Each Peach Pear Plum


Each Peach Pear Plum

by Allan Ahlberg

illustrated by Janet Ahlberg

London: Viking Press, 1978

30 pp

Ages: infant +

Interests: nursery rhymes, eye-spy, puzzles, poetry

Also by these authors: Burglar Bill, The Jolly Postman, The Jolly Christmas Postman



Officer Buckle and Gloria


Officer Buckle and Gloria

by Peggy Rathmann

New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995

30 pp.

Ages: 4+

Interests: dogs, safety, police officers

Also by this author: Goodnight Gorilla


The Story of the Snow Children

The Story of the Snow Children

by Sibylle von Olfers

first published in 1905 in Germany

English translation by Polly Lawson – Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2005

20 pp.

Ages: 2 +

Interests: fairies, princesses, snow, winter, parties, magic

Also by this author: The Story of the Root Children (1906), Princess in the Forest (1909), and The Story of the Wind Children (1910)

You might also like: Peter in Blueberry Land (1901) – very similar in story, style and look


Owl Babies

Owl Babies

by Martin Waddell

illustrations by Patrick Benson

Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1992

26 pp.

Ages: 2 +

Interests: birds, owls, nature, nighttime, single parent


Top 5: Insect Books for Preschoolers

Whether they fear them or love them, what kid isn’t fascinated by insects?


Top 5 Insect Books for Preschoolers:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle – Age: infants +

The classic book is available as a board book for the very young. Everyone knows this one (or should). The caterpillar eats his way through a ton of food before making his dramatic transformation.

2. Frog Went A-Courtin’, by John Langstaff – Age: 3 +

Old folk song wonderfully illustrated for children. Ostensibly about Froggie and Miss Mouse but there are an awful lot of insects invited to the shindig.

3. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, by Verna Aardema – Age: 4 +

A traditional African tale about events spiralling out of control as a result of a simple lie.

4. Grasshopper on the Road, by Arnold Lobel – Age: 5 +

Grasshopper hits the open road and meets many interesting insects along the way.

5. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl – Age: 5 +

James adventures across the ocean on a giant peach, accompanied by several larger-than-life insect friends. A chapter book, perhaps about 9-yr-old reading level, but eminently suitable to read aloud to a five-year-old. Very short chapters, lots of action and humour.

Snowflake Bentley


Snowflake Bentley

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Illustrations by Mary Azarian

New York: Scholastic, 1998

30 pp.

Age: 5+

Interests: snowflakes, snow, biography, science, scientists, photography, nature

Also about W. A. Bentley: My Brother Loved Snowflakes by Mary Bahr


Mirette on the High Wire


Mirette on the High Wire

by Emily Arnold McCully

New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1992

Age: 4+

Interests: Paris, circus performers, tightrope walkers, plucky heroines

Next: sequels Starring Mirette and Bellini, and Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls


How I Became a Pirate

How I Became a Pirate

by Melinda Long

illustrated by David Shannon

Orlando: Harcourt, 2003

34 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: pirates!, ships, ocean, adventure, soccer

Also by this author and illustrator: Pirates Don’t Change Diapers

Also by this illustrator: No, David! (Diaper David series), A Bad Case of Stripes, Alice the Fairy


Jack Zipes interview re. Fairy Tale Movies

Here’s a Salon interview with fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, promoting his book The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films. Jack Zipes has written voluminously about fairy tales and modern consumer culture, and can always be counted on for a really curmudgeonly viewpoint. (Which I always enjoy.)

Another aspect of the current spate of “dark” movie versions of fairy tales that they don’t talk about here is that these films are obviously not intended for children to see. In one sense, this is actually true to ancient fairy tale tradition, after all the stories were told orally to whomever was around to hear them. They were not created specifically for children. So modern movies may actually be liberating the old tales from the “ghetto” of children’s amusements where they have been languishing for over a hundred years.

The downside of very dark fairy tale movies (plus the very adult comic book hero movies), is that they reflect the growing childishness of “grownups”. No more putting aside of childish things when we grow up – today adulthood simply means we are finally able to buy all the expensive toys we want and play games all day. The entertainment industry caters to the new infantilized adult, serving up children’s movies that aren’t really made for children (Pixar and comic book movies) and endless childish tv shows and games on very mature topics.

Um, but this article isn’t really about that. That was just me venting again…

Read the article here.

Click to Jack Zipes’ book on amazon here.

Reading With Your Children…

Don’t stop reading to your kids just because they’ve learned to read… an interesting Q & A with Diane Frankenstein, author of Reading Together.

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