Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's "vintage" children's picture books

This is a quick post as I am feeling a little worn out. Emma was up again at 6 and my left leg is killing me. I wanted to post my five favorite “vintage” children’s books. I feel I do not need to talk about Madeline or Babar, Winnie or Curious George; those are true classics and speak for themselves. I want to present other classics that perhaps might go unnoticed or under appreciated.

The first one was actually just brought to my attention by my good friend Claudia. I had heard of Anatole but never really paid attention to him. This book is a delight and if you loved Ratatouille, I believe this had to have been the inspiration, you will love Anatole. Anatole is a beret wearing mouse living on the outskirts of Paris. He discovers that humans actually do not like mice and he begins on a quest to convert human’s misconception of mice. The illustrations are just as wonderful and any Francophile like me will adore this timeless book.

I saw this book at the Strand years ago and I simply feel in love. It is a humorous story of this good hearted, silly goose who after finding a book believes she has gained a huge amount of wisdom. What ensues is a hilarious set of misadventures cause by her ill suited advice.

I still have my copy of Ping written by Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Wise. This was one of my favorite books growing up. I never grew tired of it. It is for the older child, 5 and up but such a sweet tale of a little duck who gets separated from him family and sets off on an adventure to find his way back home.

If you are a fan of graphic design Bruno Munari's Zoo book will not disappoint. When I first saw this book 4 years ago I thought it was a contemporary book and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was first written in 1963. It was ahead of its time and is still such a visual feast. His illustrations and use of words are so inventive and extremely original. Your wee ones will love to look at his bold illustrations while adults will enjoy the graphic element and play on words.

I love the Little Prince so much. This is probably the most classic book on this list and I feel this book needs no explanation. The story is simple; the narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert who comes across a little prince who tells of his adventure from planet to planet. There are several morals to this story some of which young kids might not get at the first go, but it is a book that they will revisit throughout their lives. I first read it in 5th grade so it is a book for the older readers and not a picture book, but I just had to through him in the mix.

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