One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

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This week’s featured title is . . .

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

Sal, her younger sister Jane, and parents enjoy their summer months at their seaside home in Maine. An ordinary day–which includes digging clams for supper and taking a boat to the nearest town for supplies–becomes exciting when Sal loses her first tooth, in more ways than one!

Robert McCloskey is a children’s book author with an excellent corpus. His endearing stories are pulled off the shelf by my children constantly and I enjoy reading them as often as I am asked.

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My children appreciate most McCloskey’s memorable and relatable characters, especially the older sister in One Morning in Maine, Sal. Much of the humor of One Morning in Maine is Sal’s reaction to the loss of her first tooth and how she attempts to make her “lost tooth wish” come true despite physically losing the tooth in a clam-filled mud pile. McCloskey understands the thought processes of a child so well it was no surprise for me to learn that Sal and her younger sister, Jane, are based on McCloskey’s own children.

Along with his excellent storytelling are McCloskey’s impressive charcoal illustrations. The illustrations in One Morning in Maine, in particular a double-page spread of Buck Harbor, are some of his finest work. When combined with the text’s vivid descriptions you can almost smell the sea air and feel the muddy sand on your fingers while Sal digs for clams with her father or the water splashing your face from the sides of their boat.

Another praiseworthy element of One Morning in Maine is the portrayal of Jane and Sal’s relationship as sisters. I am always pleased to find a book with a loving sibling interaction because my children imitate what they read. The final exchange between the two sisters—where Sal steps into the role of taking more responsibility for her younger sister—is the final note of the story, teaching a child that the milestones of life are opportunities for growth and maturity.

Longer than most picture books, I recommend this book for ages 4+. Children around this age also can begin to look forward to their first tooth falling out!

Other delightful books by Robert McCloskey:

Blueberries for Sal

Make Way for Ducklings

Lentil

Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man

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Read more about the life and work of Robert McCloskey here. I was delighted to learn that McCloskey bought live ducks from a local market to use as models for Make Way for Ducklings. He would observe them as they waddled around his studio!

Looking for more book recommendations? Access all of the booklists on the main menu or click here.

 

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Best Picture Books for Toddlers

My eldest daughter Lucy loved pulling books from the little shelf in our apartment living room as a toddler. She would sit with them tucked between her chubby knees and turn the pages continually. The books began to tear from her daily routine. My first instinct was to put them high where she could not reach them so they could be preserved for her future siblings.

It took me a few years–and two more children–to realize that often the best picture books are the ones that end up torn, taped, re-taped, and broken at the binding from being opened so many times. They are the ones that end up in my lap for the tenth day in a row with the words, “Mama, book?”

Lucy, 2015

Here is a list of books that have been beloved by my toddler-aged children (you better believe I have these memorized!):

Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes by Beatrix Potter, also Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Blue on Blue by Dianne White

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Corduroy by Don Freeman

Diggers Go by Steve Light

Freight Train by Donald Crews

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone

Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy Carlstrom

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

My First Counting Book by Lilian Moore

My First Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (poetry)

My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie

The Napping House by Audrey & Don Wood

1 is One by Tasha Tudor

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

A Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, and others in the “Mini Masters” series

Poems to Read to the Very Young by Josette Frank, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever by Richard Scarry

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa

Click here for a printable PDF booklist!


Which picture books does your toddler pull off the shelf again and again? Please share in the comments below.

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