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    5+ Picture Books for Girls

    November 30, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    Mystie emailed me yesterday looking for ideas, and I think she made an important point. She said that there are lots of lists out there for boys. You know what? She’s right! I think that some of this is because, while girls tend to like books on the “Boy Book” lists, the reverse isn’t always true. My little girls love a good story about knights battling dragons, just like their brothers, but my sons aren’t fond of books about pretty dresses, especially if said dresses are accompanied by crying or other forms of deeply felt emotions.

    With that said, I don’t own lots of books that are easily classified as “Boy Books” or “Girl Books” because, frankly, I am far more interested in owning good books, and if a book is a good one, usually anyone–male or female, young or old–will enjoy the reading of it.

    But make a list I did, and I thought I’d share it here. I’m feeling rather list-y today, after all! Most of this list is actually featuring authors of sets of pictures books. Some of these authors produced more picture books than others, with, I think, Beskow {at the bottom} holding the most-published prize. My goal here was to pinpoint some lesser-known authors and books, which is why you won’t find the ΓΌber-famous {and rather obvious–like Barbara Cooney} here on this list.

    1. The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books by Maj Lindman. We own four or five so far; there are seven altogether. These are easy to read, so they double as early readers later on. Detailing the adventures of young Swedish triplets {before there was much in the way of technology}, my girls laugh away at the folly of baking a cake {and forgetting the timer} or helping a neighbor {while trying to keep their new dresses clean}.
    2. Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess and illustrated by Michael Hague. I am a huge Hague fan. Huge! This book of stories by Burgess is enjoyable as it is, but Hague makes it so, so beautiful. Mother West Wind is just gorgeous; very satisfying for little girls who like beautiful dresses.
    3. Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books. These are out of print, but easy to find in good used condition. Barklem’s ornate illustrations are a feast for the eyes of any child, but are especial favorites of my little girls.
    4. The Maple Hill Farm book by the Provensons. I don’t know about you, but my girls seem to enjoy animal stories more than my boys do. These books about farm life are also enjoyable for parents because, frankly, parts are hilarious. At least, I think they are.
    5. Books by Elsa Beskow. Elsa Beskow, not unlike Jill Barklem, has created a whole world in miniature, but while Barklem’s is populated by talking mice, Beskow’s is populated by tiny people and fairies. She also has a wider variety than Barklem, not limiting herself to this tiny world, but branching out into orphaned children, funny adoptive aunts, and various livestock and wild animals. Her illustrations are beautiful and her tales are interesting.
    What about you? What are your family’s favorite “girl” picture books?

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  • Reply Rahime December 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for another great book list!! Between the ones you listed and the treasures in the comments, I’ve added quite a few to our wishlists.

  • Reply A Contrarian's Way December 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    In our home, the Milly, Molly, Mandy Storybook by Joyce Brisley is at top of the list. It is a sweet book!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts December 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      I haven’t heard of that one! I’ll have to look it up. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Mystie December 3, 2012 at 5:16 am

      I’m starting a list for some good early readers for my soon-to-be-5 yo daughter, too. Something tells me she’ll prefer an option other than a stack of Henry and Mudge like my sons for reading practice. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Kansas Mom December 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Mystie, don’t discount “Frog and Toad.” My six year old daughter loves it. She laughs hysterically at every story.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      I was thinking that, KM! We ♥ Frog and Toad here. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Mystie December 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Absolutely. Frog and Toad is an essential to our family culture. πŸ™‚ By the time they get to reading, they’ve half-memorized Frog & Toad already, because we love them for read alouds. πŸ™‚ I like to keep some books exclusively for the early reading phase so I know they are reading and not guessing/memorizing. When my two oldest were in that stage just before reading fluency, they read 2-3 “I Can Read” readers from the library a day. I was very thankful for Cynthia Rylant at that stage. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kansas Mom December 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Tiffany, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed Least of All. My girls also love The Story of Ruby Bridges. (My 6 year old keeps it in her “secret” drawer.) We don’t have many other “girl only” books, but my son wasn’t too interested in Rapunzel (retold and illustrated by Sarah Gibb). My girls are currently obsessed with The Seven Silly Eaters, but my sons like it, too.

    • Reply Mystie December 3, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Oh, I don’t have any Rapunzel picture book yet, actually! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jen November 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    We love Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka too. =) I will have to check out the books by Elsa Beskow…don’t think we’ve ever read anything by her. Thanks for the list…I do always love a good book list. =)

  • Reply Tiffany November 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks! We love Brambly Hedge and Maple Hill Farm. I do wish the Beskow books were easier to find! Our enormous library system only has TWO and they are not even her most popular.
    I did a quick scan of my book shelves and easily picked out my three girls’ enduring favorites, the ones we still read year after year. My girls are 9, 8, and soon-to-be 6.
    The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
    Least of All by Carol Purdy (A Kansas Mom recommendation years ago and one of our very favorites)
    The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
    Hanna’s Cold Winter by Trish Marx (Not necessarily a “girl” book, but perhaps a bit sentimental for some boys.)
    Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Boden
    The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven
    A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno
    Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs (Perhaps not the same caliber as some of the others, but my girls love it.)

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Ooh! Thank you for this list. I haven’t heard of *most* of these, so I am about to add them all to my list of books to consider. I love having new books to add to that list! πŸ™‚

      I wish that the newer editions of Beskow’s books were miniature. I love having her pictures nice and big and the mini editions are not to my taste, though we do own a couple because that was all I could find…

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