Holiday gift-giving can be overwhelming for some folks, especially as children grow faster than weeds, and one never knows just what items a beloved grandchild, niece or nephew already has grown to disdain. All the more reason to stock up on some reading materials to while away a winter’s interlude.
For the budget-conscious, look through the library’s catalog or ask the librarian to assist you in selecting titles from the children’s section. Remember that inter-library loan gives you access to many more titles if your local library branch doesn’t have a copy of a book you’d like to borrow.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the children’s books featuring animals that I’ve grown fond of and recommend for children and their favorite grownup readers:
• “Martha Speaks” by Susan Meddaugh: young Helen Finney’s dog is able to speak after eating alphabet soup (look for several sequels to this amusing pup’s adventures)
• “The Mitten” by Jan Brett: a child’s lost mitten gets tried on by animals of all shapes, and sizes, with an amusing outcome (the illustrations for this book are especially wonderful)
• “Argyle” by Barbara Wallace: a picture book about a sheep whose wool finds him fame, for an unusual reason
• “The Cows Are Going to Paris” by David Kirby: cows find the pastures of Paris are indeed as green as they appear from their side of the fence
• “Bedtime for Frances” by Russell Hoban: Frances, the energetic badger, finds bedtime is not for sleeping
• “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff: a mouse gives its human boy a workout in meeting its mousy demands (follow-ups to this theme are also available: If You Give A Pig A Pancake; If You Give A Moose A Muffin)
• “The Wind in the Willows,” a classic by Kenneth Grahame, features the friends Mole, Rat, and Badger and the adventures their friendship with Toad leads them into
• “Pet Shop Follies” by Mary Ann Fraser: the pet shop animals try to attract customers by putting on a show
• “A Day, a Dog” by Gabrielle Vincent: a tale of an abandoned dog (in pictures only)
You don’t even need a holiday to give you a reason; children’s books about animals can be appealing, whatever the season!