For a book that was originally published in 1964, Harriet the Spy, written by Louise Fitzhugh, remains remarkably relevant and readable. Nate Eagle, a designer for PBS KIDS Interactive and unabashed book (and movie and philosophy) aficionado, says this about his favorite children's book:
Harriet is one of the greatest characters in young fiction. She's a spy: insatiably curious and brutally honest. And she writes down everything she sees and thinks. When her notebook gets discovered by classmates, they banish her. Harriet has to wrestle with how and when to be honest, and how and when to compromise that honesty for the sake of friendship. Seeing Harriet pass through this gauntlet is heartbreaking in many ways -- the compromises of relationships are frequently painful -- but it's also movingly human. Above all, the story's a reminder of what tremendously complicated, fascinating inner lives all children lead, inner lives that adults sometimes forget or dismiss.
What is your favorite character from children's books? Or does Harriet take the cake?
Stay-at-home dad Charlie, a former library assistant, shares his love of books and music with his toddler daughter. His pick is This Jazz Man, written by Karen Ehrhardt and illustrated by R.G. Roth.
Charlie says, "My soon-to-be three year old and I have fallen for This Jazz Man, a clever riff on the "This Old Man" nursery rhyme (you know, "This old man he played one...") Karen Ehrhardt's lively text offers great opportunities for kid participation, and R.G Roth's beautiful collages, in a cool, "Mad Men"-era style, feature portraits of real jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Little capsule biographies of each of the musicians portrayed close out what is surely the grooviest counting book out there!"
Do you have a favorite book about music, or even one where the words just sound musical?
We have an artist to thank for this week's Show and Tale pick. Chris Bishop, painter and PBS KIDS Interactive Creative Director, is a long-time fan of the 1943 classic The Little House, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and winner of the Caldecott Medal.
Chris says, "My mother, Carol, was a teacher so we had many great books growing up. As I kid I loved the colors and fine detail of the illustrations of the changing world around the house. I think it's what made me become an artist."
What books have inspired you, either by the illustrations or the colors or style of the work?
If a garbage truck could talk, what would it say? Make friends with a smelly, sassy garbage truck with I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan.
Mom-blogger Laura's a fan: "A night in the life of an NYC garbage truck, including an alphabet of gross trash ('P is for puppy poop!'). My boy loves it. Also an eco message. Best book for an urban mom like me!"
What books with unexpected main characters do you love? Any other truck books to recommend?
Anything by Shel Silverstein is pure magic, but his classic The Giving Tree holds a special place on a lot of bookshelves. Today's pick comes from mom Leigh:
"I love the message of the book and sharing it with my own kids," Leigh said.
Is The Giving Tree a favorite of yours? What Shel Silverstein gems have stuck with you over the years? My favorite of his is Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I always think of the girl who wanted the pancake in the middle of a huge stack, and the wonderful welcome to the book: "If you are a dreamer, come in ..."