Kids learn through their play, and love to gravitate toward the play kitchen with pretend foods, miniature pots and pans. Hours of fun for little children as they spend time in their own kitchen.
Imaginary play never gets old
Do you remember your favorite imaginary ways to play as a child? Did it include play food, utensils, and maybe even your own play stove, refrigerator, and sink? Our Church and Kindergarten always had these play spaces, and I made sure to have the same for my children.
There is something that fascinates children as they role play activities, and it is a way they work out the important job of growing up and handling everyday chores and responsibilities. Of course, for them it is just lots of fun, but important fun! Maybe there is really no other kind?
I couldn’t resist putting together a collection of the colorful and delightful play kitchens along with their many accoutrements. One thing that always bothered me about many child’s toy dishes and utensils were the ones that were so flimsy they didn’t last more than a short time. I grew to appreciate the better quality ones and I think a child has more fun with them, too.
Could you picture a space in your home for a project like this? It really doesn’t take much more space than a play bench, and yet stores the playthings and provides a great features for your child’s imagination and role play. If using the plans below for a crafted child play kitchen, you might well be creating an heirloom that even your grandchildren will be happily “cooking on” in years to come.
Are you handy with a saw and hammer? Maybe you can create your own custom made child’s kitchen play area.
Toy Kitchens Make Great Playtimes – eBay For Child’s Play
Keep your child happily occupied using imagination and roleplay with a toy kitchen and accessories just the right size. Kids like to socialize around food and cooking just like grownups do!
Beautiful and Durable Play Kitchens – All-In-Ones Save Space, Separate “Appliances” Are Flexible
Colorful Essentials 4-in-1 Play Kitchen Color: BluePlay kitchens that are durable and sturdy are important investments in children’s furniture. They don’t have to have lots of bells and whistles and they don’t have to be expensive, but a toy that will withstand real play, and a little banging around is quite important.
Looking for smooth corners and the right height are a couple points to keep on your checklist.
Good, sturdy play kitchens come in both plastic and wood types, and it is more a personal preference than anything else that might weigh in the favor of one over the other. White play appliances and the more colorful ones are likely to be of plastic material.
My Little Chef Deluxe Faux Granite Play KitchenA dream kitchen for little girls is one made of a fashionable trompe l’oeil granite look. Moms often like large pieces of play furniture to match up with the general décor of the house. This might be just the style for your own child’s room or corner of the rec-room.
Toddler Contempo Wood Play 4 Piece Kitchen SetOne kitchen I like for its good design is the Contempo brand. It has engaging appeal, is made of wood and of the right size for toddlers. Fill up the doors with play food and few pots and pans and young children can play for hours just imagining their own meals and snacks that they can serve their dolls and teddy bears. Four separate pieces means the arrangement is customizable to the play space.
Colorful Essentials Four Piece Play Kitchen Color: YellowSunshine yellow is a fvorite color for a cheerful little play kitchen. Toddlers will discover how much fun it is as they mimic the important work of cooking and serving. Convincing a child to eat right is more fun when using the play in their own kitchen to talk about making good food choices, learning to keep food preparation clean and tidy. Much better than nagging or lectures. Living healthy and cooperatively is better “caught” than taught and when setting up a play space with their own little kitchen that is exactly what we are providing: ways for child to find the fun in living well. This beats television by a mile, and the many facts of play can be part of your child’s play day.
Kidkraft Pink Retro Kitchen and Refrigerator Play Set
Stores like Walmart or Target are convenient places to find your child’s play kitchen and they are bound to have lots of the accessories, too. If you want play dishes, fake food, and even a small tablecloth… this is a great place to shop to make your little kids happy! There is usually convenient pickup if you decide to have it delivered to the store.
I also find cute play kitchens and accessories at IKEA and Pottery Barn.
Play Dishes in Just The Right Size – Cups, Saucers, Plates and Utensils
I always had lots of play dishes for my kids, and then got completely new sets for the grandkids (we were pretty hard on the toys of this type in our household). I liked to use the play dinnerware of this size for little snacks of real food just for fun.
Bright, fun colors to make a festive play dinner for favorite friends. High quality and substantial playware.
If you decide to buy a play kitchen for your child, why not round out the experience with a set of good quality pans. Those cheap plastic ones often break in no time, but those made of metal are easy to clean and stake lots of serious playtime.
The rough and tumble of real kids having lots of fun, that is. When my children were little I got tired everything breaking, until I discovered brands that were made for real play and could take children playing with their toys on more than occasional Sundays. These toys are tough and can take daily play with your children and their friends.
Tough Little Tykes quality and room for two to share in the playtime.
Every child likes to play tea party- it has never been just for little girls. Although little girls are truly in their element with all the girly colors like those on this rug. With a rug and the play kitchen setup, with perhaps a child’s set of table and chairs, an area can be set aside in a family room, play room, or any place that has a five by five foot area for playing. The child play kitchen furniture usually has lots of storage and cubby holes for keeping the toys neat.
Kitchen Play Accessories – In Bright, Playful Colors
There are so many fine play sets of dishes, utensils, and play cookware available to go with your child’s new kitchen imagination center, that it may be hard to choose! In the important work of role playing adult activities and duties such as cooking foods, serving others, and engaging in the teamwork of taking care of daily chores, children take real joy in outfitting their play kitchens and serving special meals to their favorite bears and dolls…. as well as siblings and friends.
Repurpose and Make Your Own
Whether a child has realistic or imaginary styles of play dishes and pots and pans does not seem to matter as much as the fact that they are of high enough quality to endure lots of handling and have durability.
Play food is always fun, remember the Beatrix Potter story of “The Two Bad Mice”? When a pair of mice come to enjoy the dollhouse, the artificial food looked so real that one determined mouse was frustrated in trying to carve a particularly delectable entree.
Sometimes children like to take their play dishes outside, whether you think that is a good idea will determine the strength and toughness of the play set. A play kitchen helps to keep the play utensils inside where they aren’t as likely to be lost or broken. But you can set up an outdoor kitchen, all the same. Be creative!
The creativity of Moms and Dads in making wonderful play kitchens for their children is just amazing
On A Budget? Economical Choices – Wide Variety Of Style And Colors
When looking for lower costs, the materials are usually plastic. Colorful and fun for little cooks. These are all in one choices which will also save space.
DIY Child Play Kitchens
Re-purposing to build your own child’s play kitchens
Here are super cute ideas for repurposing or making your own d-i-y versions of play kitchens. There is no price tag on the amount of fun these play furnishings provide. Just a little scavenging around for materials, or even a small trip to the hardware, and even basic carpentry skill will give a great result.
There are lots of great tutorials online, but most of these ideas can be copied without too much experience. Even newbies can put together really cute play kitchens with just some paint and a few refurbishments.
I think the simple beige play sink above is one of my favorites and looks easy enough for someone as UN-handy as me could finish it in a day or so. I bet my husband could get ‘er done in a couple hours, including paint drying time. The simple lines are elegant, too, with just those easy to hold handles and a little shelf for important play foods or dishes.
I’ve gotten pretty good at feeling that I have most everything I need or want. And most of the time I do, I am very blessed in that sense. But sometimes I look through items that I don’t need, but they have some intrinsic quality or could bring some beauty into my life, and that causes me to long a little. Or at least mentally put them on a wish list.
I was looking through a catalog of Rodale products, and they appeal to all my sensibilities: natural materials, beautiful design, unusual and original looking.
I thought I would have some post here or there that compile some in related themes. I know I have Pinterest board, but this is a little more refined and thought out. I tend to pin less mindfully than I ought to- just so I don’t lose some idea or pretty picture. This is more for me to consider, and for you to see what I really, really like.
Yes, I am an affiliate- that needs to be said at the outset. Now let’s enjoy some pretty things…
I am a sucker for real leaf earrings. When in Colorado I went to a Souvenir shop in Georgetown and bought some silver plated Aspen leaves. I love them! And I love these Eucalyptus leaves for the same reason. They remind me of Northern California.
Love The Clogs
Slip-ons that are so cute. This is my ideal house slipper. This is the last one, so I just want you to see them, they aren’t in my size and will be gone soon. They are Geisswein boiled wool, which is available on Amazon if you don’t mind a different type. I have them on my list for this year, but I do love that little fox.
I would love this for this year. I don’t have any tunics this long and would like something with leggings. Not sure if it is still in style, but it would be comfortable and I would like the way it would look on me.
Keeping this short, to three items. I will create one for either beauty products or garden lusts another time.
International Children’s Book Day is always celebrated on April 2nd. Why April 2nd? Because that is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday! And what better day to choose for celebrating children’s books than the birthday of the beloved collector of fairy tales, which so many of us read as children?
There are more days set aside for reading and books, including Library Week and numerous Book weeks, but this celebration is just for children’s books.
What a wonderful way to revisit old favorites and discover new books for children:
A day to inspire a love of reading.
What makes a book a classic
Why parents should read to their kids
Lists of great books according to age groups
Short reviews of recommended books for children, with convenient affiliate Amazon links.
Classic Children’s Books
Don’t miss these beloved books
Before I had my own children there were many books that I loved as a child: Dr. Seuss Stories,The Secret Garden, Oliver Twist, Nancy Drew Mysteries. But after having children I found myself reading many I had somehow missed.
When looking for quality books for my children I discovered Good Night Moon, Ping, Lyle the Crocodile, Amelia Bedelia, Anne of Green Gables, The Laura Wilder stories, The Boxcar Children, The Girl of Limberlost, and so many more classics. I hope as you journey through this page you will find your own favorites to share with your children.
What Makes A Classic?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Meg, Jo, Beth and… Poster at Allposters.com
Why a book should be on a must-read list for children? What makes it a classic? This involves a certain recipe of factors, not unlike those for “big people”, the same basic ingredients are baked into memorable children’s books.
Great characters. Just like any great book, it starts with characters that reflect the inner life that humans experience in some way, a complete picture of personality with hopes, dreams, fears, and quirks. We ought to be able to identify them, even if not identifying with them.
There should be action, plot, and purpose. Even if the purpose is just a time to enjoy silliness, a great book has momentum that holds our interest.
Pictures. For some children’s books the secret ingredient is the illustration.
Ability to capture the imagination and affections. The best books capture our imagination and make us love the characters and the stories. Inspiration to dream and do, to believe we understand better than before we were immerse in the pages.
Longevity. Something that lasts from generation to generation. Some messages, characters or events carry through many generations. They touch our humanity. Classic literature does this very well.
Great Children’s Books Should Be Accessible
You can go to the library, and you should, but nothing replaces the home bookshelf of well loved favorites. They are ready for reading anytime 🙂
A reading nook, a shelf of beloved books, encourages parents to read to their children. It places reading in a place of importance, and makes the books themselves accessible to kids.
Why Read With Your Children
Experts Give Their Advice On The Subject
According to experts, if you read to your children regularly it will help develop their own love of reading, help them master language skills and learn to think logically. They will experience reading as something fun! It will also foster their relationship with you and encourages communication skills.
Reading together builds an academic foundation with basic speech skills and basic knowledge in how to read a book. Children are likely to do better in school, later on.
The Children’s Reading Foundation recommends 20 minutes a day
Reading to children fosters the habit of reading, it will encourage a lifelong love of reading books and helps to build a superior vocabulary. It can take only minutes a day, but what important minutes those can prove to be. Reading Is Fundamental website
Not on many lists today, but it is ideal reading for celebration of an International Children’s Book day. Filled with Dutch cultural information and a heartwarming story. ‘The Silver Skates’ is one of those great books that has fallen from the reading lists of many. That should not be. It is a story that has important lessons, as many of the old classics do, creates a time and place which weaves understanding into the fabric of today’s world. Many of the earlier works of children’s literature attempted to give children a window into other cultures, along with universal character traits that make up the best of our humanity.
That is why they still make worthwhile reading today.
A Good Book
Makes the Best Gift
Are you familiar with some of the old favorites like “Wind In The Willows”? An English tale set on the banks of a river in England, all the characters derive from animals one might find along the Thames.
With much of the charm found in “Winnie The Pooh” or the Beatrix Potter stories, but for a child a few years older, this is one of the books I discovered in the quest of building my own children’s exploration of good literature.
Wind In The Willows is perhaps better known to the children of England, but it is a classic tale of camaraderie and quirky personalities that children on this side of the pond have come to love.
Delightful, wonderful characters who lead a long line of adventures on the river. You will love the wild, oddly lovable, Mr. Toad …and Rat, Mole, Badger… the entire gang.
GO AHEAD AND BUY A SET
You can’t go wrong to start your home library with series sets of books for your children. When an author, and their illustrators, get the formula right expect clamor for continuing the series.
This extends the pleasure of reading about favorite characters, or delving into new adventures. So look for a series of books by an author and work your way through them, savoring the details. This makes these books ideal for birthday and Christmas giving, stretching the discovery of fine writing year after year.
Look For These Authors, And Their Collections
Five beloved Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss includes ‘The Cat in the Hat’, ‘One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish’, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. Children love these rhyming texts, silly stories, and humorous drawings.
There is a reason Dr. Seuss has been beloved for generations of young readers and listeners. Made for reading aloud and for beginning readers.
Peter Rabbit, Et Al
Beatrix Potter animal characters and the engaging stories are illustrated with beautiful and memorable watercolor pictures. Just recently a son of mine mentioned how he had remembered some of the plots and scenes well into adulthood.
I, personally, have always considered these books to be top notch reading entertainment for children.
Books that appeal to the very young have lots of illustration, but they are also books that comfort or entertain them.
Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon are both books with beautiful illustrations which follow the way a child thinks to provide a comforting end to the day. They make great night time reading.
‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ is so well loved it has spawned an entire set of similar books, but the original is always my favorite. As a parent, and now a grandparent I never tire of reading it. Droll illustrations and the cutest story line of slippery slope events makes this a book you and your children will have fun reading together.
Cat In The Hat and Corduroy are two books that have stood the test of time. I remember them in my own library as a child and reread them often to my children when they were small. That makes them classic, doesn’t it? I’d say so, when joined by millions of readers spanning several generations who also love these books!
This collection of fine books were some our family enjoyed over and over again. Winnie the Pooh is loved for the tender and humorous stories and characters, and I prefer the original drawings over the Disney renditions. I own the hardback collection of stories and carefully brought it out for reading together, while another copy of stories was for the rough and tumble handling of everyday.
Harry the Dirty Dog is a darling book that isn’t so well known nowadays, but well worth the purchase. You and your children will love Harry.
Arnold Lobel is one of those authors who “gets it” that children deal with real emotions and understands how important friendship is. Frog and Toad are two of his most delightful characters, who draw you into their circle while they tackle situations together, from fears and scary things to a day of being down in the dumps.
Book 1-12 in a cute case makes a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift for a young reader.
How cute! A boxcar bookcase with twelve of the Boxcar Children mysteries. Room for 32 such books, The Boxcar Children have adventures that early readers are eager to follow through a series of mysteries. There are educational materials created for these books=great for Homeschoolers.
Get Your Boys To Read Books: Encyclopedia Brown to the Rescue!
Girls and boys love these books! Because there is an age when they can’t get enough of these mystery style stories, this is a great choice for ages 8-10. Books that center on ideals of equality and justice, with a dash of ingenuity and fun.
Boys will find themselves identifying with the main character and seem to especially enjoy the Encyclopedia Brown Mystery books. These are early reading books, so you may read to them or find they pick them up on their own.
My girls and I loved these enchanting stories full of imagination and life! Anne is spirited and always getting into scrapes, but she manages to win her way into the hearts of those around her…including us.
The characters, particularly of Anne, make for a cult following. Fans take treks to her house in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island to see the real farm and home that inspired the beloved stories. That is the power of good writing!
This book centers around the life of Prince Edward Island in Canada, and manages to take readers back in time while still holding onto the struggles and joys that real teens still encounter. No wonder generations of girls have come to love Anne.
Complete boxed set of L.M. Montgomery’s books- don’t miss this! Young girls are entranced by such stories as ‘Rainbow Valley’, and all of the Anne of Green Gables stories.
Two More Collections Loved By Fans
Movies, TV shows, and lots of related showcases for the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder and C. S. Lewis tells the story of how attached the readers become to these examples of excellent children’s literature.
The characters and plots draw the reader into history, fantasy, and clashes of good and evil. All the makings of what makes a book draw readers for generations.
The Secret Garden
There is something transcendent about the lives of the two unhappy children who find friendship, inner confidence, and the beauty of life in the romantic surroundings of a big Victorian mansion and its secret garden that still speaks to children today. I think that transcendent feature lies within the healing power of nature … no matter what our age or circumstance.
Yes, there are movies, and inexpensive cut-down versions of the book, but this is a book that is best in its original form, with real pages to turn and with enough time given to allow the words to create the spark in the imagination that all great books seem able to do.
Every bookshelf should hold this story of how a long neglected garden opens up the lives of three children with different challenges and stations in life, bringing a love of nature to them and by way of their experience, to us.
An evocative book you will enjoy reading and discussing with your child, which will build a love for gardens and a new appreciation of the wonder of plants. Many gardeners cite this book as being instrumental in their childhood fascination with gardening.
Danish author Hans Christian Andersen understood the fun and fascination of the fairy tales told to children. He is famous for his collection of folk tales that we have been familiar with, as children, for generations.
Another beloved book by this author is ‘The Little Princess’. Young girls enjoy the tale of trials and triumph of Sara Crewe. A Cinderella story set in Victorian times, Frances Hodgson Burnett writes with delightful grasp of what makes a story grab our heartstrings.
We wore through our set of Little House books. A wonderful way to develop a fascination with American history and a love of reading. Laura Ingalls Wilder created books filled with warmth and feeling.
The complete Chronicles of Narnia in one finely illustrated, hardcover book. Every child should have the chance to enter Narnia and make friends with all the wonderful characters of these C. S. Lewis books.
The triumph of family love and justice as children struggle with the unjust imprisonment of their father, but his final vindication, has been a well loved classic book
Many of the classic books for children are translated into different languages- making them truly internationally celebrated!
Celebrate A Day For Children’s Books
This day is a perfect opportunity to discover high quality reading books which have stood the test of time. Books that build character, that widen horizons, and engage a child’s imagination. Embark on an adventure of discovery that can result in a full year of reading fun.
Make reading a celebration and help encourage the development of the habit of sitting down with a book.
A special day for emphasizing reading can help offset the modern tendency to ignore book reading in favor of the clamor of electronic entertainment.
This Observation Celebrated
Things To Do – – to observe the day
Why, read a child’s book of course!
Go to the Library with your child
Make a gift of a book to your child today
Make a “children’s hour” to read your child’s favorite books to them.
Don’t have a child? Adopt one for the day and give them a book
More Reading Adventures
There are so many great classic children’s books. Fantasy Worlds
Besides Narnia and The Hobbit, there is the world of “The Borrowers”, the tiny people who you just know live in your house and account for the little items that always go missing!
Ozma of Oz is less well known than The Wizard of Oz, but it was my favorite of all the L. Frank Baum series. In a Kindle edition with the classic illustrations of John R. Neill. Who does not love the idea of a new head and personality to match whenever one feels like it?
Where the Red Fern Grows takes place in the Ozarks, and follows the story of a boy and his beloved dogs. The bond between man and dog, the reality of life and loss, are eloquently dealt with in this fine story.
Don’t Miss These Great Children’s Books
Some of the Best Book Choices to Fascinate Older Children
The Phantom Tollbooth is filled with play on words and fun characters for concepts that intrigue an older child (age 9-12).
For intermediate readers, this is a witty and fun book to read. It hones a child’s sense of humor and the ability to see things from more than one perspective. Word play abounds, which incites a reader to develop a love of language.
A Wrinkle in Time is mystery, love, and time-travel all rolled into one! What is not to love about this adventure of Meg and her brother in finding their scientist father, who has somehow disappeared? And meet Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which….
Eventually you will want the entire set of Tolkien’s classics. Exciting adventure fantasy books. Loving the movies is no excuse to skip the books! This is a case of there being so much more inside the literature than could possibly be included within a movie. But even so, the film versions of the stories create an interest to know more and continue the discovery of the creatures, world, and exciting plots of Tolkien.
This is one of my own top favorites, it embodies the noble characters and the villains of early times with a historical background illuminating the complex conflicts of Indian tribes, The English, and the French.
More Than One Day To Celebrate Reading
…because it is so important
There are many special times set a apart during the year, the world over, to encourage reading and a love of books.
A few others, besides the International Children’s Book Day:
World Book Day
Many different “Book Weeks”, includingAustralia’s
National Read A Book Day
Wyeth: Treasure Island
Discover What’s New In Children’s Literature
Fine books are being written all the time
We all love the classics, but every day new books are being written and published and they might well be a classic some day. Discover exciting new additions to children’s literature.
Amazon has a list, “New Books for Children”, that is categorized for discovery of what’s new and what’s great.
Because there are so many books which appeal to a wide range of ages, it is not possible to cover all of them in even a book, although there are guides that I found very helpful, especially Honey for a Child’s Heart.
Book Guide to All The Best Books – A huge help for parents who care about their children’s reading habits
Reading the right books, which capture a child’s imagination and inspire their hearts and minds, begins a lifetime of reading adventure.
“Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever” will inspire and guide you to include reading time with your child.
Early in my homeschool endeavor I was looking for great books to give my children and use in their reading program. This guide was priceless! It categorizes books by their appeal to specific age groups and reading ability.
An entire book dedicated to revealing the great Children’s books to purchase and read with your children, all the way through the high school years when they may be guided to pick up and read the greatest and most wholesome books. You, as I did, may find yourself engrossed in books that you missed as a child from the extensive lists of quality children’s books.
Make a Reading Nook – Create a special space just for reading
Take notes from your favorite bookstore memories, and get a cozy big chair (big enough for two, you and your child) a small bookshelf or two, and a reading lamp. It can be in your child’s room, in a corner of the living room, or anywhere that a quiet space is reserved for those 20 minutes of reading time together.
HOW TO MAKE A READING NOOK
How To Create A Cozy Reading Nook
A small table and chairs,
a large comfy chair for reading together,
a good lamp for reading by,
and a small bookcase are all ideal (as mentioned above),
but what about a comfy window seat?
IKEA has inexpensive modules that connect to create a low seat and nearby bookcases, snap-on reading lamps and cushions for comfort.
A place free from the distractions of TV and video game is probably best, and you might be surprised to rediscover life outside of electronics.
Even an area on an outside, screened-in, or all season porch may be the place you and your children most like to spend reading time for many months of the year.
Who hasn’t heard of Peter Rabbit? For those who love the many faces of the charming animals who people her stories, Beatrix Potter left a legacy of her stories and their illustrations for generations.
The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends
Familiar with the adventures of Peter Rabbit? Does chamomile tea conjure up memories of this story of a bad little rabbit who ate rather too many lettuces and fell in with Mr. McGregor and his cat? Then possibly you have as much love for these tales as I.
Would you like to know more about some of the protagonists of Beatrix Potter’s endearing writings?
Having a great love for these little books of the nursery set, it seemed that sharing the beloved, charming characters of the Beatrix Potter books would be an enjoyable endeavor. Come along to visit the denizens of the English countryside, and the visitors to the Victorian dollhouses, as well as those who might be found in gardens or behind the wainscoting! Their cute little clothes and daring adventures still entrance us, as we read their stories to yet another generation of enthralled children.
I will tell you a secret: I would love one of these to put on a shelf because I have never really outgrown stuffed animals or Miss Potter’s stories.
Miss Potter’s Pet Character
For Beatrix Potter, personally, this was her favorite of all her many story books. Inspired by the story she had heard of a poor tailor, John Pritchard, Potter sketched the actual shop of local lore. The finished story, illustrated with watercolors, was given to Freda Moore, daughter of her former governess and companion Annie Moore.
Interestingly the legend of the local tailor happened during Potter’s lifetime, but for the story she set the time and costuming in the 18th-century. This story was published in 1903.
For us, once we began collecting the Beatrix Potter tales we wanted the entire set. Each illustration is so charming and the tales are full of surprising insights and humor.
Twenty three of your favorite little books of Beatrix Potter tales in a keepsake box.
Under The Gate and Into MacGregor’s Garden
Lovable, Memorable Characters Prove Popular – They have been collectible in many forms
I like reading books to my children that I enjoy, too. There are so many great classics that we don’t need to be bored!
Many modern children’s books bore me. I don’t see any reason to waste time with those when there are so many fantastic choices. Of those, Beatrice Potter’s rate highly with their witty writing, detailed and artistic illustrations and flights of fancy into a world where animals are very like you and I.
We started out with the ‘Peter Rabbit’ storybook, just like many, do. The stories don’t patronize children, and the illustrations that Miss Potter created continue to charm today’s crop of children. There are insights, just enough misbehavior for the story plots to move along and bring in the humor.
These stories proved to be some of the best loved bedtime stories in our house.
It wasn’t long before other stories, and then whole collections of her character’s adventures peopled our bedtime story hour.
Renee Zellweger does a great job in a lovely film. I liked the inclusion of the quirky illustrated characters she interacts with. I imagine that the very Victorian Miss Potter did the same.
The Life Of Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter had no children of her own, having married late in life, but she sent letters to the young children of a former governess with the engaging characters of her stories and drawings that became the beloved books read for night times, naps and during reading hour. Generations of children have loved the stories for their inclusion of real risks,dangers, and admonitions,as well as the amusing responses they might well identify with.
A VICTORIAN DAUGHTER
Beatrix Potter was born July 28, 1866 as Helen Beatrix Potter into a privileged British family. Her parents were well to do Middle class merchants, and her father was a barrister. She and her younger brother were educated privately with governesses, and they managed to collect quite a menagerie of small animals, from which her drawings and observations later lead to the realistic creations of her stories.
Like many wealthy British families of Victorian times, Beatrix Potter’s vacationed in Scotland, where she and her brother freely roamed the countryside. This was in contrast to the very restricted home life revolving around her parents and her mother’s demands.
Always drawing, Beatrix Potter developed her art and became expert in drawing fungi, she also sold a few of her imaginative drawings, and was convinced to submit her children’s drawings and stories to a publisher. A ladies companion and former governess who remained in her friendship was Annie Carter Moore, to whose children Beatrix had sent some of her letters with the characters and their escapades. It was Annie who convinced her to publish her children’s stories.
Potter did not receive immediate success in her endeavors, either as a mycologist or as an author, but she had determination and grit, which continued to inspire her to submit her work until she received a certain measure of success. Her drawings of imaginary animal creatures and her amusing stories caught on and she began to find a return of success and income for her efforts.
LOVE COMES LATE
Beatrix Potter was not to so easily find happiness in her personal life. She and her publisher had fallen in love, but her socially upwardly mobile parents, especially her mother, sought a better match matrimonially; one which would leave their middle class beginnings behind. Though Beatrix held her ground, and was informally engaged, her beloved Norman Warne died of leukemia only one month after they had begun their unofficial engagement.
Potter became increasingly successful and independent, publishing many books and merchandising them cannily. She later in life would meet her husband, William Heelis who was her solicitor (lawyer), and passionately involve herself in sheep farming with the focused determination she used in all her endeavors in life.
THE COUNTRY LIFE
She continued to write, to create art for her own pleasure, and keep quite busy with her country life of farming and becoming a respected leader in her community.
The Best Known Characters: Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
Among other beloved animal personalities
Probably the best known, and maybe best loved of all Potter’s storybook characters.Many toys, books, and children’s items celebrate Peter.
Peter’s relative and sidekick in getting into scrapes and eating too many onions.
PETER’S MOTHER AND FLOPSY, MOPSY, AND COTTON-TAIL
Peter isn’t alone in the hearts of those who have read the stories, who can forget his caring and practical mother and well behaved sisters?
From a picture letter that Beatrix Potter sent Norah Moore, comes the lovable and impertinent squirrel who tangles with the quite serious Owl, Old Brown. Before getting the full story ready for printing, (which combined an earlier story letter about squirrels with this one), much time was given to drawing squirrels including her pet squirrel kept in a large birdcage.
Mrs Tiggy-Winkle – A terribly tidy hedgehog
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was based on real characters: both the persona of a real washerwoman, and Beatrix’ own pet hedgehog.
Of her washerwoman, Katie MacDonald, Potter writes,
“Kitty MacDonald, our old washerwoman … Kitty is eighty-three but waken, and delightfully merry … She is a comical, round little woman, as brown as a berry and wears a multitude of petticoats and a white mutch. Her memory goes back for seventy years, and I really believe she is prepared to enumerate the articles of her first wash in the year ’71”
A mutch is “The close linen or muslin cap of an old woman.”
On of the funniest and leaving an impression for her caricature of a washerwoman who rather disconcertingly turns into a normal hedgehog and runs away. A wonderful mix of the real and the fantasy in this story. It has an Alice in Wonderland quality to it.
by Beatrix Potter (1866—1943) – Internet Archive scan of The Tale of Two Bad Mice, image taken from this PDF version
Making Away With Lucinda’s Pillow
Internet Archive scan of The Tale of Two Bad Mice, image taken from this PDF version, the relevant text for this illustration is “With Tom Thumbs’s assistance she carried
A Bad Mouse
She was one of a pair of mice who moved into a doll’s house one day. They prove a bit destructive, and the tale is, thus, of “Two Bad Mice“. Dressed up in skirts and apron, this delightful mouse and her story originated in a real life encounter with mice who had been trapped within a cousin’s home.
Inspired by her publisher’s Christmas gift of a doll’s house for his niece, this popular story was born as she wrote about the two rescued mice over the winter of 1903.
The development of the illustrations were from drawings of actual objects, Warne’s constructed doll house (from photographs), his niece’s policeman doll, and two dolls that Warne made a gift of to Beatrix.
Tale of Mr. Tod, Tommy Brock
Tale of Mr. Tod, Tommy Brock
Jeremy Fisher – A Gentleman Frog
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher was originally written as a letter to a child in 1893 while Potter was summering on the River Tay. “I should like to do Mr. Jeremy Fisher … I think I can make something of him”
Biographer Linda Lear writes that Miss Potter “wanted to do a frog story for some time, because it was amusing and offered the opportunity for the naturalist illustrations she delighted in ”
From her bright mind and observing eye came the charming illustrations for her books, and Beatrix Potter created numerous characters that impress with their lack of pretentious Victorian manner and detailed with her astute eye and somewhat irreverent humor.
From the sweet rabbit sisters to the more sinister Mr. Tod, the characters all have the talented hand of Beatrix Potter unfailingly giving them life and personality. They make wonderful decor for children’s rooms and baby nurseries (but I doubt we ever really outgrow them).
The watercolor palette, endearing drawings, and beloved stories make Potter’s animals ideal for decorating a baby nursery. There are so many items emblazoned with Peter and all his friends.
It is easy to find gifts for birthdays or Christmas, combining books and stuffed animals, and so many other types of things. Figurines, even cupcake stands, or a salt and pepper set! No matter what our age, if we love her characters we can find gifts to treasure.
What Item To Decorate?
That is the only question!
Beatrix Potter illustrations are darling on all sorts of products, from T-shirts to plates and children’s banks and fabrics.
Stamps and many other products have Potter’s illustrations and characters created at Zazzle.
Desire baby clothes and nursery decor? Target has offered a complete line in the delicate colors, with beloved protagonists of the tales. I saw them there, and thought the set was a darling way to do up a baby’s room.
But don’t forget the books! As sweet as the watercolors are, it is the memory of the funny little stories that give this childhood set of nursery friends their long lived popularity
The Lake District – Hilltop Farm
Her Home At Hill Top
Hill Top was purchased by Beatrix Potter in 1905 with royalties from her first few books.
Scenes and details of her books were inspired by the family’s visits to the Lake District. She visited her new home as often as she could, but never for more than a few days at a time due to her busy life, nevertheless she produced sketches of the house, garden, countryside and animals for her books.
This was one of those extraordinary discoveries that lead to as much enjoyment for the parent as for the children they are intended for- makes reading time a real joy. Great gift for a child.
How many roadtrips did you take as a child? And did you prevent boredom with games of “I Spy”, trying to find something red or gray with white stripes? Well, that is exactly the idea used creatively to expand the I Spy books into a brainteaser game that manages to entertain both adults and little children. There are clever, gorgeously photographed pictures filling this immensely popular set of books for playing I Spy with your children (which you will want to do, even though they could do it on their own).
One of my sisters sent the first “I Spy” book to our family many years ago as a Christmas gift. We had so much fun that I was soon collecting all the editions I could put my hands on. There are versions for holidays and for special themes.
I Spy Fun House: A Book of Picture Riddles
All these books have a similar format, but the genius of them is in the detailed work of composing extremely beautiful and detailed photographs, charming rhyming clues and a range of challenges along the lines of very different themes. I guarantee you will not tire of them and will begin to want to collect them all. All these books have a similar format, but the genius of them is in the detailed work of composing extremely beautiful and detailed photographs, charming rhyming clues and a range of challenges along the lines of very different themes. I guarantee you will not tire of them and will begin to want to collect them all. I Spy Fun House: A Book of Picture Riddles
I had as much fun as my children
Quality time with the little ones never was so entertaining
When my sister sent us the first “I Spy” book, I sat down with the little ones, then ages four and six, and we opened up the pages to the full color, gorgeous and detailed photographs. Visually the pictures are so rich and such a joy to scan through!
We took our time with the riddles, and some of the clues were obvious and easy enough for the little ones to feel joy and surprise at finding the objects from the cute rhymes.
Some of the challenges were tough enough to perplex even me, but most were just fun for the kids, and we had such a good time!
The first time through a book is always most exciting, of course, but all my children liked not just finding the answers to clues, but examining the interesting collection of things that made up the themed pages. We got addicted to this series of books and they made great gifts for birthday and Christmas for a couple years.
I actually use the same books with my grandchildren, now!
…with my little eye…
What Makes The Eye Spy Books So Enjoyable?
They are expertly photographed.
Beautifully arranged, artistically chosen objects are fascinating in themselves.
A range of easy to difficult challenges within each page. Enough successes, and enough to puzzle over, each page of challenges keeps children and their parents engaged.
A picture speaks a thousand words, so just looking at the photos makes for an educational experience- one that is lots of fun.
There are plenty of book editions to keep interest high.
These are riddles, and children love riddles, one of the easiest ways to exercise our powers of logic, reasoning, and creative thinking.
A Delicious Christmas Theme – Just the right book for the Christmas season
Get in the holiday mood and spend some quiet time looking for signs of the season inside the beautiful photos. More of Walter Wicks fine photography in this version of the I Spy for Christmas. Co-authored with Jean Marzollo.
Picture collages and rhymes to riddle you by, the clear and detailed pictures along with the “I spy” game make an irresistible combination.
Who Loves Fascinating Picture Books? – We Do!
These are great books for preschooler activities. Picture books that create interest and focus, good quiet time pastimes for children and their parents.
A Grandparent bookshelf must-have.
How did the author, Jean Marzollo, come up with this ingenious concept that so many have come to love?
“[We] used the words “I spy” to start every riddle. Those two little words are very powerful because they establish the main character and the story of the book. The main character is the reader – or the child being read to. The story is about the main character becoming a hero by finding everything in the riddle” –Jean Marzollo
Take Time To Discover Details – Open Your Eyes To See
We giggled with delight when first discovering these books.
It was so much fun to pore over the beautiful, finely detailed, sharply photographed pictures. The way the objects were hidden…. some in plain sight, and the ways we worked together to use our brains to unlock the picture riddles created times that both my children and I will always remember.
I only wish I had discovered these books during the earliest years of our family, before the oldest children had grown up.
These are books to give your grandchildren, and to have on your bookshelves for any visiting boy or girl. Quiet fun for rainy days, too!
One of the great gifts of activities such as these books provide is the exercise of engaging our brains to truly see the details of the world around us. To focus in and discover the beauty, interest, and the peculiarities of our world.
Author Jean Marzollo:
“I wrote this book not knowing what a success I SPY would be. No one knew.”
See The I Spy Book First Hand – Understand the appeal to preschooler and parent alike
Picture Book Riddles
Have you read the I Spy books to your children?
Funny Books For Children
If you would like to see some other books that are fun to read with your children, or grandchildren, be sure to look at some of the funniest books for kids.
I collated some of the best and funniest kids books so you know exactly which ones to look for for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Birthday giving. Want to have some laughs with your children or grandchildren? Get some funny read aloud books, sit down in a comfy chair, and let the hilarity begin!
Have You Laughed Out Loud While Reading To Your Child?
Some of the classic books for children will hit your funny bone, and more importantly your child’s, too. Witty, well-written stories and amusing illustrations can not only entertain the children, but appeal to parents, too. I found that out while reading to my small children.
Some authors, like Dr. Seuss, are very well known and even movies have been made from the unique characters and inventive stories. Other authors, or even some of the books you’ll see on this page, are less known… but should be better broadcasted for their way of delivering a great message with humor and imagination.
Keep In Mind
That one persons humor treasury might be another’s trash. Wimpy Kids is soundly criticized by some, for example. Just like the different appeal of The Three Stooges or Marx Brothers.
How Do I Find Good Books For My Children?
When my children were young, it helped to belong to book clubs, but that isn’t always the best way to locate good books. Many homeschool resources will provide guidance, and you don’t have to be a homeschooler to use the information!
A book called “Honey For a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt categorized books by age appropriate categories and gave me lists of classics.
Libraries always highlight the newest books, or the ones the Librarians most value, along with seasonal selections.
Schools often have interesting books for kids to enjoy in their libraries, and you might find out what their friends families find enjoyable.
Last but not least are curated lists like this one.
Here is my collection of what I thought were the funniest children’s books- the ones that delighted both my children and I. A few newer ones are thrown in that I will be giving to my grandchildren.
I hope you and your children will enjoy them, too.
Capture interest in reading with a humorous read-aloud book.
On My List
Nate The Great
Frog and Toad
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Big Orange Splot
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Cat in the Hat
Love of Reading Starts Here
Love of Reading Starts Here
Did you know that reading aloud to your children
Creates a higher aptitude for learning
Develops better communication and a mastery of reading skills
Gives quality bonding experiences
For Beginning Readers
To encourage children to read on their own, it helps to have books that are written for their reading level AND which appeal to their imagination. That means that two specific kinds of books to have on the book shelf are those which are either humorous or of the mystery detective genre, preferably both!
Appeal to their funny bone
Boys, especially, may rather run outside, play sports, or sit with video games rather than read. Entice them to discover the joy of reading with books that appeal to them and their sense of adventure.
Gear towards their reading level
Appeal to their imagination and sense of adventure
Suggestions to pique their interest and tickle their funnybone.
Nate The Great
~By Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, with Illustrator Marc Simont
Nate The Great is the main character of a hilarious set of mystery detective, read-aloud books. Written for ages 4-8, look into these books especially if you want to engage a boy’s interest in reading.
My Family’s Favorite Amphibians
Frog And Toad
by Arnold Lobel
No list of books for children is complete without the likes of Frog and Toad, in my opinion. I think I enjoyed these books as much as my children.
Droll illustrations coupled with funny plots that ring true to how we relate to common situations such as being in a bad mood, being friends, struggling with fears, and more. It is easy to perceive ourselves in the many ways Frog and Toad help each other out and learn important lessons about friendship along the way.
Thankfully for the joy of young readers everywhere, there are more than one of these story collections following the adventures of Frog and Toad. I think they are a great way to encourage reading time, and appealed to both my sense of humor the children’s.
This is one of the cutest books, with adorable illustrations and a truly funny slippery slope of events.
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…
YOU MIGHT END UP WANTING MORE BOOKS WRITTEN BY LAURA JOFFE NUMEROFF!
So well loved, it inspired a whole slew of books using the format to create Pig and Pancakes, Cat and Cupcakes, and more. But this is the original story that started things off in this hilarious direction.
If you buy a child a book, you may find you will want another, and soon a bookcase to house them all…
Lyle the Crocodile – He’s Lovable
Another family favorite of ours.
I laughed out loud, and had a hard time resuming reading when reading this book to my children.
A croc who really is the most lovable guy once you get past the fact that he is… well, a crocodile.
Taking the feeling that the day is turning out badly to hilarious lengths.
Knucklehead Might Be New To You
Side splitting antics of six boys who manage to get into plenty of trouble, based on author Jon Scieszka’s own childhood.I hadn’t heard of this one when raising my kids, but it has quickly reached “classic” status.
A series creates the building blocks of reading a larger, longer book. It develops the characters and the interaction between them. Some of our favorite novels like Charles Dickens’ books were published in a series mode.
The best children’s books sometimes turn into a series because kids love them so much. I don’t really know if that is the reason, but I am happy that there are more than just one of these funny books that encourage children to read, and are a hoot for parents as well.
Get the Collection For Hilarious, Fun Reading
Books beloved for their funny plots, well drawn characters, and relate-able dialog and situations. I had these books for my children some twenty-five years ago- and they have become classic reading for the younger reader age group. Ramona and Henry make a great pair of counterparts in series of wonderful early reader books.
Beverly Cleary, The Author, Interviewed
Clementine and “Ramona” are favorite characters for 3rd grade girls
… but younger readers, including boys, and parents are all going to enjoy these books with wonderful drawings and fun filled stories.
Don’t let age or gender keep you from enjoy some of these well written and illustrated classics.
Celebrate Everyone’s Uniqueness
Big Orange Splot was a runaway hit with my kids
This book was not on my radar at the time, but one of my cousins who has a masters degree in Child Development sent it to us one Christmas. It’s humor resides in the colorful illustrations, but the message is clear: we should embrace our individuality.
Fun to read, it has a more subtle type of humor which makes it a real favorite for young children.
To Help You Find Funny Books
Start With A Reason
The important thing for new readers is to get them started discovering the great way reading can ignite their imagination and give them windows into the world at large.
How can we best do that, as teachers and parents? Give them books they like, and children LOVE to laugh. Parents love to laugh too, but that is just an aside to our goal of opening the world of great reading in a child’s life.
Just mastering the sounding out of words, and understanding the story is a wonderful accomplishment for a child, but when it tickles their funny bone a new appetite for reading is initiated.
That is why some of the best and most loved books for early readers are in this genre. But really, I don’t think we ever outgrow our appreciation of a well written humorous book. Which is another good reason to add as many of these books to our library shelf as possible.
For ferreting out the best children’s books in any genre, an entire book of recommendations can be a genuinely helpful resource. I liked the “Honey For A Child’s Heart” paperback. It gave list and description by age group. I was always an avid reader, but would have missed some real gems, if not for the guidance of this book. Honey for a Child’s Heart
For a short List of some of the books I always liked, here is a quicklist rundown.
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle inspired a musical play and a TV series, but it was her books (by author Betty MacDonald) that children and their parents have loved reading for so many years.
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were some I enjoyed as a child. They were funny, and poked fun at common childhood foibles while delivering an adult point of view and lessons on good behavior.
Because these are older books, they can be a little hard to find. Try eBay or used book stores. There are a few selections on amazon.
Cat in the Hat Is A Dr. Seuss Classic
This book series just grew in popularity until they popped up everywhere!
Make your book nook with colors of the book inspiring the color scheme.
You supply the green egg colored bookcase, and Dr. Seuss supplies the “Ham”. After you read and enjoy the ‘Cat in the Hat‘, ‘Green Eggs and Ham‘ is sure to follow. -You may find a whole shelf dedicated to the various Dr. Seuss classics.
I like the idea of borrowing a child’s color scheme for their play and sleep areas from their favorite book.
Most of us are familiar with the mischief of the Cat in the Hat and his crew. This is a classic book for a home book shelf.
Silly Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish
Did you know? Amelia Bedelia was based on a real life character, and her funny hat and literal interpretations create havoc. Yet, her employers and the readers come to appreciate this lovable, well meaning housemaid. “Dust the furniture ” takes on a whole new meaning.
She is the cutest little piglet ever, and she has very definite ideas.
Starring Olivia the Pig!
I find that if I am unfamiliar with a book, or what has become a very popular character with the kids set (there are new ones all the time) a video is often made that showcases the books or the character in such a way that you can easily identify the enjoyment that the stories offer.
Attesting to her popularity, there are many gifts to accompany a gift of the books.
Here’s an idea that goes along with a collection of books and the dedication to creating a real lifelong love of reading: create a reading nook.
Keep books in their place with a beautifully crafted bookcase. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair and all their favorite read-aloud books. Little Colorado Traditional Child’s 40″ Bookcase
Encourage Reading Time
Create a special corner for the “Children’s Reading Hour”. A bookshelf filled with all their favorites, a comfy chair and light. Let it invite you and your child to share some of the best times that you will both remember.
The funny books and the cozy nook will cultivate a young chidl’s love of reading- a love that will last a lifetime.
Click for Longfellow's Poem
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, o blue-eyed banditi,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!!
Accessories Build Interest
The Posters, T-shirts, and Action Figures!
…they also make good gift ideas.
Read the book, and get the poster for their wall because a cute poster goes along with a book for the bookshelf. Great reminder to re-open a beloved book. I think these combos of poster and storybook would make a thoughtful gift.
I have bought the Wimpy Kid books for my grandsons. They love them and become avid readers. Of course the books have lots of competition from video and games, but all the more reason to provide them entertaining books that whet their appetite for the world of reading.