Books, children, families

Reading at Breakfast

As I got up from the table this morning to carry my plate into the kitchen, I glanced back over my shoulder. Both of the littles are sitting at the table, their breakfasts half-eaten, absorbed in Little Golden Books. I’m not thrilled that they keep forgetting to eat, but I love, love, love the fact that my almost-four-year-old and two-year-old find books so delightful that they lose track of everything else.

(Apologies for the blurriness. The lighting in my dining room isn’t the best, and if I use the flash they both squinch up their eyes.)

These books I picked up at the Borders liquidation sale on Saturday. The girls had been so good about staying close to us through the crowds, and waiting for us to go through the rows of books in which there was little or no order, and besides, if Mamma and Papa are coming out with armfuls of books, shouldn’t they, too?
(Admittedly, most of the books I bought were preschool workbooks to use with Joy this fall, but I did pick up a couple for myself.)
Joy helped me pick the books out, because Grace was assisting Carl with all his philosophy books. Joy chose “Baby Farm Animals” and “The Jolly Barnyard,” and I snagged “The Color Kittens” because I remember reading that at my grandparents’ house and I want them to delight in it, too (Hush and Brush!).
My parents used to buy my sister and me Little Golden Books at the grocery store. Not every time, but frequently as a “just because” purchase. Our grandparents and aunts and uncles helped fill our shelves with more. So far, my littles have only gotten board book versions or some of my smaller ones that I’ve passed to them, so these were their first picked-off-the-shelf, carry-to-the-register, read-in-the-car-on-the-way-home Little Golden Books.
And I thrill to see them, even though they can’t read the words yet, already finding such happiness in these classic tales. I hope, in five to ten years, to have shelves full of Little Golden Books, just as I did when I was a girl. And maybe someday, they’ll have the delight of putting one of these very same books in the hands of their child and saying,
“I loved this one when I was little.”
Did you grow up on Little Golden Books? Which one was your favorite? I always love anything with illustrations by Eloise Wilkins. Does it give you a thrill to pass books that you loved as a child down to children now? Have you gone to Borders recently, and if so, did you find it as sad as I did?

11 thoughts on “Reading at Breakfast”

  1. Aww, your girls are so precious!It's so much fun to share books and stories that grew up enjoying with my kids. Mine are 8 and 6, and we're into reading chapter books–it's been great to relive some of my fave chapter books with them.

  2. Ooh, I'm so excited to get into the chapter book stage. I just found some Frog and Toad books that I bought when Joy was a baby and packed away. Really looking forward to her enjoying those! I suppose I'll have to teach her to read first, though …

  3. We love Golden Books at our house too. When our daughter was a baby, my husband bought every Eloise Wilkins book he could find :) as a way of wanting to share his own childhood with her. We read our copy of Poems to Read to the Very Young to such tatters that we had to get another copy (our binding broke). I still treasure both copies!

  4. My favorite Golden book was the Poky Little Puppy. I bought it again for my girls and they loved it, too. Borders is more manageable during the week. I went on a Monday morning and didn't have to wait in line.

  5. Beth – we have the Poems book in board version, just so our girls can take it to bed with them without us worrying about it getting torn. Wilkins' illustrations are so very precious.Kirsten – Oh, the Poky Little Puppy! Another true classic.

  6. My favorite Little Golden Book was The Monster at the End of this Book starring lovable, furry old Grover of Sesame Street fame. I was delighted when a friend gave us that book when my first son was born. I love the happy memories that classic books can trigger.

  7. Kristen, I love that one too. We have a very old, battered copy of that I picked up at a library sale, and that probably won't last more than a year or two once my littles discover it!

  8. I second Monster at the End, and for any fan of classic Sesame Street, Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree is another must-have. I just had to replace our copy because the boys wore it out.My favorite LGB as a child, though I remember very little of it now, was one called The Bear and the Boat. It was all in rhyme, and my mother says we both knew it by heart. In fact, she attempted to write it all out from memory a couple years ago, and got all but two stanzas in. I was able to supply the rest of one, but the other still eludes. There's a used copy of this book listed on amazon, but $75 is too rich for me, even to recapture my childhood. I do hunt for it every time I see LGBs in antique stores though (antique stores being, btw, a great place to find LGBs in good condition).

  9. I've never even heard of The Bear and the Boat, but now you know I'll have to look for it, too, every time I visit an antique store or flea market. I have only vaguest memories of the Cookie Monster book – probably because I never really liked his character as much as I did Grover's. My girls have yet to discover Sesame Street beyond a few books (one of our relatives did give them something Elmo for a Christmas present once, but it MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED on the way back home), so they do get slightly confused by all the different characters so far!

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