Beth’s Top Children’s Books


This week’s guest post is from Beth Morrissey.  Beth is a freelance writer in Dublin, Ireland. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines, websites and essay anthologies. Visit Beth online at or follow her on Twitter where she is @HOHWWriter.

I became a school librarian largely because of the happy memories I have of reading throughout primary and secondary school. I loved books as a child, and even when money was tight my parents were happy to feed my reading addiction. As my father once famously stated, I was the only girl he knew who had an unlimited budget for books and managed to exceed it every month!

Though I’m no longer working as a librarian, my love of books, particularly children’s books, remains strong. I review them for a number of publications and jump at any chance I can to read aloud to kids. Over the years I’ve added new titles to my favourites list, and I strongly urge children of all ages to check out these stellar stories!

The Jolly Postman – Janet and Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Postman delivers post to favourite fairy-tale characters including Cinderella, The Three Bears and Goldilocks. Pull out all of the letters and post cards and read them aloud as a second level to the story!

Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Another romp through classic fairytale characters, this one keeps up a rollicking rhythm and pleasing rhyme throughout. Great for getting children to chant along as you read.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

A very hungry caterpillar eats his way through a week and eventually emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Children love the bold colours, cut-out pages and simple words. Perfect for those just starting to read. 

Miss Rumphius – Barbara Cooney

When Miss Rumphius was young she had three goals: to travel the world, live by the sea and make the world a more beautiful place. She does all of this, making the world more beautiful by spreading flower seeds. The breathtaking illustrations hold every child’s interest, and Miss Rumphius’ goals are a perfect starting point to ask children what they’d like to do with their lives.

Where The Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein

A collection of amusing poems and simple sketches which encompass much more profound themes. Kids love the silliness of this collection, and it’s easy to dip in and out of as desired.

Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

When he causes trouble in his wolf suit, Max is sent to bed without supper. But when a forest springs up in his bedroom he’s able to continue his adventures and explore this new world of wild things. Boys in particular love the mischief Max makes, and all kids like to join in imitating wild things if you give them half a chance.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst

Alexander has a bad day. He gets gum in his hair, trips on a skateboard and oh so much more. Kids love all of the mishaps, and adults no doubt will chuckle at this child’s view of what makes a day horrible (seeing kissing on TV!).

Tikki Tikki Tembo – Arlene Mosel

Tikki Tikki Tembo-No Sa Rembo-Chari Bari Ruchi-Pip Peri Pembo is so named because he’s the first son and his parents wanted him to have a grand name. But when he falls down a well, help is slow to come because it takes everyone so long to say his name. Perfect for inviting kids to join in each time Tikki Tikki Tembo’s name comes up.

Eloise – Kay Thompson

Eloise is six and lives in New York’s Plaza Hotel. Her personal rule is that boredom is not allowed, and so spends her days having wild adventures, torturing hotel staff and guests, and generally making her guardians’ lives a nightmare. Inventive, surprising, exhilarating and utterly unique. 

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss

Ridiculous rhymes designed to encourage children to love reading and language. Judging from it’s enduring popularity, I’d say it does that in spades!

4 thoughts on “Beth’s Top Children’s Books

  1. Great choice of books!

    Really like the idea in The Jolly Postman – Delivering post to Cinderella! Also like your inclusion of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I remember reading it as a child and being intrigued by the illustrations. And, of course, Where The Wild Things Are, which is also a must-see film :)

  2. I know some of these, but not others, so I’ll have to check them out. Several months ago, I wrote “Book Arsenal I” and “Book Arsenal II” posts to give book recommendations too. I love coming across new finds for my seven-year-old and my students.

  3. Nice list Beth! I especially like the way you describe how the kids react to each book, and how parents can use them educationally. :)

    Olive, I just noticed that I can’t find a way to follow your blog. Oh, wait, I’m on your blog roll? Wow, thanks! Hey, that’s a great idea! I’m putting you on my blog roll as well, so I can peek at your blogging more often. ;) Thanks for the listing!

  4. @Róisín; it is a great choice of books. The Hungry Caterpillar is a great book and over 40 years later, it remains so popular.

    @Theresa; Glad that Beth’s list could be of help:)

    @Mariana; You’re welcome and thank you too!

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