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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever was one of her picks.
This book was my daughter's choice night after night during the years from ages 3-6. The stories are all vividly colored, humorous, and reasonably short. They just suited her perfectly.
She would plead after each one, "Just one more story, Dad." (This was after her mother had read to her, as well.) I would read until I had almost no voice left. Eventually, we negotiated that she could pick two stories from this book, and if I was in the mood (and in good voice) we could go up from there. Otherwise, bedtime would have been delayed for hours!
If you don't know Richard Scarry, he has a wonderful, light sense of humor. He usually features intelligent animals, but in human-like contexts. This makes the moral of the story easier for the youngster to swallow, while making the story more interesting. For example, A Castle in Denmark is about the rules that you should follow in a castle (or a house) such as not leaving things on the floor where people can trip on them. Who else would have come up with such a wonderful way to help establish household rules?
The stories in the book contain all the elements needed in a preschool book, with lots of alphabet, numbers, socialization, and charming stories with important lessons attached. The book includes one of my daughter's all time favorite stories, I Am a Bunny by Ole Rison. This story was repeated like a mantra around our house by all four children. It is a great beginning reader story.
The stories vary in sophistication from simple ones to mini-mysteries involving detectives. My daughter especially loved the mini-mysteries.
Here are her favorite stories in the book (in the order they appear):
The Rabbit Family's Home
I Am a Bunny
Work Machines
Pip Pip Goes to London
A Castle in Denmark
Couscous, the Algerian Detective
Officer Montey of Monaco
Pierre, the Paris Policeman
The Country Mouse and the City Mouse by Patricia Scarry
Schtoompah, the Funny Austrian
From a value perspective, it is much less expensive to buy these stories in this form than to get them in the various Richard Scarry books. Of all the story books we bought for our children, this one was definitely the best value. I suspect it only cost about a penny per hour used. Running the television costs more than that!
Some readers have complained about the binding. Ours is a little loose in back after four years of hard use. For such a thick book, that's about par for the course. If your child is a hard user of books, you may want to get a new copy at some point.
After you have finished enjoying this book for the 4,317th evening in a row (if you have a large family), I suggest that you think about how these stories could be made even funnier by changing the context. For example, a castle in Denmark could become Cinderella's castle after she married the prince. What rules do you suppose Cinderella would have wanted to have? In this way, you and your child can exercise your imagination to have even more fun.
Take great stories and build on them . . . together with your child!
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on 10 June 2003
My wife and I both had this book as children and were overjoyed to see it still in print after all these years. Terrifically detailed colour drawings, lovely colours and fun stories. Sadly no Lowly Worm, or Huckle Cat in this book (I think they came a few years later), but the "Denmark Castle" with Ghosts putting sheets in the washing machine, squeeking mouse armour and dragons in the moat still make me laugh nearly 30 years later. Buy this book, your children will curl up with laughter, or just curl up with you as you read them the stories , nursery rhymes and poems.
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on 27 September 1998
My three children wore out two copies of this treasure. I'm now ordering a new one for my library so I'm prepared for visiting grandchildren.
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I had this book as a child and recently found it here on Amazon. It's a lovely hardback, full of Richard Scarry's gorgeous illustrations, and you can spend hours flicking through it. There are stories, Mother Goose rhymes, and pages of miscellaneous stuff, such as street scene with every vehicle identified (fire truck, sports car, bus etc.) allowing children to learn the words from the pictures. I bought this purely for the nostalgia, and it's wonderful. An adorable book for kids of any age, especially those of us who are returning to it after many years away :-)
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on 8 May 1998
This was my favorite book as a child, and is probably responsible for my prolific reading habits as an adult. I love giving this book to my friends when they have children. The pictures are wonderful, and the stories are memorable. Even today, I always look in the hollows of trees for Mr. Bunny.
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on 19 December 2013
I remembered this book from my childhood (~30 years ago!) and was thrilled to see a new edition was available.
The stories are all lovely and the illustrations of course make the book all the more memorable.
Only grumble is that my old edition had UK English spellings but this book has US English (American English) spelling. So, minus one star for that.
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on 4 May 2013
I origanally bought this book for my son when we lived in Cape Town and we wore it out. I have now bought it for his son who likes the illustrations and stories just as much. It is a good combination of education instruction and story telling. Although the book is inslightly smaller format having (I presume) been electronically produced it is still a great and will give years of entertainment. The book is exctly as I remember it except for one storey which is perhaps considered no longer acceptable or suitable which ended, 'and 25 jars of minced moosemeat'. I remember this well because i had to read it every night.
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on 7 June 2016
I have vivid memories of this book as a child. I was so excited to see that it is still in print so I couldn't resist buying a copy for my 2 year old. It is as good today as it was then. I love the variety in this book and my child loves it just as much. It is known as the "Lion Book" in our house now. The content and illustrations in this book are just delightful as well as insightful. Boys and girls alike will love to delve into this book again and again. It has something for everyone from the very small and beyond.
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on 29 October 2012
My children are now parents of preschoolers. We had this book, and others by Richard Scarry when they were little and they loved it. So I bought it for my grandchildren, and they love it. It has paper pages, not cardboard, so it's not for infants, but if you want to carry one story book rather than many small ones, this is great. It is American, so lorries are called trucks, etc.
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on 15 March 2013
I bought this book for holiday, trying to pack lightly. It is hardback but has a good number of stories within it, making it a good choice if you only have room for one book and want it to last a while. It was good for the whole weeks holiday bedtime reading.
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