I love books. I can spend hours in a bookstore. I have to admit though that I have a particular preference for the classics. By classics I don’t necessarily mean books that were written 50 years ago but rather books that have become a favourite staple on many bookshelves because they are exceptional.
Exceptional could mean that their themes are timeless. Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch, easily comes to mind. In this book Munsch celebrates the unconditional love of mothers as they pass through the various stages of their child’s development. His use of humour and sentiment have given us a book that every generation can relate to.
Children’s books that are exceptional often have beautiful images. Whether these are vivid photographs, lifelike drawings or artistic constructs, such as collages. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an artist’s dream. The beautiful black and white sketches fit the historical context of the story, creating an old world feel. And the sketching style supports the idea that inventions, like our lives, are works in progress and will undergo many revisions along the way to completion.
Lastly, which reader doesn’t appreciate the inclusion of witty and unusual elements. Children especially, have such a wonderful appreciation for humorous elements. One Monday Morning, by Uri Shulevitz is a perfect example of this. This book sits on my teacher shelf because it skillfully reinforces memory and discerning patterns. In this carefully crafted book playing cards come to life in an unusually humorous way.
It is certainly a sign of being exceptional when having read these books repeatedly with my son and my students over the years, that writing about them for this post still brings a smile to my face. Are there any titles of any "exceptional" children’s books which you may have come across?