When my mom and I moved to San Francisco I was four and couldn't yet read. We were staying with friends while looking for an apartment, and in that time most of our belongings were in storage. That meant that most of my books were in storage. My mom bought this book for me, and it was basically the only book I had for at least a month. What did that mean? It meant that at least once a day, sometimes twice, my mom had to read it to me. Over and over and over. Poor mom, she probably could quote it by heart even now, 32 years later. It tells the story of Elizabeth as she goes through hospitalization for a ruptured appendix. Its a great book to teach kids about what goes on in a hospital. I don't know if I'd have the patience to read it day after day though. To get relief my mom also read aloud A Tale of Two Cities to me, which was super exciting but the injustice of the wrong man going to the guillotine was such a travesty to me that I never forgot it.
Elizabeth Gets Well by Alfons Weber, M.D., ©1970, Thomas Y. Crowell Company; New York.
The next book is one that I checked out of our local library when we were living in Albuquerque. I might have only read it once, but the illustrations stuck with me for years, haunting me until I finally had to track it down. It was difficult, because although I remembered clearly that the book was about a monkey who escapes from the zoo and ends up at a department store (among other locations), I was convinced the monkey was named Horatio. (And was a monkey, not an orangutan). I finally figured it out and bought an old copy for my collection.
Where's Wallace? Story and Panoramas by Hilary Knight. ©1964, Harper & Row, Publishers; New York, Evanston, and London.
Turns out that the same illustrator was responsible for the pictures in a later series of favorite books too. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, who used magic to teach kids important moral lessons, such as lying is bad.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic, by Betty MacDonald, pictures by Hilary Knight. ©1949 text and 1957 illustrations, J.B. Lippincott Company; Philadelphia and New York.
And finally, this book is representative of a genre of deductive illustration books that I really loved. Short mystery stories with clues offered in highly detailed illustrations. I also loved books about gangs of kids who had adventure clubs, invented things, solved mysteries, etc. Trixie Belden, Harriet the Spy, and more.
The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang, by Hans Jurgen Press. ©1976, Scholastic Book Services; New York.
I loved many more books than this of course, but I can't feature them all! If you were going to gift a friend with great children's books from your favorites what would it include?