Thursday, January 26, 2006

The buttery, cheesy mashed potatoes of children's books

The other day I posted about comfort food perfect for fireside reading. But if you're balancing a plate of cheese and jalepeno nachos or a bowl of mashed 'taters on your knees in front of a winter's fire, you probably won't be up for reading Proust, either.

So, let's talk "comfort reading." More specifically, comfort reading in the form of kiddie books that made you feel all flannel-y inside, back when you were only worried about putting your clothes on right-side-out and getting your shoes on the proper foot.

My list would be too, too long, but I will start with ten of my favorites:
  1. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame - especially the "Dulce Domum" chapter.
  2. The Five Little Firemen, Margaret Wise Brown - ooh, save that jolly fat cook!
  3. Goodnight, Moon, Margaret Wise Brown - except that it'll take me to dreamland before I finish my 'taters.
  4. Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers - she's soooo fabulously snarky and vain!
  5. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein - but only if I need a good, comforting cry.
  6. The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams - makin' it real.
  7. All of a Kind Family, Sydney Taylor - ah, to be a poor immigrant family on the lower east side!
  8. The Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder - ah, to be a poor frontier family living in a forest, or a sod house, or on a prairie, or . . .
  9. Beezus and Ramona, Beverly Cleary - 'way back when little sisters were pesty
  10. Miss Piggle Wiggle, Betty MacDonald - how I learned to be the adorable person I am now.
C'mon. What kiddie books make you want to grab your blankie and put on your footy pjs? Dig 'em out from the back of the bookshelf, or climb up into the attic and pull down the box with all your children's books in it.

Start meltin' the cheese, and crack open a comfort book or two. Ahhhhh. Burp! ('scuse me.)


Anonymous said...

Hm. Well I read a lot of kids' books now but I'll list my favorites when I was actually a kid:

- Chronicles of Narnia, most specifically The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Magician's Nephew, and The Horse and His Boy (I didn't get that it was racist when I was seven, OK?)

- The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit

- All the Mary Poppins books except for Mary Poppins in the Park, which let's be honest, kind of sucks

- The Paddington books

- Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, most especially The Dark is Rising

- Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, and a little bit Anne of the Island

- Caddie Woodlawn

Anonymous said...

Forgot Pippi Longstocking!

Peter (the other) said...

As It seems you spent some time in Blighty, perhaps you may have read The Swallows and the Amazons (by Arthur Ransome, I believe)? Childrens books about a bunch of kids in the lake district, who have adventures around their sail boats (as I am on a sailing kick, the memory of reading these as a child resonates).

Chris said...

It was a long, long time ago since I was a child but here goes with the most remembered:
- All Enid Blyton's Famous Five books
- The Wind in the Willows
- Just William books by Richmal Crompton
- Little Women

Currently I spend Thursday afternoons helping out in the library at Thomas's school (ages 5-11). It's wonderful!! In the many spare moments I can read whatever children's books I like!!!
I just wish Thomas would abandon Star Wars, Action Man, etc. and give some of the classics a try.

chux said...

The Wind in the Willows is excellent I agree. Also the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was a lovely read, in fact I have reread these both within the last year. I would strongly recomment the adventure and imagination thats in 'The Hobbit' too which i have read twice in the last 18 months alone. Hmm yummy and warms feelings

Christa said...

Oh of them wouldn't make any sense to you since they were Swedish...but I was reading a lot of Enid Blyton when I was a kid. "Famous Five" was a series of books I read more than once and I had all of them.

Christa said...

Oh yea...and Pippi Longstocking..and Mio My Mio...but in Swedish ;) Forgot that the books by Astrid Lindgren were translated into loads of other languages :p

Anonymous said...

I read children's books now for fun and comfort. Some old favorites that I turn to again and again include:

- The Anne of Green Gables series
- The Maida books by Inez Haynes Irwin (mostly out of print, but wonderful!)
- Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books, especially The Velvet Room and the Changeling.
- Enid Blyton's Adventure series (Castle of..., Sea of..., etc.).
- Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.
- The Narnia books
- Noel Streatfield's "Shoe" books (especially Ballet Shoes)
- The Oz books (not so much the Wizard of Oz, but the others in the series)
- The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key
- Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken
- Pippi Longstocking and sequels. I especially like Pippi in the South Seas.
- Meet the Austins and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle.
- The Diamond in the Window, by Jane Langton.

Sorry for listing so many! I have more listed on my website at

MaryB said...

Such a great buncha additions to my list! I'm already stacking them next to my cozy chair in anticipation of the next cold snap and the chance to read by the fire.

Isabella K said...

A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A "comfort" book even though it makes me cry.