Welcome to the second installment of important children’s books over time! If you’re new, enjoy reading about well-known children’s books from 1976-1999, and check out the previous article detailing books from 1925-1975. New children’s books come out each day, but the older ones are just as good, and having the ability to read your favorites to your child is something special. Enjoy this list of six books to explore alongside your child.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985)
One of the most beloved children’s books of all time, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie follows a mouse that asks for a cookie and begins a cyclical tale of rhythmic lines that will prompt your child to “read it again!” Along with other mouse books, there are several other “If you give…” books that will entertain your child for hours on end.
Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond, the masterminds behind the books are NYT #1 Bestsellers, and have written many books together. Read by presidential families and children across America, grab this book from your local library or bookseller and ask your child what happens if you give a mouse a cookie.
Mouse Paint (1989)
What happens when you take three white mice fleeing from a cat and introduce them to red, yellow, and blue paint? That question is what Ellen Walsh explores in her book Mouse Paint as each mouse dips themselves into the colors and then each other’s paint, making secondary and primary colors. Mouse Paint was one of my favorites growing up, and I still remember it fondly.
This book is perfect for learning basic color combinations and learning about creativity alongside these three small mice who dip themselves and paintbrushes into the assorted colors. Explore more topics with the three mice in Walsh’s other books Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (1989)
When all the letters of the alphabet decide they are going to climb a coconut tree, the end result is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. With easy-to-remember rhymes, children and parents alike will be able to recite this fun book that has captivated American readers for nearly thirty years.
Bill Martin Jr. also wrote another book in this universe – Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 where numbers race up an apple tree in a similar funny rhyme. My mother still loves saying Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to this day, showing that this book impacts parents the same way as their children.
Formed from the literal interpretations of children, Parts by Ted Arnold explores a child losing certain parts of his body (snot, peeling skin, belly button lint) and becoming convinced that he is falling apart! Though all of his ailments are quite normal, kids will be rolling in laughter by the end of this cleverly illustrated book.
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A Bad Case of Stripes (1998)
I still remember the first time I read A Bad Case of Stripes when I was a child. Not only did I love the story about accepting who you are, but the illustrations were so vivid that you couldn’t look away.
Poor Camilla Cream loves eating lima beans, but she never ate them in fear of being outcasted by her friends. Instead, she catches a bad case of stripes and it becomes so bad that doctors see no cure…except for a little old woman who knows just the trick. Once Camilla eats the lima beans, she returns to normal and never again denies a chance to eat her delicious lima beans.
Giraffes Can’t Dance (1999)
Poor Gerald the giraffe cannot seem to dance – his neck too long, his legs too thin – and all the other animals around him can. Thus begins the book Giraffes Can’t Dance where readers see warthogs waltzing, chimps doing the cha-cha, and lions perfecting the tango, all while Gerald looks on in despair.
Then he gets advice from an unlikely friend who is a cricket, and learns how to dance to his own tune and soars across the sky in his own form of dance, impressing the rest of the animals. This story is perfect for those children who have big dreams of becoming something great, as well as for those who love reading about animals.
These are just some of the children’s books published during 1976-1999, but all of these have impacted millions of readers in a way that will continue for years to come. If you’d enjoyed exploring this time period of children’s books, check back in the future for articles concerning 2000 and 2001-2010 to get the full range of children’s books.