Thursday, April 2, 2015

Read-Aloud Children's Books

On International Children's Book Day (April 2, which is the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen), it's good to remember the books that someone read to you when you were little.

Any child born between the 1940s and today, who was blessed enough to have books in the home and someone who read to them, probably remembers Little Golden Books, Wonder Books, and others like them.

I find a lot of them at estate sales.

Having Ladybug Hitch Hikes Home, a Bonnie Book,
read to me is one of my earliest memories.

They were small, sturdy, easy to read and (in a child's eyes) wonderfully illustrated.   They were inexpensive and, importantly, available in grocery stores, variety stores, and other places where grownups liked to shop.

Ponies, a Rand McNally Book-Elf Junior book.

In the 1950s and 1960s, cartoons and other pop culture figures found additional life in small children's books.

Tweety and Howdy Doody and the Monkey Tale were published by Whitman. 

Many small children's books featured Disney characters such as Bambi.

The Lone Ranger: Desert Storm was a Tell-A-Tale book by Whitman.

Dondi was a Wonder Book (with Washable Covers).

Walt Disney's Savage Sam was a Little Golden Book.

They made good Christmas gifts, too.

The Christmas Puppy was a Wonder Book.

Huckleberry Hound and the Christmas Sleigh was a Little Golden Book.
It looks like Pixie and Dixie the mice are in the sleigh, on the cover.

The most important thing about these small books is that they facilitated reading aloud.  The importance of reading aloud to a child cannot be understated.  

When I was a kid, it was almost a given that your parents or grandparents told you stories and read aloud to you, particularly at bedtime.  They showed you the pictures and talked to you about the story.  

You wanted your favorite books read to you over and over again, and if the adult grew tired of this and skipped a page, you corrected them and made them go back and read the part they'd missed.

Walt Disney's Lucky Puppy was a spin-off of the animated version of 101 Dalmatians.

Then there came a momentous afternoon, when you picked up your favorite book and no one was available to read it to you, so you read it to yourself.

What book do you remember from your childhood?  Do you still have it?  If not, find a copy from an online retailer, or at a yard sale or estate sale.  

Read it to yourself.  Enjoy the illustrations.  Read it to someone small, and pass it along.

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