If you’re looking to raise grounded, well-adjusted children with a strong moral core, then keep moving. If, on the other hand, you want your kid to grow up with a sense of humor, then get your hands on the following titles – My Top 10 Children’s books (and two for good luck)!
From Story-Lovers.com: “You certainly wouldn’t want your kid to pay attention to the seven fables found in this book! In them, greediness, laziness, discontent, selfishness, carelessness, and lying are rewarded, while gracious, kind, and thoughtful children end up getting spanked. It’s the ultimate in evil turnabout, and one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.” If you can manage to track down a copy, do yourself a favor and pick it up if only for the brutally honest (yet valuable) life lessons offered.
Inspired by a lithograph the author created some twenty years earlier –
– the book focuses on the denizens of Ducktown who live seemingly idyllic lives. They are hatched in the alligator-run Duck Factory, then sent off to to relax, enjoy life and, most importantly, fatten up, oblivious to further consequences. But changes are afoot when a hungry alligator factory worker happens to strike up a friendship with an innocent young duckling…
Ralph is the rottenest cat in the world – meanspirited, rude, and disruptive – yet, still, he is loved by his young owner, Sarah. But when he crosses the line during a visit to the circus, Ralph suddenly finds himself homeless. His dire circumstances lead him to a journey of self-discovery and the understanding that it’s far better to be nice than it is to be rotten. Just kidding. Ralph’s rotten adventures continue in other books in this wonderful series.
No doubt inspired by The Stupids (see below), the adventures of the dumb bunnies are a hoot.
The kids in Miss Nelson’s class are out of control – until the day Miss Viola Swamp, the meanest substitute in the school district, takes over. The kids are flummoxed. What happened to their lovable (and infinitely more pliable) Miss Nelson? The answer may surprise. Followed up by two equally terrific books: Miss Nelson is Back and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. Best supporting character shout out to Principal Blandsworth.
This book contains ten terrifically skewed takes on established fairtytales with titles like: “The Princess and the Bowling Ball”, “Little Red Running Shorts”, and “Jack’s Bean Problem”. In the titular story, the Stinky Cheese Man can run away as fast as he can because, yes, he’s made of stinky cheese and no one is all that inclined to chase him. Still, his end is no less tragic than that of his more delicious cousin’s.
Dr. Xargle is the resident alien expert on all things Earth-related. In the first book of this great series, Xargle educates his students on the finer points of child-rearing covering everything from bath time to diaper-changing – and gets it all erroneously and comically wrong. Not that his class would know any different.
I worked on the television series way back when. The finished product fell short but the scripts, written by author Jeanne Willis, were brilliant.
The series apparently holds the #26 spot in The American Library Association’s list of 1oo Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. That should be reason enough to pick them up. Politically correct, they aint.
How could I forget the master of moppet macabre, Edward Gorey. This book offers up a delightful collection of his ghoulishly gothic triumphs, among them “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” which recounts the tragic demises of 26 different children (each of who’s name begins with a different letter of the alphabet) in rhyming couplets. We used to have a poster of the Tinies in our office, back when we used to work on Student Bodies. I remember studying it one day, then pointing at one unfortunate and informing my gin-loving writing partner: “Hey, this is you!”
Although the ninth book in the series, The Carnivorous Carnival, ranks as my favorite, The Bad Beginning was (appropriately enough) the one that started it all for me and, thus, merits this spot in the countdown. Tracing the tragic misadventures of the Baudelaire orphans, the series is darkly humorous, exceedingly clever, and just incredibly enthralling. I remember being drawn to the cover at a bookstore and, while checking it out, had a complete stranger warn me off it as wholly inappropriate book for children. Sold! P.S. Hated the movie which didn’t even come close to capturing the wit of the series.
The rhyming tale of Lizzy and her pet lion – and the robber unfortunate enough to cross their path – is not for the squeamish. My sister and I so loved this book that, to this day, we can recite it by heart in its entirety.
Funny, sweet, and utterly charming, this collection of stories detailing the adventures of two lovable, beady-eyed hippos ranks as one of my most treasured books. They have adventures, they get into trouble, they argue, but, in the end, George and Martha ARE best of friends.
I loved these books so much that when I heard that HBO was going to produce a series, I dispatched my agent to get me onboard. I ended up writing a few episodes and was very impressed with the production. Nathan Lane provided the voice for George while Andrea Martin did the honors for Martha. The scripts and direction did a very nice job of capturing the spirit of the late James Marshall’s work. Still, nothing beats the books!