Sunday, May 27, 2018

Introducing the Classics to Babies

classics for kids
Aesop's Fables and Morning Tea
I want my home full of the best books.  But more, I want to be full of the best books. I also want that for my children.

Whereas last post was all about top 100 picture books for kids, which included many contemporary classics and books that will likely feature in pop culture and educational references, this post is all about the classic classics. Those ideas and stories upon which our society is built - even the Disney movies, the ultimate test of ideological and cultural staying power!

So - read War and Peace to your children to get them to go to sleep? Possibly not. But I've found a few ways to get the real thing into my children's minds and would love your ideas, too. Here goes:

1.  Read classics to them over dessert or tea, after a meal but at the table. When we aren't rushing out the door in the morning, I've started to read a Fable or two from Aesop's Fables, pictured above (which I got at the dump!).  They love herbal tea, and I hope that, like Pavlov's dog, they will love the classics we are reading by association.

I've also tried to add a classic fairytale to the dinner time routine. Once the mom demands have subsided somewhat, I reach for the real deal-Grimm's or Hans Christen Anderson compilations in these Barnes and Noble classic editions pictured below- leather bound,  beautifully illustrated, and eminently affordable!

Right now, we are reading the Nightengale.  Before we watched Sleeping Beauty the other night, I read the classic version (what they like to now call the "real" version), then the Disney, then they watched the Disney cartoon.

2. Buy classics that were originally designed for wee ones.  The original Mother Goose is pretty amazing - many rhymes and poems and principles which we refer to all the time.  Did you know this is where the original "early to bed early to rise" mantra comes from (see Cock-Crow below)?  I also found a principle from Aesop's that we had just read - that "birds of a feather flock together" - incorporated into a Mother Goose Rhyme.  I'm sure this nicety was lost on my kiddos, but maybe someday, they'll understand the ideological descent of such platitudes!

I also collect early editions and books in their original small size, as my kids love love the little books - yours?  Here are a couple of my favorite. I think the illustrations look so much better when printed in their original setting, no?

3. Books on CD in the car 

I currently have a grossly overdue set of "The House at Pooh Corner" in the car, which has memorized my kids for endless hours and kept fighting and whining at bay (and surprisingly entertained me - I never knew how funny Eyore was!). They now know the difference between the "original" or "real" version and the Disney stuff, and love all of it.

That's all my ideas - what are yours?

Happy reading! 

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