My Mama's Goodnight: This Week's 5 Picks!

This week's five best children's books for your little ones!

I was delighted to receive so many nice e-mails from folks and I was equally thrilled to get quite a few recommendations as well! Thank you so much! Keep ‘em coming! I’m always on the look-out for the best books and, while I’m quite literally that strange lady who lurks around The Storyteller in Lafayette reading children’s books by the hour, I’m always excited to hear about someone’s favorite children’s book –old or new, borrowed or blue.

And a special thank you to one reader who requested that I include age ranges for each of the books. Those are included as of this week but are by no means a required reading age for the books, but rather a general idea of which books are for younger or older children. As you all know, children of all ages can enjoy a variety of books either being read to them or to read on their own, so take all of the age guidelines with a teensy weensy grain of salt.

And, finally, thank you to my two sons who would now like to get a bit involved in this column of mine by giving a special award to their favorite of the five books per week. Readers, please forgive me in advance, for they have decided that this award shall be designated by giving that particular book “5 bootie shakes.” (Which they promptly performed with wild abandon…I told you to forgive me in advance.) Hence, be sure to be on the look-out for that. 

And with that, let’s begin!

Iggy Peck Architect

Written by Andrea Beaty

Illustrated by David Roberts

Ages 4-8

Few are the children who know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. I, at the age of 5, wanted to be a veterinarian. Then an archaeologist. Then a pediatrician. Then a librarian. (We’ll just gloss over the period in which I wanted to become a Canadian.) Iggy Peck, however, knows exactly what he wants to be: an architect. From the age of 2, he has been constructing buildings from whatever materials he could lay his hands on. Who could forget his tower made of dirty diapers and glue? But when his 2nd grade teacher tries to squash Iggy’s passion for building, you won’t believe how he changes her mind.  Andrea Beaty and David Roberts have created a delightful story in rhyme that will warm the hearts of readers young and old.



Written and illustrated by Deb Lucke

Ages 4-8

Do your children like boogers? Mine do. They even like the word “booger.” If you ever see my children and want to make them laugh, just say “booger” or even “nose” for that matter since that’s related to the aforementioned booger. So imagine my utter joy at finding Deb Lucke’s quirky and wonderful sinus-related Sneezenesia in which a little boy at the supermarket sneezes so hard he forgets his name. And with each sneeze, he loses a little bit more knowledge. Math equations…names of Presidents…they all come out of his schnozzola with each “achoo.” I don’t think I could have scripted a more wonderful book for my sons – knowledge as boogers. Tremendous. But how will he get the knowledge back? Sniff around and you may find out.


The Lonely Phone Booth

Written by Peter Ackermann

Illustrated by Max Dalton

Ages 4-8

Remember phone booths? Remember having to call your parents collect to come pick you up after track practice in high school because you couldn’t scrape together two dimes from the bottom of your backpack? Maybe that was just me…but for anyone who does remember the antiquated charm of the phone booth, Peter Ackermann’s adorable The Lonely Phone Booth is a rare treat. On a busy corner in New York City, sits a little phone booth who’s feeling rather neglected, what with all the cell phones he sees rushing by. But, could he find new life once an electrical storm renders the cell phone towers defunct? This story has a retro feel and rallies support for the little booth as city officials threaten to haul it off to the dump. Children will find themselves cheering for the booth – and you’ll remember when you used to close that folding door behind you and call home.



Written and illustrated by William Steig

This week’s winner of the“5 Bootie Shakes” Award

Ages 4-100

We all love William Steig. From Shrek to The Magic Pebble to Dr. DeSoto, dear Mr. Steig can do no wrong. And in the eyes of my two sons, his best work is, by far, CDB! – a collection of letter riddles and illustrations that are totally impossible to resist. CDB shows two children looking at a bee. Get it? C…D…B? See the Bee? OK. How about this one…a little boy watching a larger boy lick a delicious lollipop says “I N-V U.” Get it? I envy you? Now you’re getting to the brilliance that is Steig and the amazing time you and your children will have figuring out some of the harder ones.  For the adult crowd, the best is “D Y-N S X-L-N.” Let that one breathe for a while…



Mrs Piggle Wiggle

Written by Betty MacDonald

Illustrated by Hilary Knight

Ages 5-10

I’m feeling a bit sentimental today…and, as such, I’m bringing back an old favorite – Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald. Ooooo how I loved this series as a child. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle lives in an upside down house and smells like cookies and, thankfully for parents everywhere, has wonderful cures for every possible childhood lament. And we’re not talking about chickenpox or measles, here. We’re talking about cures for things like talking back and not picking up toys and selfishness. My favorite of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s infamous cures is for the girl who won’t take a bath. And the dirt just keeps accumulating on this beastly little child. So, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle instructs her parents to plant turnip seeds in the dirt on her face and watch them grow. They do just that and, surprise!, a bath is quickly accomplished. Young readers will delight in the whimsical and magical words of McDonald and illustrations from Hilary Knight of Eloise fame. And parents will love that someone finally has a cure for not wanting to go to bed.


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isabel Lau May 12, 2011 at 03:03 PM
The wine is excellent? I think I'm going to pick up the Steig book. Thank you for these recommendations.
Katie M. Zeigler May 12, 2011 at 08:32 PM
You are correct! The Steig book is great fun (for both adults and kids!)...Thanks for your kind comment! Looking forward to putting together next week's list!


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