by Maria Schulz
Recently, I got an email from Amazon.com about “100 Children’s Books To Read in A Lifetime.” The list that was chosen by the Amazon editors immediately brought me back to my kids’ youngest days and our beloved bedtime ritual: a snack, book, and then lights out! The kids would go off to dreamland, and I would enjoy an hour or two of TV time with my husband or sleep…blessed sleep.
The fun thing is that my girls got just as a big a kick out of naming some of their favorite books from those days as I did. Here’s our list…
15 Favorite Children’s Books
The Rainbow Fish
By Marcus Pfister
This beautiful book, with its glittery scales and shimmering pages, was a big favorite of my daughters. They loved the story of the conceited fish with shiny scales that learns how to be happy and have friends. Personally, I didn’t like the idea that the Rainbow Fish had to give up who he was to be accepted, but my kids still consider this one to be a favorite.
By Vanessa Gill-Brown
A little girl decides to pass her dog off as a little girl and bring her to a birthday party. When everyone sings “Happy Birthday,” Rufferella belts out her own version…and becomes an overnight pop sensation. Then she’s invited for high tea with the Queen of England, and the fun really begins. This book was so hilarious that even now, it’s making me laugh. I used to beg to read this one!
Pat the Bunny
By Dorothy Kunhardt
We got this book and stuffed bunny gift set when my older daughter was born. It never ceased to amuse her and later, her sister. They loved playing peek-a-boo, smelling flowers, and patting the bunny. In fact, when it came time to name the stuffed bunny, it was easy. We named him Pat.
The Velveteen Rabbit
By Margery Williams
“‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'” If you don’t love this story about a toy rabbit that longs to be by “his” child’s side all of the time—and eventually become real—you might just have ice water running through your veins.
Where the Wild Things Are
By Maurice Sendak
Let the Wild Rumpus begin! After Max threatens to “eat” his mother up, he’s sent to bed without supper. So off he goes to the land “where the wild things are.” Of course, the Wild Things think Max is: The. Greatest. Kid. Ever. Especially since he dances with them and howls at the moon. Every page of this book is funny, and I say that after having read it at least 12,000,000,000 times.
By Pamela Duncan Edwards
This family dog’s work is never done! He has to guard his family’s big blue “kennel,” wake the whole family up at sunrise, dig holes and move plants in the garden, walk the children on a leash, and more. This story always cracked us up, especially since Muldoon sounded a lot like our dog.
If You Give a Mouse A Cookie
Laura Joffe Numeroff
If you give a mouse a cookie, he may ask for a glass of milk. And if you give him a glass of milk, he may ask for a mirror….This mouse never gets tired of asking for things, and he demands more and more, leaving the little boy exhausted. He sounds a lot like some kids I know.
Detective La Rue: Letters from the Investigation
When the Hibbins’ cats go missing, Mrs. LaRue’s dog, Ike, is framed. Through newspaper clippings and “desperate” letters to Mrs. LaRue, Detective LaRue pleads his case…while he’s on the lam. When my daughter heard I was writing this blog post, she insisted that I include this book. It still makes us laugh, and I’m a lot older than the intended age group.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
By Mo Willems
When the bus driver gets off the bus for a break, he tells readers: “don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.” Unfortunately, this particular pigeon just won’t take no for an answer. He begs, pleads, freaks out, and says something every parent has heard their child say: “I NEVER GET TO DO ANYTHING!” This book was a scream…and we all enjoyed saying NO every time the pigeon asked if he could drive the bus.
My Somebody Special
By Sarah Weeks
“Our busy day is almost through. Somebody special is coming for you. Somebody special will open the door. And you’ll be the one they’re looking for.”
If you’ve ever had to run from work to pick up kids, only to find them sobbing by the daycare door, BUY THIS BOOK! I read it to my girls every night, and it made them laugh (look! The mommy dog is running to get there on time!) and told them I’d always come back.
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
By Jamie Lee Curtis
My kids weren’t adopted, but they loved this story about a little girl who asks her mom about the night she was brought home. It led to lots of stories, questions, and laughter about the night each of my kids came home from the hospital.
Winners Never Quit
By Mia Hamm
Remember when your kids (or nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc.) wanted to quit playing because they lost a game? In this book, Mia Hamm tells the story of how she stomped off the field one day after losing, only to be shunned from the game the next day. She quickly learned how to lose gracefully thanks to her siblings’ tough love. My kids played soccer and absolutely loved this book.
The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
Chester Racoon is afraid to go to school and doesn’t want to leave his mommy’s side. So, his Mom draws a “kiss” on his hand to show him that she’s always with him, even when he’s away. The Kissing Hand was a godsend on those early back-to-school days when my kids needed help being just a little bit braver.
By David A. Adler
This first chapter book/mystery series captivated my daughter so much that it launched her into a lifetime love of reading. With her photographic mind (Cam stands for Camera), curiosity, and smarts, Cam Jansen solves cases while the adults are still scratching their heads. This series reminded me of my own personal favorite detective—a certain Miss Nancy Drew. I read all of those too!
Tales From A Hungry Life: A Memoir With Recipes
By Maria Schulz
Shameless plug? Well, sure. But I was delighted when I found out that my daughter was telling her campers the stories from my book—and they kept asking for more. So go ahead…read a story or two from my book to your kids. It may inspire a bedtime snack or two, and send them off to dreamland happy, content, and laughing
The beautiful thing about homemade cookies is you control what goes in them. Besides, a cookie or two never killed anybody. Just keep the serving size small, and don’t forget the milk.
I really tried to find a healthy snack recipe that I could share that I would personally want to eat before bed. However, I didn’t find one. Here are some of my own healthy, low-cal bedtime choices:
Toasted whole grain bread with almond butter
Apple slices with peanut butter
Whole grain crackers with a small wedge of cheese
Toasted almonds, raisins and carob chips (keep this to ¼ cup)
Low-sugar cereal with milk
So, Hungry Lifers…what was your favorite book when you were a kid? Which book did you love reading to your own kids? What is/was your favorite bed time snack? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!