Books Your Kid Should Read

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

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Little Bear

09 September 2008

Little Bear
by Else Holmelund Minarik
Illus. Maurice Sendak

Ah, Little Bear. I think these were the first books I ever read to myself, when I finally learned to read at age 6. But I'd fallen for their charm quite a bit earlier. Minarik's simple stories of a bear, his family and his friends are enduring because of their classic themes of friendship, family, and imagination. The books are now a popular animated series on Noggin, but I hope it goes without saying that there's no comparison to the books. Minarik's lifelike rendering of Little Bear as a determined, inventive, outgoing young child will ring true to both parents and toddlers, and if the stories are old fashioned, it's only in the best sense of the word. Sendak's illustrations delightfully capture the ambiguously late-Victorian era of the tales (I believe the technical term for the setting would be "long ago" or "in olden times"), and overall the books are the kid's lit equivalent of snuggling up in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea.

Also recommended: Father Bear Comes Home (1959), Little Bear's Friend (1960), Little Bear's Visit (1961), A Kiss For Little Bear (1968)