Yertle the Turtle is celebrating its 50th anniversary this holiday season, and children everywhere are wanting presents. Hmm…coincidence? Never! Although books are falling out of fashion, parents and relatives should not abandon the idea of giving any at Christmas. Otherwise something priceless would be left behind. In the case of Yertle the Turtle, it’s the burp that dethroned a power-hungry king.
But maybe it’s more. For my stepmom, Yertle the Turtle is the memory of her father reading this story at cocktail parties when she was a little girl. It was his grand voice relishing in the cadence and rhyme. It was the great smile that crept across his face when he read, “For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond, / Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!” For her, this Dr. Seuss story has carried great importance even into her fifty-something adult life. And I’m sure she is not alone.
My story was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I understand this story so much differently now than I did, and re-reading it gives me the urge to call my mom.
Some top ranking children’s books being sold this holiday season are:
A River of Words by William Carlos Williams
We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson
Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin
And some more here and here.
Some fabulous classics worth revisiting for the new generation:
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
any Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
and of course you can never go wrong with Seuss or Silverstein.
We all have classic stories that made us laugh as children and cry as adults (in the best sense). These small, simple tales are worth passing on to our children, in hopes they too grow up in a world where “the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free / As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”