Classic Books for Young Children

books for new parents |

Books are one of my favourite gifts to give to babies and small children. Before they really get interested in toys, books are a great way to show you care, without cluttering up someone else’s house with things their baby isn’t interested in.

Here are some of my favourites focusing on older “classic” books:

The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson)
This 1930s children’s classic features Ferdinand, the pacifist bull, who likes to sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers. The language is clever, and the illustrations are adorable. And up until 10 minutes ago I thought it was called “Ferdinand the Bull”.

Peepo! (Janet and Allen Ahlberg)
The illustrations in this book are what really brings it to life. The pages are detailed, charming and decidedly British. The authors also wrote the Jolly Postman series, which are great books for older children.

Blueberries for Sal (Robert McCloskey)
This was a great book we were given when my daughter was two years old. Blueberries for Sal tells the story of Sal and her mother going berry picking. Sal’s a grubby, adventurous little child. I love books where a female main character isn’t shoehorned into a traditional role.

Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Brown)
We have the board book and the full-length version. I recommend both for a lulling bedtime story. Don’t think on the details of the books too closely (what’s with the weird colour scheme? who’s the old lady? what exactly is mush?), just enjoy it.

Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
Oh how I love this book! I was quite familiar with it from childhood, but it wasn’t until I read it as an adult that I realized some of its deeper themes. Sendak is a master with language. I often change the gender of the main character in books, when I’m reading to my daughter, but I just can’t do it with this one. Every word is in its right place.

Are You My Mother? (P.D. Eastman)
A simple and charming story of a bird who fell from his nest and is looking for his mother. I’ve heard some people found this story traumatic as children, but my daughter loves it, and I find it quite sweet! Lovely use of dialogue and repetition.

Happy reading!


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