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Last night the girl knew just what she wanted to read at bedtime. She ran out to the living room to dig in her book basket and came back with a copy of Make Way for Ducklings (which we’ll talk more about in a minute).
As we were reading, she asked why the drawings weren’t in color.
I said “because it’s a very old book.” I flipped to the front. “It was first published in 1941. It’s older than your grandparents! They didn’t make books in color back then.”
We actually have several favorites that are older books. Here are a few.
Make Way for Ducklings (1941)
I bought my copy of this book the summer I lived outside of Boston, because it’s kind of big deal up there. On my first trip to the city with a friend she asked if I wanted a picture with the ducklings statue. I said no because I didn’t quite know what she was talking about, but now I do.
This cute little story is about a pair of ducks looking for a place to raise their family. Out of options, they settle in Boston and have their babies on an island in the Charles River. Mama duck agrees to meet Papa duck back in the Public Garden, but to get there she’s got to cross busy city streets with her brood, and the help of a few of Boston’s finest.
Blueberries for Sal (1948)
Another great Robert McCluskey book is Blueberries for Sal. I didn’t grow up with this one, either, but my husband did. It’s about a little girl named Sal (she’s a bit of a tomboy) who goes to pick blueberries with her mother at the same time a bear cub and his mama go to eat blueberries.
It will make you wish you lived in Maine, or anywhere with easy access to wild blueberries. But maybe fewer bears.
Our copy of Madeline is actually a board book version that the girl picked out on one of our trips to the bookstore. I don’t remember reading it when I was a kid, and I’m sure I would have remembered it, because I had appendicitis when I was a kid, and so did Madeline.
The story is about a girl’s boarding school in Paris and the smallest girl, who is always getting into trouble, has to go to the hospital because of her appendix. It’s a fun one because you get to explain why the other kids are jealous when she’s in the hospital (and why going to the hospital with appendicitis is not nearly as much fun as it looks).
A classic story of loving things and people just the way they are, Corduroy tells the story of a teddy bear in a department store who is missing a button on his overalls. He goes searching for his button in the hope that someone will want to take him home, but in the end a little girl who likes him just as he is is the one to take him home.
Curious George Books (1941)
There are lots and lots of Curious George books out there. The original was written in 1941, and there have been tons of different versions, printings and adaptations since then. We happen to own a lot of them, including a copy of Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, the first Curious George story; The Complete Adventures of Curious George, which includes seven stories and runs more than 400 pages; Curious George’s Five-Minute Stories and a box set of board book stories.
The girl loves all of them. She watches George on TV almost every day. There’s just something fun about a monkey. And while some of the stories are painfully dated (George smokes a pipe, or sniffs ether) they’re still a lot of fun.
What “older” books do your kids love? I’d love to add to our list!