Beautiful, Unusual Children’s Books

So, trying to revive this, again, now that I have more time on my hands.

Because a friend just asked me for some children’s book suggestions, and I have received this question a lot. Here are some kid’s books that I think are utterly gorgeous, hilarious, brilliant, touching, creative, or all of the above. I’ll try to put a reading level next to each, and I’ll be excluding anything higher than the reading level in Nate the Great. Perhaps I’ll do a juvenile literature and young adult post later, if anyone likes this.
And so, here is the first:

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, Illustrated by Arnold Lobel photo most-young2_zps872a285c.jpg

Miss Suzy is a family favorite, and the copy my parents have at their home is worn and taped up and battered. Just like any well-loved book. The story is about a squirrel called Miss Suzy, whose home is stolen by red squirrels and who is forced to live Snow White style in a dollhouse inhabited by toy soldiers. The illustrations are simple but beautiful, and the story praises simplicity and friendship. Miss Suzy loves her home, even more than the fancy doll’s house, and I remember as a kid really falling in love with her treehouse, as well,and being genuinely sad when the red squirrels kicked her out. How can you not feel for this? They even made her drop her cake! (Childhood holding-back-tears happened around this point, every time.)

 photo suzy2_zpsccaddc6c.jpg

Now, some people have criticized this book because Miss Suzy doesn’t *spoilers? I guess?* take back her own house from the squirrels. To that I said, please. You miss the whole point. Miss Suzy is a lover, not a fighter. She’s not a soldier. And, in the end, it’s her love of the toy soldiers that really saves the day. The soldiers don’t even fight the squirrels, they just scare them off because… well, honestly an animated army of dolls IS pretty scary. Just watch one of the Puppetmaster videos… Miss Suzy can’t and should not be scary because she stands for all the simple, happy things of childhood, like eating cakes and staying in a treehouse and watching the stars.

 photo misssuzy_zps871e9f77.jpg

That, right there, was what I wanted to be as a kid. I still basically do.

Reading level: pre-K and up. I don’t know if it comes in board book editions.

Available for purchase here: http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781930900288-0

 

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