Oliver has books that I love reading to him. I probably love them more than he does. Oh, he loves them anyway, but there are parts of the book that just fly over his head. The language is just a bit too mature for children's ears. Or the books touch on themes - remorse, jealousy, sadness, longing - that he doesn't comprehend yet. Not yet. Not consciously.
I think it's entirely possible that he likes these books because they speak to him, the way songs in another language speak to me. Even if he doesn't understand everything that's being said, he knows that he's being told something important.
Anyway, these are the books that I secretly love to read him. I love the language. I love the moods and the emotions. I love that they feel real, honest; the way those formulaic books about Clifford and George and Franklin never do. They are written as literature, not as "kiddie books." The writer knew how to tell a story with engaging characters, compelling plot turns, and believable dialogue. Those are the books that I hope he still loves years from now.
Here are a few of my favorites.
- Amos and Boris - William Steig.
- Tillie and the Wall - Leo Lionni.
- He Was There from the Day We Moved In - Rhoda Levine/Edward Gorey.
- The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish - Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean.
- That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown - Cressida Cowell/Neal Layton.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Judith Viorst/Ray Cruz.
What are your favorite not-exactly-for-children kid's books?