I have never been a fan of Disney's Cinderella. She is too sickeningly sweet and very passive. Plus, the romance is really hard to buy. I mean, how can a man fall in love in a couple of hours and fail to ask the woman's name? Did the Prince even talk to her while they danced? Anyway, my sister and I have issues with princess stories because they typically revolve solely around the princess' beauty, not her intelligence or sparkling personality. Here is the antidote to that. Cinder Edna pokes fun at the traditional Cinderella story and teaches some good morals (like self-reliance). It is witty and just refreshingly clever. I especially like that Cinder Edna's love interest is really into recycling and that Edna took the bus to the ball. And it is not just for girls. Danny has loved this book for a while now.
Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
I love almost anything by Kevin Henkes. He peppers his books with little jokes for parents to smile over, while also telling fun stories with fanciful characters. His books also always teach a good lesson for kids in a very accessible way. Julius is about Lilly (from Lilly and the Purple Plastic Purse, another favorite of ours) who is about to have a baby brother. The book chronicles her feelings while she adjusts to the new baby which range from total detestation to acceptance and love. The book is really funny.
Sector 7 by David Wiesner
I discovered David Wiesner in grad school, years before I ever had kids. In one of my education classes, my professor regularly brought in great books that he wanted to share with us. Sector 7 is a Caldecott winner and is a very unique book. There are no words, it is purely a picture book. The pictures are amazingly rich with detail and you can tell the entire story by studying them. Wiesner tells the story of a young boy on a field trip to the Empire State Building, who meets a cloud. The cloud takes him to Sector 7, which happens to be a sort of cloud factory. Since the boy is an artist, the clouds decide he would be the perfect one to redesign their images. They are apparently tired to death of the boring cloud shapes they always take. They really shake things up when they take on the forms that the boy designs. One of the great things about this book, besides the beautiful pictures, is that Danny can tell the story himself. It really trains kids to look for details and use their imaginations. I am constantly noticing new things in the illustrations.
Tuesday by David Wiesner
This is another great one by David Wiesner. (Really, you can't go wrong by him!) Like Sector 7 this has few words to it, actually the only words are those that tell you the day and time. In Tuesday for some unknown reason, frogs miraculously become able to fly one Tuesday night. The book shows all that happens that fateful night and it is really delightful, full of adventure and danger. Again, it is full of funny details.
Well, these are just a few books that I love. I know there are plenty more great ones out there. Please share with me any that you love and let me know if you check any of these out. I'd love to hear what you think of them.