Well finally we get to review some real books...kids books that is! It's amazing how there are litterally thousands of children's books nowadays. Back in older times, there were only a select few and even then, most children back then were entertained by the oral tradtions by passing stories down like the "Three Little Pigs", "Little Red Riding Hood", and "Jack and the Beanstalk." Here is a list of some of my favorite books I can remember reading and being read to as a little boy. Which was like two years ago.
Disclaimer: Kevin is a kid at heart, so that counts even being 24 years old.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1986), is an all time favorite and classic. I think the book should be called, "The Jesus Tree" or "Jesus in the Form of the Giving Tree" or "If Jesus was a Tree, He Would be Like this Tree." Okay, so those titles don't really work and aren't to the point, but as I was growing up, I realized that Jesus and this tree are identical. It's sad but sweet and tells the story of love and ultimate sacrifce; all while being able to be told to children. I use to always try to find a tree like the one in the book, when I was little. But it's kinda hard playing hide and go seek with a tree and I just mostly fell out of my tree.

The Monster at the end of this Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin (1971/1982), is all about our friend Grover from Sesame Street. Talk about a great way to introduce young children to suspense. 90% of the effect comes from the way you read books to children. So if you don't have a good voice with excitment, then go away. Monotone voices should never be permitted to reading to children. Could you imagine if Lavar Burton from Reading Rainbow was monotone? That would be horrrible! Anyways, when I was read this book when I was little, I really enjoyed it because it built up suspense and was relieved by a cute and great ending. I guess it helps kids realize there was nothing really to be scared of in the first place. I mean, the conception of Grover as a friendly, kids monster is great. What a great oxymoron: a friendly and happy monster!

Mmm...Nothing like a bowl of Stone Soup. This story is actually told in many diffent cultures so I guess that is why there are so many different versions of this book. If you want one with beautiful artwork, get the Chinese version by Jon J Muth. This story teaches children about sharing and working together as a team to get great results. Reading this story as a little boy always made my mouth water. It is true though that you can use a stone for cooking. It helps hold down the lighter ingrediants in your soup! My grandfather's friend always used a stone to make fresh coffee while up in the mountains. It was the best coffee I ever had; all thanks to the stone.

Speaking of food, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judith and Ron Barrett (1982), is definitely a book for kids with imaginations. As children, we often think scenarios that start with: "I wonder what it would be like if..." This book is all about food and what it would be like if it rained food instead of water. I know I thought about this before when I was a kid. With great illustrations and great fantasy concepts, perhaps it'll help your kids appreciate food a little more. Ok, may not...maybe they'll just want to play with their food instead, but it's a good book anyways.

Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese (1989), helped me relate and realize there were books written about people who were like me. It is really important for you to read books to children which deal with their ethnic background or cultural heritage. The theme of this book has an ancient Chinese overtone about how stories were told back in China. I do not know many Chinese stories, but to at least to have had a few books on the subject, only brought a little more sense of pride of who I was. Remember, if you are excitied about reading, children will be too!

For all you advanced readers, there's nothing like The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (1989). Kids like to get away from the grown-ups in their worlds and live on their own. There's nothing more fun to a kid's mind about finding your own food, shelter, and mere means of financial support. This book has it all and a little bit of outdoor life. The saddest thing was this book became a huge series with over 60 following books, but I didn't care for any of them except the very first one. This book has little to no illustrations, so it's a good book for kids who can read on their own. Otherwise, it's a great book to read to your kids at night. A chapter a night with no scariness or fright! Ok, I'll get over the rhyming now.