Miss Lucy had a baby,
His name was Tiny Tim,
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim.
Does anyone else remember jump roping to this song? If so, this book starts out as you remember it, but things soon start to change. Before you know it, the lady with the alligator purse is prescribing pizza to cure what ails the baby and the doctor, the nurse, Miss Lucy, et al. are happily feasting away. My youngest has a tradition of reading this “pizza book” with his Dad at bedtime when we’ve had pizza for diner. It’s a keeper and it comes in both board and picture book form.
Illustrator: Nadine Bernard Westcott
When my oldest was a young toddler, Baby Cat Nicky 123 was his favorite book. He loved having it read to him. (Was it the cats? The rhythm? The bright colors?) And he loved chewing on it so much that we had to buy another copy. This came as a complete surprise; I had bought the book on a whim to compliment the (excellent) Nicky’s Jazz for Kids CD (which is still in regular rotation in my car). Although this book is no longer in demand, well over four years later, I still have its text completely memorized.
Author: Carol Friedman
Illustrator: Carol Friedman
Happily, it is Clementine season. We love those sweet, juicy balls of Spanish citrus, and it is hard to eat them without humming a bit of “oh my darling, oh my darling…” Which, strangely enough, leads us to this book. Using the tune from the famous western folk ballad, this story is told from the viewpoint of a hapless would-be suitor who keeps trying (and trying) and failing to send a romantic message to his darling, Valentine (who is concurrently working on a, much more successful, surprise of her own). The word play is clever, the scenarios delightfully ridiculous, and it offers the opportunity for lots of dramatic interpretation (singing is optional, but lots of fun).
Author: Alison Jackson
Illustrator: Tricia Tusa
When the boys were around 2 years old, this was one of our most popular books. We read (sang) this over and over and over and over again. Watching the people on Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom’s bus go all through the (beautiful French) town was fun, even the 7th time in a row.
Sometimes we read the Paul O. Zelinsky version for a bit of variety and to enjoy the paper engineering. And the boys enjoy the video Scholastic made from the Zelinsky version. (Who knew Kevin Bacon could sing?) But it is the Wickstrom version that my youngest “read” to daddy tonight.
Illustrator: Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom
Singing, good morning America, how are you?
Saying, don’t you know me, I’m your native son?
I’m the train they call “The City of New Orleans.”
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.
My boys are fascinated by trains, dragons, knights, planes, and astronauts. Anything that involves one or more of these subjects is likely to be a hit, so I have been keeping an eye out for The Train they Call the City of New Orleans ever since I saw a blog post showing its beautiful artwork. The only problem was that this book is out of print and was in the three-figure price range, but the ways of Amazon are mysterious and I recently snagged a copy for its original price. It is just as beautiful as it appeared and my boys are really enjoying it (especially when I read the words instead of singing them, alas!). If you’re interested in the song that inspired the book, I particularly like John Denver’s version (it comes from his CD on trains–which is really a good one).
Author: Steve Goodman
Illustrator: Michael McCurdy