Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


When talk of Springtime and Easter Eggs comes up, children usually think of bunnies and baby chicks.  (Or, if you've read any of my recommended Ukrainian Pysanka books, a goose might come to mind.)  But let's not leave out the ducklings - here are three timeless tales...

The Golden Egg Book, by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Leonard Weisgard. (ages 2-6)

Once there was a little bunny. He was all alone. One day he found an egg. He could hear something moving inside the egg. What was it?

This "golden oldie" (1947) is a perfect read aloud for little ones, who will have fun trying to guess "what's inside":  An elephant? A mouse?  It ends up being a friend for the bunny: a little duck!

The charming vintage illustrations are a perfect pair with Margaret Wise Brown's classic and simple story.

Another classic springtime "duck tale" is The Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). Look for this adaptation, with old fashioned, warm watercolors by author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney (ages 4-8).  William Kilpatrick (Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories) says, "...to admit that it takes time for a child to grow into his or her true identity is far from cruel.  All children instinctively know that, before true maturity can be achieved, they must undergo some kind of rite of passage.  That is why most fairy tales deal with the theme of transformation and suffering...the ugly duckling must endure loneliness and rejection before he can grow up to be a beautiful white swan.  That is why the great child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim has called fairy tales 'wishes in disguise'."

Another endearing story (1941) is Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey (for ages 4-8). This gently told tale of a father and mother duck, searching for a safe home (in the big city of Boston) to bring up their Mallard ducklings, is bound to connect with your child. I remember my own kids repeating all the ducklings' names with me:  "Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack".

Lots of landmarks in Boston are shown, often from a flying duck's-eye view. When we traveled with our children to Boston years ago, we went to Boston's Public Gardens and saw bronze statues of Mother Mallard and the 8 ducklings, as well as the Swan Boats mentioned in the book! (yes, you can still ride in them.)

What about baby geese?  You can read about all the "Gossie" books, by Olivier Dunrea, in my past post HERE. "Gossie is a gosling. A small, yellow gosling who likes to wear bright red boots. Every day."  Fun for Springtime reading as well!

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