Two contemporary authors that have really been able to capture the essence of childhood by introducing us to the imaginative worlds of some very fun animal characters are Russell Hoban and Kevin Henkes.
Hoban wrote about Frances the badger in the 1960's and his sophisticated wit peeks through Frances' precocious personality as she learns lessons about life...
From A BIRTHDAY FOR FRANCES, by Russell Hoban, with charcoal illustrations by his wife Lillian Hoban:
Frances was in the broom closet, singing:
Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday, dear Alice,
Happy Thursday to you.
"Who is Alice?" asked Mother.
"Alice is somebody that nobody can see," said Frances. "And that is why she does not have a birthday. So I am singing Happy Birthday to her."
"Today is Friday," said Mother.
"It is Thursday for Alice," said Frances...
"I am sure Alice will have cake and candy on her birthday," said Mother.
"But Alice does not have a birthday," said Frances.
"Yes, she does," said Mother. "Even if nobody can see her, Alice has one birthday every year, and so do you. Your birthday is two months from now. Then you will be the birthday girl. But tomorrow is Gloria's birthday, and she will be the birthday girl."
"That's how it is, Alice," said Frances. "Your birthday is always the one that is not now."
MORE FRANCES BOOKS: BEDTIME FOR FRANCES; A BABY SISTER FOR FRANCES ; BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCES; A BIRTHDAY FOR FRANCES; BEST FRIENDS FOR FRANCES; A BARGAIN FOR FRANCES.
Henke's popular mouse stories, published in the 1980's and 90's, featuring Chester, Chrysanthemum, and Lilly - to name a few - wouldn't be complete without his fun illustrations that match the text perfectly...
From CHESTER'S WAY, written and illustrated Kevin Henkes:
Chester had his own way of doing things...
He always cut his sandwiches diagonally.
He always got out of bed on the same side.
And he never left the house without double-knotting his shoes.
Chester always had the same thing for breakfast - toast with jam and peanut butter.
And he always carried a miniature first-aid kit in his back pocket. Just in case.
"You definitely have a mind of your own," said Chester's mother.
"That's one way to put it," said Chester's father.
MORE MOUSE BOOKS: (ages 4 & up) CHESTER'S WAY; CHRYSANTHEMUM; JULIUS, THE BABY OF THE WORLD; LILLY'S BIG DAY; LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE; OWEN; SHEILA RAE, THE BRAVE; A WEEKEND WITH WENDELL; WEMBERLY WORRIED.
Go to: http://www.kevinhenkes.com/ for more books by the author and "Fun & Games" activities.