Summer of Classic Books: New Classics

For some reason, I decided summer was a great time to set some goals. I can’t remember why, maybe because we are about as far away from January 1st and New Year’s Resolutions as we can get? That is my only real touchstone for goals, and it never seems to work out very well. So, summertime must be better, right?

Here are three books we recently read that I consider “new classics.” They are not very old, not old enough to be truly classic, but they all have that feel about them that they will be around for a long, long time.

gruffalo1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. I’m glad Finn is old enough to listen to books with more words in them now, because this one is wordy and brilliant. It has the rhyming text, the bouncy rhythm, the repeated phrases that are hallmarks of popular children’s stories. And it revisits the old trope of the trickster character in a new way. Finn has always been good at memorizing certain parts of his favorite books, but lately he has taken to reciting whole pages, with or without the book in his lap. Sometimes he will start telling the Gruffalo story while putting on his shoes or collecting up his stuffed animals. I always take this as a sign that the book is a hit.

pinkalicious2. Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. I thought this would be too girly for us. After all, the cover features a girl in a princess costume and the whole thing is pink, pink, pink. But, that’s not really the point of this book after all. The main character is, yes, a girl, but she comes across as a real person with ups and downs, instead of just another princessy girl in a fancy dress. Her little brother is a great character, too. I won’t spoil anything by telling you what color he turns at the end of the book, but you can probably guess. Finn asked to read this so many times before we had to return this to the library. Since this was a success, I think we are going to check out Fancy Nancy next. I keep seeing notices for Fancy Nancy parties at bookstores and stuff, so there must be something to it.

knufle bunny3. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. We have been great fans of this series for a while, but it took until recently for us to track down the first Knuffle Bunny. They didn’t have it at my local branch of the library, so we had to order it and wait for it to come in. (Can I tell you a secret? I love ordering books from the library almost as much as I love managing my Netflix queue.) Finn loved the drama of Trixie trying to explain what she wanted without having the words to use. I think even though he is really verbal now and often quite chatty, he still has moments when he can’t express what he wants, or he is misunderstood. I also love the design of the Knuffle Bunny books, the mix of photography and drawings. I really wish there were more children’s fiction books that featured photographs.

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