Some books are just better than others. They have better illustrations, better production quality and better stories. There are good reasons to choose your children's books wisely:
- The repeat factor — Like best friends, your children's favorites will be identified and asked for over and over. It's not unusual for a 3-year-old to ask for the same book 100 times in a row. That's reason enough to make sure you choose books you enjoy reading.
- The memorization factor — Kids' memories are amazing. After five or so readings of a book, it's not uncommon for a toddler to have the story down cold. And it's not just the flow of words they catch, but the underlying message. Look for books that are consistent with your values.
- The reality check — Kids want stories that are based in real life. For example, big brothers the world over know the power of their little sister's whining. But that doesn't mean you have to concede the point that little sisters are annoying and the best you can hope to do is neutralize them. One of our favorite books, The Little Brute Family, describes a typical sibling relationship where brother and sister push and shove and punch and pinch their way to school. Though the telling may be exaggerated, most kids will see a bit of themselves in the book, and it's hard to miss the point that this family's existence in a "dark and shadowy woods" is far from sunny. And the ending is a refreshing antidote to sibling quarrels.