In Grade 12, I remember studying for my English Literature provincial exam by reading and re-reading syllabus material and memorizing quotes from each piece. I could rattle off a couple of lines of Shakespeare, Tennyson, Swift, Chaucer and Brontë. Depending on the exam’s essay topic, I was ready to cite!
Nowadays, the titles on my reading list have become a lot less … intense. My essays might be titled: “From a Hippo to an Armadillo: Why Certain Animals are Excluded from the Pack,” or “The Politics of Giving Baked Goods to Mice.” For while I can no longer quote Brontë or Tennyson, I most certainly can recite Boynton and Numeroff. Children’s books that drive me bonkers are ever-so-subtly exiled from our home library. I don’t know how many times I re-read Lit 12 textbook, but I can assure you it was nowhere near how many times I have read any of my children’s favourite stories. Having them memorized means I can read them (literally) with my eyes shut, or retell their simple tales while keeping an ear on the radio.
From now until April 26, when you buy any children’s book at Amazon.ca, you will save $5 off select PlaytexBaby products through the #PlaytexReads program. If you’re looking to add some fun reads to your children’s bedtime routine, or seeking a gift that will not make the recipient’s parents curse you every time they see the cover, here are my five favourite children’s books from birth to preschool!
5 Books You’ll Love to Read to Your Kids
These five books have been part of our collection since my son was born, so I’ve been reading them now for almost five years. Unlike certain titles that have snuck out the door and into the donation bin, I will read these titles every night for another five years! As sick as I got of the antics of Jane and Mr. Rochester, my kids will never turn down the chance to read one of these stories … often multiple times in one sitting!
The text of this beautifully illustrated board book is the lyrics to both of my children’s all-time favourite lullaby about a little white whale on the go. This is THE song that has calmed and delighted both of my children at nap and bedtime, or when freaking out in the car. Warning: do not read this book. Sing it. Little Miss holds this book in her lap and hums the tune to her dolls.
But Not the Hippopotamus
I loved this book when I read it to my cousins, and as with all of Sandra Boynton’s titles, I love it to this day. It’s simple, it’s silly, it rhymes …. and it poses one little conundrum. Depending on your copy, the very first page (which you’ve probably also memorized) may or may not look like this:
You see, in some copies, the hog and the frog do not “cavort.” Apparently, they just “do a dance”!
Mog’s Family of Cats
This is the epitome of simple children’s stories. There’s a cat. We meet the cat’s extended family. The cat has a birthday party. The end. There’s just something about the rhythm of the story that appeals to me when I read it out loud, and my kids just love the cats. In fact, I finally realized why Cub’s imaginary cat is named Blackie! (Also, is this illustration a glimpse of my future?)
Little Owl Lost
This is the book that I consider to be Cub’s very first “favourite” book. While the “it” animal seems to currently be the narwhal (dethroning the fox), when Cub was born, owls were everywhere. His nursery was owl-themed, so one of my dear friends gave us Little Owl Lost. Before he had any words, he’d say “uh-oh!” and “bump, bump, bump” on the appropriate pages. Now he helps me read it to his sister! This is a tale of questionable parenting, questionable judgment and a narcoleptic baby owl.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
I just love this story. I mean, the mouse is so demanding and the little boy so obliging! It’s a bit of a parable for modern-day parenting, but I don’t know that my kids realize this. I mean, isn’t this boy all of us after a day home alone with the children?
How to Get Your $5 Discount
Buy any one of these titles (and many more) at Amazon.ca before April 26, add a Playtex Baby product to your cart such as their Flip Top Snacker (for toddlers who insist on carrying their snacks around with them but are prone to spills), and your $5 discount will be applied at checkout!
What are your favourite books to read to your children?
Disclosure: I am a paid endorser of the #PlaytexReads program. All opinions remain my own.