It is always such fun for me when I introduce some of my favorite childhood books to my own children. I love to watch their reactions to the stories and illustrations to see if they like them as much as I did. My childhood favorites include several books by husband-and-wife team Audrey and Don Wood, classics that have withstood the test of time and are sure to delight readers for generations to come!
The Napping House, written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood.
“There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping…” So begins the sweet story of The Napping House. The readers follow along as, one by one, each cuddly napper is woken from their sleep. There is a soft repetition to the story that encourages children to join in on the familiar phrase at the end of each stanza. Most fun of all are the dreamy illustrations that bring the words to life on each page. Children of all ages will enjoy searching each picture to track the movement of the little flea whose journey ends everyone’s peaceful slumbers. The Napping House is published by HMH Books for Young Readers and recommended for ages 4-7 years.
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood.
“’Help! Help!’ cried the Page when the sun came up, ‘King Bidgood’s in the bathtub, and he won’t get out!’” What happens when a playful king refuses to leave his bath? This story chronicles the well-meaning efforts of the king’s court, as each attendant attempts to lure the king out. Instead, they all wind up soaking wet after a dunk in the tub. The amazing illustrations detail a water-logged battle, full course meal, fishing trip, and even a masquerade ball, as the king refuses any invitation to exit the tub. The story is silly enough to entertain every child, but the illustrations are absolute works of art, with each adventure and expression worthy of the reader’s detailed attention. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub is published by Harcourt Books and is recommended for ages 4-8.
Elbert’s Bad Word, written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Audrey and Don Wood.
One day at a fancy garden party, young Elbert hears a bad word. He grabs it out of the air and sticks it in his pocket. But the bad word won’t stay hidden, and when a series of unfortunate events results in a mallet dropped on Elbert’s toe, the bad word screams out, “bigger and uglier than before,” shocking every guest there. Elbert’s mother makes him wash his mouth out with soap, but Elbert knows the bad word is still lingering, and something more must be done. Determined, he seeks out the assistance of the gardener, who also happens to be a wizard. The gardener gifts him with a different, but equally effective set of strong words to replace the bad one. Will it be enough for Elbert to lose the bad word forever? Elbert’s Bad Word is a fun way to discuss “bad” words with young children. They’re sure to giggle at the colorful vocabulary Elbert finds to replace his bad word: “Rats and blue blazes! Suffering cats! Blistering hop toads!” and more. Elbert’s Bad Word is published by Voyager Books, recommended for ages 4-7, and does not include any actual bad words.
Jennifer S. (she/her) is a graduate of Fresno State University. She spent a number of years working for non-profits before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mother. She currently lives in Central California with her husband, two children, and two codependent cats.