Posts Tagged ‘Madeline’

Last week I started my list of my top ten children’s books. Now, on to the top five!

5. I’m As Quick As A Cricket. Author: Audrey Wood, Illustrator: Don Wood. Publication Date: 1989.

This book is on my list in the top five not because the story is overly memorable (it’s not) or because the illustrations are fantastic (they’re not) but because this was the first book that I ever read on my own. I remember I was four years old, sitting up in my bed reading with my mom and my dad and I told them that I wanted to read the book to them..so, I did. Of course they thought I had memorized the story and matched it up to the pictures so they kept skipping pages around and opening other books and viola! I could read! And I hadn’t stepped foot into a Kindergarten classroom. 3 out of 5 stars!

4. Officer Buckle and Gloria. Author & Illustrator: Peggy Rathmann. Publication Date: 1995.

This book is just fabulous! Another of my animal picks I love the loveable Gloria. The story is of a police officer who has a sidekick in the form of a puppy dog. The pair goes to schools all over town to present safety tips to the students. The best part of this book (besides the handy safety tips “never lick a stop sign in the winter!”) is the illustrations. Most of the story is told through the pictures. The reader gets to see what Officer Buckle does not- Gloria cutting up and getting some laughs. The story tells a valuable tell of friendship and honesty and it does that while also giving us a tickle. Plus, Gloria is SUPER cute! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

3. The Skippyjon Jones Series. Author & Illustrator: Judy Schachner. Publication Date: Since 2005. 

I can not express over the interwebs just how much I truly love, love, LOVE the Siamese cat who thinks that he is a chihuahua! That Siamese cat is none other than Mr. Skippyjon Jones. I could not choose one Skippyjon book to put in my number 3 spot so I’ll just gush all over this post about how great ALL the books are. Since 2005 Judith Byron Schachner has been blessing the reading world with her Skippyjon books and she’s now up to 11 books featuring the loveable troublemaker. The cat has an imagination as big as his ears and each of his books takes him on a rhyming rocket ride through different scenarios that he has imagined. If you want a silly book that will get the adults and the kids laughing, this is IT! 5 out of 5 stars!

2. The Zen Series. Author and Illustrator: Jon J. Muth. Publication Date: 2005 (Zen Shorts), 2008 (Zen Ties) , 2010 (Zen Ghosts)

So it was the whole “Zen” series that got me started thinking about my favorite children’s books in the first place (see last weeks TTT post).  I love everything about these books. I love panda bears, I love the messages that the book  relates to the readers about kindness and love and compassion, I love the beautifully exquisite watercolor paintings that Muth has done for the illustrations. When I worked in an elementary school library I did a whole unit on China, haiku, panda bears and watercolors using these three books. The children LOVED the story and they begged to hear each book again and again. This is a series of books that are timeless; they will be just as loved 100 years from now (though no one will have a CLUE what a panda bear actually is then) as they are today. These are books that adults and children can all adore. Each of the books in this series has something extra in it. By that, I mean that one book is filled with haiku poems and a panda is named “Koo” so whenever someone says hi to him it comes out “hi koo” or “haiku”.  Zen Ghosts is full of stories within the story. There is always something new and different to discover each time you read a book in this series. Great job to Jon J. Muth and if it hadn’t been for a sprightly redhead I met when I was a little girl then these books would have been numero uno on my list! 5 out of 5 stars! 

1. Madeline. Author & Illustrator: Ludwig Bemelmans. Publication Date: 1939.

When I was a little girl my mom read the story of Madeline to me and I fell in LOVE with this crazy girl! I had to have  everything Madeline after that. I bought and read (and re-read) all of the books, and watched the television show cartoon religiously. I even had a little Madeline doll that I carried everywhere with me and she had a yellow hat AND an appendix scar (because remember when she woke Miss Clavel in the night and gave her a fright and she said ‘Something is not right’ and she had appendicitis?!). Bottom line: I LOVE Madeline. If I ever have a daughter (or if I get a cat) I think I will name her Madeline and I will hope that she is as spirited as her namesake and I hope that she has red hair. A perfect 5 out of 5 stars!


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“And al of my childhood memories are full of the things you did for me and even though I act crazy, I gotta thank the Lord that you made me.” -2Pac Shakur

In honor of Mother’s Day last week I began compiling a list of my top picks for the best, most memorable, or my favorite mothers in literature.

  1. Marmee March. For anyone whose read any of this blog before you will know how much I love Little Women. Marmee March is the mother I hope to be one day.
  2. Hester Prynne. The protective protagonist of Hawthorne’s masterful work, Hester Prynne really got shafted by a few lousy dudes. The book has spawned many great spin-offs including the movie Easy A and also the badly done movie version staring Demi Moore as well as a sci-fi novel When She Woke which is a futuristic re-telling of Hester’s struggle.
  3. The Mom from I Love You Forever. Though this mother is never given any title except for Mother she still stands out in my mind as an amazing character. I have yet to read this book without crying and feeling the urge to call my own mother up and rock her in a rocking chair. Munsch is able to capture the enormous cycle of life and death in very few pages.
  4. “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …”. Those twelve little girls are all under the care of a Parisian nurse named Miss Clavel who runs a Catholic Boarding School for girls inParis. Though technically not a mother, per say, Miss Clavel did mother the girls and love them like a mother. However, Miss Clavel got a little more than she bargained for when Madeline came to stay. Maddy was always giving Miss Clavel some kind of fright and it’s a wonder she didn’t die young from worry. A true gentle spirit and loving lady Miss Clavel was not just a nurse to the girls she also became their teacher, their guardian, their friend and of course, their mother.
  5. The Mother from Where the Wild Things Are. With Maurice Sendak passing away last week, I knew I had to include this mother. Though we rarely see her in the book, she is a super mom nonetheless. When troublesome Max (wouldn’t it be great if Max grew up to marry the equally troublesome Madeline (see #4) and their children were double trouble!) gets sent to his room without supper he imagines his room becoming a wild and magical forest full of mysterious creatures called “the wild things.” Max’s adventures with the wild things ends with his feeling lonely and homesick. Once returning to his room he finds that his supper is waiting for him, still hot, from his loving mother!
  6. Forced to choose which of her two of her children would die in a concentration camp, the title character fromSophie’s Choice, Sophie Zawistowski, lives in a self-destructive bubble of guilt for the rest of her days after the choice has been made. The heartbreak of her selection eventually leads to her death at her own hand. Consumed by guilt and self hatred Sophie is a pitiful character who had to make an impossible choice between her two children, something no mother should ever have to do.
  7. Upon first reading Anne of Green Gables I did not like Marilla Cuthbert at all. She was just the opposite from her delightful brother, Matthew. When older siblings, Marilla and Mathew decide to adopt a little boy to help them on their farm they do not expect to get the spunky red headed Anne Shirley, but, they do. After deciding to keep her, Anne earns herself into a special place in each Cuthbert’s heart. Though Marilla never really gets as attached to Anne as Matthew does, she still ends up loving the girl despite her best efforts not to.
  8. After her friends discover her “spy notebook” Ole Golly is the only friend left for Harriett (the spy) Welsch. Technically not Harriett’s actual mother, Ole Golly is actually Harriett’s nanny. However, like Miss Clavel (see #4) Ole Golly becomes so much more to Harriett. Constantly providing wisdom and love and insight to the young girl Ole Golly is brutally fired after a misunderstanding between Ole Golly and Harriett’s parents. As I was reading The Help I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between young Harriett & Ole Golly and Skeeter Phelan & Constantine. In The Help, Skeeter has just graduated from college (Ole Miss) and aspires to be a journalist. Upon returning home she finds out that her house servant Constantine has been brutally fired by her mother. Both books are great and I highly recommend them both.
  9. Ma from Room. A young girl is kidnapped from a college campus and forced to live in a tool shed. While spending many years in here she is impregnated and gives birth to a little boy named Jack. The story is narrated by Jack and through his young eyes we see the love that a child can have for their mother.
  10. Novalee Nation. Sixteen, pregnant, and moving across country with her boyfriend, Novalee gets a thread of bad luck when the boyfriend abandons her in a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma. Novalee lives in the Wal-Mart and even begins to give birth in the store until a strange local librarian breaks through a window to get her to a hospital. After the birth of the baby Novalee becomes quite a celebrity, but she sticks to her small Oklahoma town that she has adopted as her own and raises her baby with love and kindness for everyone (even that good-for-nothing boyfriend).

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