We’ve been working our way through the alphabet and compiling Letter of the Week book lists as we go. Here are some terrific books for the letter L.
Leo the Late Bloomer, by Robert Kraus
When I was in college, my professor told us to read this book to parents who were concerned that their children were not developing as quickly as they’d like. Leo is a sweet little tiger cub who can’t read, draw, write, or speak. His father is concerned, but his mother says, “A watched bloomer doesn’t bloom.” At the end of the story, Leo learns to do everything – in his own good time.
Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch
I think that people who read this book fall into two categories: those that think it’s so cheesy and far-fetched (and even weird or creepy) that they just don’t care for it, and those who tear up every time they read it. I don’t think of myself as a sentimental person, but I fall into the latter category. The story is about a mother and her son. The book takes us through the boy’s life: babyhood, the terrible two’s, the rebellious teens, and adulthood. On each page the mother gets her boy out of bed (while he sleeps) and sings the lullaby she sang when he was a baby. She even drives across town and climbs up a ladder to his room when he’s living alone. At the end of the book, she’s too old and sick to visit him. So he comes to her house and holds her. Then he goes home, picks up his sleeping newborn daughter and sings her the lullaby. Okay, I’m choking up as I’m writing this. Moving on.
Goodnight Lulu, by Paulette Bogan
This is a new one for us, and all my kids love it. Momma hen puts little Lulu to bed. On each page Lulu is afraid of another animal coming into her room, but her mother reassures her by telling her just what she’d do to any intruder. It’s cute and vibrant, but not my personal favorite. Aren’t baby chickens supposed to look like chicks, not miniature hens? I’m not sure why this bothers me in a book where chickens talk, but it just does.
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
This classic Dr. Seuss tale is a long one, but I don’t mind reading it again and again. The story tells about a man who destroyed a forest of Truffula trees for his own personal gain, despite the warnings of the Lorax. It’s an engaging lesson about taking care of our environment. It ends with hope for the future as the final Truffula seed is entrusted to a caring child.
Tawny Scrawny Lion, by Kathryn Jackson
This classic book (first published in 1952) tells of a lion who chases and eats all the other animals… but is still hungry and skinny. The other animals trick a rabbit into “talking things over with the lion.” But instead of eating the rabbit, the lion is won over by his sincerity and hospitality. At the end of the story, he’s jolly, “fat as butter,” and a vegetarian.
The Little Lamb, by Judy Dunn
If you don’t mind the dated photographs (70’s), be sure to share this sweet story of a little girl and her pet lamb. This was another childhood favorite of mine and was one of my daughter’s favorites when she was a toddler. Emmy, a little girl, agrees to take care of a motherless newborn lamb named Timothy. She feeds him with a bottle, makes dandelion chains for him, and plays hide and seek. But as Timothy gets older, it becomes clear that he belongs back on the farm. A beautiful story.
Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen
Here’s a newer book (2009) that deserves to become a classic. On the day a lion comes to the library, Miss Merriweather (a stickler for rules), isn’t sure what to do. The lion, anxious to stay, learns to follow all the library rules — until an emergency. He breaks the rules in order to carry out a rescue, and Miss Merriweather learns that there are times to break the rules, even in the library.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
In some ways, this is a book that shows children how not to behave. Lilly, a fun-loving mouse, is thrilled about school and loves her teacher — until he disciplines her for not doing as she’s told. She becomes angry and vengeful — drawing a mean picture and writing a hateful note. Later, however, she is sorry and makes amends. Kevin Henkes has written many books about little mice — personally, I am a big fan, but their length makes them more suitable for older preschoolers.
Lola at the Library, by Anna McQuinn
With its beautiful illustrations and simple storyline, this book is best for toddlers and young preschoolers. Young children who love books and the library will feel an instant connection to Lola and her love of literature.
Llama, Llama, Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney
This story will ring true for parents who are called back to their child’s bedroom too many times after lights out. In the end, Llama learns that sometimes his mother is busy, and he must be patient. The rhymes, fun pictures, and reassuring message combine to make this a favorite. “Mama llama’s always near, even if she’s not right here.”
The Listening Walk, by Paul Showers
In this colorful book, a father and child take a walk while listening to all the sounds around them. I think Paul Showers’ science books for kids are great, and this one is no exception. For my kids, it gets a bit long. But I hope you’ll give it a try at your house with more success!
Light, by Donald Crews
I had been familiar with Freight Train, by the same author, but this was a new one for me. I love it – so simple and so pretty! On each page is just one or two words and a picture of light: car headlights, light in the windows, glimmering lights on the bridge…. I recommend this for younger listeners. Finding it new might be tough — check your library.
Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
This is a longer book which might test the patience of younger listeners, but my kids enjoyed it. It takes you through the seasons as Buddy the bear’s mother teaches him the science of leaves. This is mostly nonfiction content set within a fictional story. I learned a few things myself!
Lost!, by David McPhail
I’m a big fan of David McPhail’s books because I adore the pictures and simple stories. In this one, a little boy finds a scared and confused bear who is lost in New York City. Together they find the bear’s home in the forest – at which point the boy discovers that he is lost, and his new friend promises to help him home.
The Line Up Book, by Marisabina Russo
Sam is being called to lunch, but instead of coming he creates a long line of toys all the way to the kitchen. His mother is exasperated until she sees what he’s done. She hugs him, tells him it’s terrific, and asks him to please come the next time he’s called. It’s a nice reminder for parents (me!) about patience and understanding without undermining the idea that children need to listen. A delightful story!
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