Top Ten Favorite Childhood Books

Top Ten Tuesday was created and is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Tuesday Freebie.

The masters of meme have let us be free! It was my birthday this week which tends to remind me of family, growing up and growing ancient. What better way to celebrate it than write about the books my father read to us as children.

The Rainbow Goblins

This is one of the most vivid memories I have of books we were read as kids. Even with the extremely deep colors and detailed illustrations, this book is not like any other children’s book. The story itself is pretty simple. Goblins who love to eat rainbows go to the forest where rainbows are born to try and steal them. The forest revolts to save the rainbow and the goblins end up drowning in the colors (if I remember it correctly.) Its a little dark for a childrens story, but the good ones always are. I always thought it was worth owning just for the imagery.

The Lady with the Ship on her Head

Madame Pompenstance, an 18-century woman in France, is walking along the beach, sad because she has no fancy headdress to wear to the ball. As she bends down to pick up some shells to put into her hair, a tiny ship sails into her flowing locks and resides there the rest of the evening. The evening is hard though, with a never ending headache that comes with having a ship on your head (and not knowing it.) It all ends well, she wins the prize at the ball for the best headdress. When she returns to put the shells back onto the beach, the ship sails back into the water without her ever knowing it. It is a sweet, silly and ridiculous story. Even the sailors on the tiny ship enjoy the ball, eating and drinking along the way. My dad often says that he read this book to us so much as children he still knows the words by heart. I believe it.

Where the Wild Things Are

I loved this story (didn’t we all?), the monsters, max’s costume and all the fun to be had upon the island. I was saddened when I watched the movie and it was so incredibly depressing. As with most books-into-movies, I was probably better off sticking with the book and ignoring that it was ever made into anything else.

   The Magic School Bus

I remember looking at Ms. Frizzle and thinking “Holy Moly! Look at that outfit!” She was always so outlandish and creative, I wondered if I too, could get solar system earrings that had their own magic revolving planets. I just thought it was the most awesome way to learn about science and wished I had a super cool teacher that could shrink us to the size of blood cells, or take us up into the clouds to ride on raindrops.

Anasi The Spider

Anasi, a loveable and michevious spider in Africa, sets off on an adventure and gets into all kinds of trouble. His six spider sons each help him in different ways when he needs them. He finds a beautiful glowing ball of light in the forest and tries to figure out who to give it too in thanks. When he can’t make a decision, a god helps by putting it up into the sky for all to enjoy. Voila! The origin of the moon. Related books are Raven and Zomo, by the same author. I remember reading those repeatedly as well, but figured one book by each author is good enough.

The Giving Tree

Maybe the most depressing book of every childhood and yet so well known and cherished by those who read it. The Giving Tree gives and gives and gives. She gives her shade, her apples and even her wood until she is only a stump to make the little boy happy. At the end of the story he comes back to her as an old man and sits upon her stump and she is happy again. I was never sure what to think of this story, what really is the message here? It is good to give? To take? Happiness is the presence of those we love? That we’ll give up everything for the one we love? Or is it just a not so well disguised tale of parenthood? Parents sometimes feel that they give their whole lives to their children, their years, their money, their energy, their time.. only to be abandoned, forgotten, unappreciated. Are you trying to tell us something Shel?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Man, this caterpillar can eat! But no! He is eating for a reason, he is eating to grow and change and become a lovely butterfly! And not only that, but he has to eat the correct food to become that lovely butterfly. Not only do we learn eating the right things will help us grow, but we learn out numbers, types of food, colors and days of the week. I think one my favorite things I’ve done as an adult is visited the Carle museum and seen firsthand his painting and drawings that went into creating this and his many other famous books.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Decades later and I still want this crayon. Harold created his own world, he drew neighborhoods, lakes, oceans, boats, skies, stars and all his adventures. A book that is essentially about where our imagination can take us, is also a fun book about a young boy who creates his own story. Harold drew beautiful and exciting things for himself to experience. No nightmares, no darkness, no fear.

Just For You

The little critter books probably made an appearance in everyone’s childhood. Teaching us how to treat our siblings, how to remember our chores, comforting us that everyone is scared on their first day of school and has (unfortunately) a bedtime. I was never quite sure what they were though.. hamster? I guess thats why we call them ‘critters’, we’ll never really know.

The Cat in the Hat

Couldn’t wrap this up without tipping my childhood hat to Dr. Seuss. The rhyming genius of our childhoods whose world’s were topsy turvy and yet always made sense in the best ways. Dr. Seuss told us it was ok to be ourselves, no matter our color, age or gender. He taught us about vocabulary, imagination and friendship. He even taught us (that were reading closely) about accepting others for who they are and that its ok to be ridiculous when you’re having fun.

26 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Childhood Books

  1. I have never heard of The Rainbow Goblins but I WANT IT! That sounds awesome!! I don’t really remember what books I liked when I was that young. I do know that both of my kids loved a little board book called ‘But Not the Hippopotamus” and I have to admit that I read it so many times I have it memorized, lol. I also have read the Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Giving Tree. You have great taste in kids books!! My favorite kids book is one I picked up on whim because it was on sale. It’s called The Bake Shop Ghost. The first time that I read it to my daughter I literally cried. It is one of the sweetest books I have ever read. Thanks for sharing this! I may have to link to you as an inspiration and post about a few of my kids favorite books. Also, this made me want to call my mom and ask what books she read to me when I was little!

    • The Bake Shop Ghost?! That sounds awesome! I’ll have to check it out. Omg, ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’ … while I was nanny I read it every day to a little one year old I used to take care of. She LOVED that book. Its def a good one, even if it wasn’t a part of my childhood. I’m pretty sure I still know the words.. a cat and giraffe are trying on hats.. but not the hippopotamus..

  2. Some of these are classics! I remember owning some as a kid, but the strange thing is most books during that time I can’t remember a thing about. Just a very few and most of them were Dr.Suess which you have listed. I might still be able to recite Cat in The Hat.

  3. First up happy recent birthday! I went with childhood favorites for my list as well. I saw an alternate joke title for The Giving Tree as “Call Your Mother”. I think the parenting angle makes the most sense.

  4. Great choice of topic this week.  Brings back some good memories.  Love The Giving Tree and The Very Hungry Caterpillar! This weekend I’m going to get Harold and the Purple Cran and read it to my kids.

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