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Want to give your child a gift she'll treasure for years to come? Books are always appropriate holiday presents, whatever the age of the child. We asked our readers to send us their childhood favorites, and to tell us which books are hits with their own children. Not surprisingly, the classics top the list: Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and anything by Dr. Seuss or Richard Scarry.
Of course, that's not an exhaustive list. Our readers hold hundreds of other titles near and dear to their hearts. Read on to see what's sitting on the bookshelves of other families around the country.
"My favorite children's books – before I learned how to read – were any of the Madeline stories or a collection of Uncle Remus stories that my dad read to me every night. My daughter is almost 9 months old, and my favorite books for her are Goodnight Moon and a collection of nursery rhymes called Pussycat Pussycat: And Other Rhymes."
— Janet S.
"My favorite book as a child was the Panchatantra – a collection of Indian stories featuring various birds, animals, men, and women in delightfully written short stories, all of which have nice morals at the end. Today I read the same stories to our 6-month-old daughter."
"My son Wolfgang recently turned 2 and is halfway through the Winnie-the-Pooh series. Instead of reading to him in a chair, we read while he's in the bathtub. We thought he would enjoy hearing the story while he played and he does. If we don't take the initiative and start, he sits quietly and asks for 'Pooh' until we start reading."
— Janet W.
"Goodnight Moon is a classic, and was easily my favorite as a young child. As I grew older, I turned to The Velveteen Rabbit. Now that my husband and I are trying for our own child, the Beatrix Potter collection is foremost, as is Guess How Much I Love You, with the Nutbrown Hare."
"I loved The Monster at the End of This Book, starring Sesame Street's furry lovable old Grover. Another favorite was 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. My 9-month-old Raymond's favorites are The Monster and Peek-a-Boo!"
"My favorite book when I was small was A Fly Went By, by Mike McClintock. My dad would read it to me and he would skip pages and I would repeat the bits that he missed. I had it memorized. My brother and sister and I wore out two copies; it is a treasured memento. And my parents bought a new copy for my son when he was born."
"My favorite book that I had as a young child was the first one I learned to read. It was a Little Golden Book called We Help Mommy. It was a nightly ritual, when I was a preschooler, to climb up on my dad's lap and read this book before going to bed. I tried to get it for my daughter, but it is no longer in print."
"With my child, the first book I started reading to her was by Sandra Boynton, Moo, Baa, La La La! After her first birthday her favorite was Richard Scarry's collection of stories."
"My 17-month-old son really gets a kick out of the whole I Spy book series. He points to and names every object that he can recognize on each page, and even after we're done reading he insists on going back and poring through the book again. He also likes The Very Hungry Caterpillar. When we get to the last page where it turns into a butterfly, he makes its wings 'flap' by flapping the book pages together."
"My 15-month-old daughter's favorite books right now are interactive, like Dinosaur's Binkit, by Sandra Boynton. She loves to open the closet door and gasp at the surprise. And the classic Pat the Bunny. The first time I showed her how to smell the flowers, she dissolved into a fit of baby giggles."
"My favorite book when I was little was Make Way for Ducklings. It is set in Boston, where I used to vacation every summer. I can remember getting the book and being so excited because I had been to the Boston Common and had ridden on the swan boats. I took the book to show-and-tell in first grade and read it to the class."
"Favorite books as a child – there are too many to name! All the Richard Scarry books; The Berenstain Bears Big Honey Hunt; Go, Dog. Go!; Sam and the Firefly; any of the Frances books (Bread and Jam for Frances, Bedtime for Frances); and, of course, Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon."
"My son Alex loves Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He loves listening to me read the story, but most of all he loves hearing me count out the number of apples, plums, and other fruits the caterpillar eats through on his eating binge. Another favorite book that I love as a parent and a designer is Taro Gomi's Spring Is Here. It's a simple yet beautifully designed book that I love to read over and over. (I hope I still think that months from now when Alex is asking me to read it for the 127th time!)"
"As a child, I loved the "B" Is for Betsy series by Carolyn Haywood, and now that I have a little one, my favorites to read to her are Everywhere Babies and I Love You as Much. We've read them so many times that we can recite them – and we do, when we're traveling and the baby can't sleep!"
"A few of my favorite books: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Dr. Seuss's ABC, and Curious George. Our 17-month-old son loves anything you can sing to, such as The Bear Went Over the Mountain or I've Been Working on the Railroad. He also loves all of the Sandra Boynton books. One more favorite is The Big Red Barn."
— Scott and Patty
"Our favorite book is P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? We love to walk around asking each other, 'Are you my mother?' The best line in the book is, 'Oh, you are not my mother, you are a Snort!' That line never fails to bring a smile to someone's grumpy face!"
"My 9-month-old son Colin's favorite book is The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton. I've read it so many times that I have it memorized. Whenever Colin needs calming down or help going to sleep, I just whisper it in his ear. He also loves Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can Moo; all the strange sounds make him laugh. I'm sure as he learns to talk we'll enjoy this book even more."
"My daughter is now 13 months old and she loves to hear Time for Bed by Mem Fox. We received the hard copy as a gift and I had to go buy the board book when we went camping so we could read it every night!"
"My favorite book as a child was Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. It has been a wonderful book that has influenced my life. It made me appreciate my family for the sacrifices they have made for me. It was one of the first books I bought my daughter when she was born. I believe it has a wonderful message about loving and caring."