Parenting victory: when my daughter loves the same picture books that I did

Julia Graeper  //  Jan 18, 2017

Parenting victory: when my daughter loves the same picture books that I did

One of the small pleasures of parenting is finding that my daughter loves some of the same picture books that I did as a child. It's rewarding both on some genetic level, but also feels as if saving these old books—that have cracked spines and a certain mustiness from my parents' basement—was entirely worthwhile.

My daughter has interests outside of mine—superheroes (and villians!), for one; she can work Blank Manta or Cyborg into casual conversation, or tell me which heroes can fly and which can't. But she also has a few favorite books that I loved as young child, and still love now.

I remember the exact moment when I first heard of Clifford. I was in first grade, and we were finishing up circle time, and my friend said, "I love Clifford books," with just the slightest competitive edge such that I felt I better figure out who this Clifford was, on the double.

Now my daughter and I love reading Clifford together. Among our favorites: Clifford's Manners (we're both really into the top hat illustration); Clifford's Halloween; Clifford's Happy Easter (we read seasonal books all year).

Another favorite? Richard Scarry books. (My parents loathed reading Richard Scarry aloud, but they did it for me, and do it again now for my daughter!). The order, cataloguing of the world, straightforward stories and meticulous illustrations really appealed to me when I was a kid. I always had the sense of, "Oh, that's how that works." Or, "That's what a mason is."

Together we read Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! and marvel over how Lowly Worm manages to wear worm underwear and a collared shirt. Other favorites are What Do People Do All Day? (read it to learn about masonry and plumbing!) and the title we read practically nightly, these days: Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World

Last, we've been reading William Steig. As a parent it's interesting to experience beloved books again through the eyes of an adult. Steig's books are witty, clever and strange, though I didn't get any of that as a child. My daughter loves The Amazing Bone these days, which is extremely weird (though charming!) and slightly ominous (just check out that cover).

At dinner the other night my husband and I talked about the early readers and chapter books we look forward to sharing with her later: on my list are Amelia Bedelia, the Ramona Quimby Series, Harriet the Spy and basically the complete works of Roald Dahl. My husband is all about Encyclopedia Brown.