Sunday, December 11, 2011

Books for Five-to-Eight-Year-Olds

Books for Five-to-Eight-Year-Olds

Recommended Books from Young Years Library: Mother's Guide to Children's Reading by Rachele Thomas, Parents' Magazine's Press, 1963. {LOC 63-15865}

Young Years Library was a five or 10-volume anthology of reading material for children. The product evolved over the years, but generally it was sold direct to parents who wanted to provide an educational or literary advantage to their children. Many of the great children's librarians of the day were involved, including the pioneering Augusta Braxton Baxter. My copy, published in 1963, includes a 72-page list of recommended books for various ages and stages. To my eye, many of these books have long since been forgotten, not least because of the revolution in children's literature that took place following the publication that year of Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I'll be transcribing the sections of the Mother's Guide to Children's Reading reading list, one by one, in hopes of providing a starting point for modern mamas looking to explore more unusual, likely out-of-print book suggestions, beyond those usually included in generally available contemporary reading prescriptions. Copyright, of course, remains with Home Library Press.

Aesop's Fables, selected and edited by Laura Harris, illustrated by Tony Palazzo. Garden City.
A retelling of 44 of the famous fables, written for little children.

All Around the Town, by Phyllis L. McGinley, illustrated by Helen Stone. Lippincott.
Delightful verses and pictures of things a child sees and hears in a city.

Anatole, by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone. Whittlesey.
A French mouse gets himself a job as taster-in-chief in a cheese factory. Other titles in the Anatole series:
     Anatole and the Robot
     Anatole Over Paris

Top-rate picture book about a small boy's imaginative wanderings when he sees a “plain horse on Mulberry Street.” For other Dr. Seuss books, see The Cat in the Hat.

Angelo, the Naughty One, by Helen Garrett, illustrated by Leo Politi. Viking.
The funny everyday adventures of a little Mexican boy.

A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. Houghton.
Just as children can always get into mischief, so can Paddington the bear.

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Helen Sewell. Scribner.
Eight-year-old Jonathan had to make his way over Hemlock Mountain after dark. Excellent reading-aloud story.

Belling the Tiger, by Mary Stolz, illustrated by Beni Montresor. Harper.
The fantastic escapades of two little mice. Sequel is:
     The Great Rebellion

The Biggest Bear, by Lynd Ward, illustrated by the author.
Picture-book story of a little boy who went looking for the biggest bear and brought home a cub bear that kept on growing. A Caldecott Medal winner.

Billy and Blaze, by C.W. Anderson, illustrated by the author. Macmillan.
A picture book about a pony and his little master. Sequels are:
     Blaze and the Gypsies
     Blaze Finds the Trail

A baby in a cart piques the curiosity of barnyard animals in this pleasant picture book.

The Cat Club, by Esther Averill, illustrated by the author. Harper.
A charming tale set in Greenwich Village about Jenny's cat. Sequels are:
     Jenny's Bedside Book
     The Fire Cat

The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by the author. Random.
A wonderful nonsense tale of an amusing cat, intended for easy reading. The sequel is:
     The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

Other popular Dr. Seuss books are:
     And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street (see separate listing above)
     Bartholomew and the Oobeleck
     500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (see separate listing below)
     If I Ran the Circus
     Happy Birthday to You!
     McElligot's Pool
     Scrambled Eggs Super!
     Horton Hears a Who!
     Horton Hatches the Egg
     If I Ran the Zoo
     Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose
     Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

The wily fox who tries by flattery to entice the vain cock into becoming his dinner is a beautiful adaption of Chaucer's “Nun's Priest Tale.” A Caldecott Medal winner.

The Nativity with text from the King James Bible and lovely pictures.

The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden, illustrated by Garth William. Ariel: Farrar.
The story of a cricket who joins a picnic and lands up in Times Square, New York.

Crow Boy, by Taro Yashima, illustrated by the author. Viking.
A shy little boy in a Japanese school has an odd talent but thereby gains recognition and approval from his schoolmates.

Curious George, by Hans A. Rey, illustrated by the author. Houghton.
The exciting adventures of a little jungle monkey on a boat trip to America. They become especially exciting when he lands in New York and gets loose. Sequels are:
     Curious George Rides a Bike
     Curious George Takes a Job
     Curious George Gets a Medal

A thoroughly enchanting tale of a year in the life of two fawns.

Down, Down the Mountain, by Ellis Credle, illustrated by the author. Nelson.
Picture story of Hetty and Hank who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and dream of wearing squeaking shoes on their bare feet.

The Duchess Bakes a Cake, by Virginia Kahl, illustrated by the author. Scribner.
Too much yeast in a cake raises a medieval duchess to the heavens.

The Five Chinese Brothers, by Claire H. Bishop, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. Coward.
A thoroughly charming tale of the extraordinary attributes of five Chinese brothers.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by the author. Vanguard.
One of the very best of the popular Dr. Seuss stories. For other Dr. Seuss books, see The Cat in the Hat.

Fly High, Fly Low, by Don Freeman, illustrated by the author. Viking.
A pigeon family make their home atop a neon sign of a San Francisco hotel, and then the sign is removed.

Beautifully illustrated version of the old folk song in a New England setting.

Frog Went A-Courtin', retold by John Langstaff, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. Harcourt.
An entrancing picture-book edition of the Scottish ballad. A Caldecott Medal winner.

Georgie, by Robert Bright, illustrated by the author. Doubleday.
A jolly little ghost haunts the Whittaker family every evening by swinging squeaky doors and doing other things generally expected of a ghost. Sequel:
     Georgie to the Rescue

The Happy Lion, by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. Whittlesey.
Delightful picture book about a lion who is everyone's friend until one day he walks out of the zoo. Sequels are:
     The Happy Lion Roars
     The Three Happy Lions
     The Happy Lion's Quest

Hercules, by Hardie Gramatky, illustrated by the author. Putnam.
An oldtime fire engine drawn by a horse could do what a modern fire truck could not.

The Horse Who Lived Upstairs, by Phyllis McGinley, illustrated by Helen Stone. Lippincott.
A city horse wants nothing more than to live in the country, and then he wants nothing more than to get back to the city.

In My Mother's House, by Ann Nolan Clark, illustrated by Velino Herrera. Viking.
A lovely picture storybook of the everyday life of a Pueblo Indian child.

Lentil, by Robert McCloskey, illustrated by the author. Viking.
A little boy learns that although he is unable to carry a tune, he can play the harmonica.

Lion, by William Pène du Bois, illustrated by the author. Viking.
How the animal factory in the sky produced the King of the Beasts.

Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Harper.
A lovable cub bear wants a warm coat; he has a surprise on his birthday; and he goes on a make-believe trip to the moon. Sequels are:
     Little Bear's Visit
     No Fighting, No Biting

The Little Carousel, by Marcia Brown, illustrated by the author.
The horse-drawn merry-go-round brings gaiety and excitement to children on a city street.

The Little House, by Virginia L. Burton, illustrated by the author. Houghton.
A house that stood for itself in the country becomes one among many houses in a city.

A big-format picture book about five-year-old Tim's heroic sea adventures. Sequel is:
     Tim to the Rescue

Little Toot, by Hardie Gramatky, illustrated by the author. Putnam.
Little Toot's father was the most powerful tug in the harbor, but Little Toot did not assume his responsibility until the coming of a great storm.

Madeline's Rescue, by Ludwig Bemelmans, illustrated by the author. Viking.
The best of the Madeline series and a Caldecott Medal winner. In this adventure Madeline is rescue from the river Seine in Paris by the dog. The dog is adopted by Madeline and her eleven schoolmates, and then trouble, fun, and humor confound them all. Other Madeline books:
     Madeline and the Bad Hat
     Madeline and the Gypsies
     Madeline in London

Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey, illustrated by the author. Viking.
Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings create quite a stir when they leave their old home on an island and take a new residence in the Boston Public Gardens. A Caldecott Medal winner.

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers, illustrated by Mary Shepard. Harcourt.
A most unusual nursemaid is blown in to the lives of the Banks children with the East Wind, and after many astonishing episodes, she is unhappily blown out of their lives by the West Wind. Sequels are:
     Mary Poppins Comes Back
     Mary Poppins in the Park
     Mary Poppins Opens the Door

Mei Lei, by Thomas Handforth, illustrated by the author. Doubleday.
A little Chinese girl slips through the gate and goes to the New Year's Fair.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia L. Burton, illustrated by the author. Houghton.
The action-packed story of a steam shovel who must dig a cellar in a hurry.

Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, illustrated by the author. Coward.
A very old man wants to make his very old wife happy, and he goes out to search for a cat. He brings home not just one cat, but “millions, billions and trillions” of cats. A modern classic.

Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard T. and Florence H. Atwater, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Little Brown.
A pet penguin is homesick, so its owner goes to the zoo and brings home a mate. And there are many penguins. A wonderfully humorous story, of special interest to many boys.

Mittens, by Clare Turlay Newberry, illustrated by the author. Harper.
A little boy's cat is lost and found again. More excellent stories about cats by the same author are:
     April's Kittens

Mokihana Lives in Hawaii, by Eugenie Soderberg, photographed by Anna Riwkin-Brick. Macmillan.
Hawaiian children share some of their island customs with boys and girls of other lands.

My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. Random.
Whimsical story of a little boy armed to the teeth with bubble gum who journeys to Wild Island and rescues a baby dragon.

Ola, by Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire, illustrated by the authors. Doubleday.
A delightful picture book about Norway and a little boy who skis to fascinating places.

Once a Mouse, by Marcia Brown. Woodcuts by the author. Scribner.
Classic story of the mouse and the hermit.

One Morning in Maine, by Robert McCloskey, illustrated by the author. Viking.
Marvelous tale of the day a little girl loses her first tooth.

The Painted Pig, by Elizabeth Morrow, illustrated by Ren[accent] d'Harnoncourt. Knopf.
Pita once owned a lovely painted pig, and little brother Pedro wanted one just like it.

Pelle's New Suit, by Elsa Beskow, illustrated by the author. Harper.
A little boy in Sweden earns money for a new suit and follows each step of its making from the raw product to the tailored garment.

Playtime in Africa, by Efua Sutherland, photographs by Willis E. Bell. Atheneum.
The songs, dances and games of happy children who live in Ghana.

The Poppy Seed Cakes, by Margery Clark, illustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham. Doubleday.
A fascinating series of short tales about Andrewshek, a little Russian boy, and his spirited aunt.

Rabbit Hill, by Robert Lawson, illustrated by the author. Viking.
Charming fanciful story of little animals in a New England setting.

A Roundabout Turn, by Robert H. Charles, illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke. Warne.
The humorous English picture story of the toad who went to see if the world was really round and came home as dizzy as could be.

Song of the Swallows, by Leo Politi, illustrated by the author. A Caldecott Medal winner.
Every year on St. Joseph's Day the swallows fly to the mission of San Juan Capistrano, and always there to greet them back are the old bell-ringer and his young friend, Juan.

The Story About Ping, by Marjorie Flack, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. Viking.
A duck, after one night's frightening experiences, discovered that there is no place like home aboard a Chinese houseboat.

A little elephant dons a business suit and visits the city, then returns to the jungle to be crowned king of the elephants. Others in the Babar series:
     The Travels of Babar
     Babar and Father Christmas

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Viking.
The wonderfully funny of the Spanish bull who much preferred the smell of flowers to fighitng.

Tell Me, Mr. Owl, by Doris VanLiew Foster, illustrated by Helen Stone. Lothrop.
Little Boy is not old enough to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, but along comes Mr. Owl to amuse him with scarey tales.

Time of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey, illustrated by the author. Viking.
A father and son live and work on an island in Penobscot Bay.

Timothy Turtle, by Al Graham, illustrated by Tony Palazzo. Viking.
A big picture book written in verse about a turtle who wants something more out of life than to just operate a ferryboat.

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, illustrated by William Nicholson. Doubleday.
A lovely tale of how stuffed animals can become real animals through the love of their young masters.

Wee Gillis, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Viking.
A Scotch lad must choose between life in the Lowlands and life in the Highlands.

What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Scott.
A hilarious guide to good manners. Sequel:
     What Do You Do, Dear?

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, illustrated by E.H. Shepard. Dutton.
The much-loved story about Christopher Robin and his funny old teddy bear. Sequel:
     The House at Pooh Corner


  1. My goodness, this is amazing, and something I'll have to come back to when my 21 month is nearer to five. I'm so happy to have found your blog and wealth of suggestions on books! I love your header and agree that you're really quite sensible ;) Thanks for sharing this amazing resource!

  2. Lastly, enjoy the ride on your beach bike, our bikes are meant to provide comfortable, relaxing rides whether it be by the beach or around town.
    bike light