shared reading experience with your child.

    One of my favourites is a re-telling of 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' by our previous children's laureate - Michael Rosen (illustrated by Helen Oxenbury).

  6. Great post! I love children's books also. Some of my favorite children's books are those illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman especially her version of Little Red Riding Hood. It isn't dumbed down to kids and interesting for adults too.

  7. thnx for your nice words on my blog. I like your blog too and omg you do read a lot :) BTW have you seen how many books we have in common on Goodreads? :)

  8. I like short books too- I made up a "short" tag on my librarything account to remind me of the shorties when i need a quick read!

  9. I will take a look at your list at Goodbooks, Marion! I'm always looking for a mentor, for someone who reads like me!

  10. I like the idea of a "short" tag. Must add this to my books, Marie!

  11. I have fond memories of The BFG from my own childhood, but I have no doubt I'd be sadly behind if I tallied what I've read from the 1001 Children's Books. Sounds like a great list to check out, though!

  12. This was a fun post. I do enjoy wandering into the kids book section and buying up presents for my N&Ns - It's always fun and uplifting.

  13. I love picture books, too! I love reading them to my class. One of my favorite parts of the day! I have too many favorites to name here. I would love to see the books they have listed in 1001 Children's Books...I have the adult version of this book but now I am thinking I want the children's book version, too!


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