Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 74: Counting Our Way to Maine

It's official… we leave tomorrow for our Maine vacation!  Maine is one of my favorite places on the entire planet, and I just can't wait to get there.   As the sign says when you cross the state border, it's "The way life should be!"  6 days on Long Lake followed by 3 days in Boothbay Harbor (over my birthday at the place where we got married) = vacation perfection.  Lobster, kayaking, listening to loons on the lake calling out at night, more lobster, the crisp ocean breeze...  Aaaahhhhhh......  For those of you who have been to Maine, you'll read this story and immediately want to go back.  If you haven't been to Maine, don't worry -- this is still a fun, summer story that will make you nostalgic for great family vacations of the past.  As its title implies, Counting Our Way to Maine is a counting book (it goes up to 20), but it's so much more than that.  Any parent who has ever packed up children and gone on a road trip is sure to appreciate Maggie Smith's delightful choice of events along the way.  "For our trip to Maine this summer we packed one baby, two dogs, and three bicycles... We had to stop for the bathroom six times!  When we were halfway there, we stopped again and ate seven ice creams."  The counting continues with sandcastles, lobster pots, buoys, clams, mosquito bites, and of course, blueberries!  The illustrations are detailed and charming, and we just love counting along with the family throughout their vacation.  Be sure to look at the illustrations inside the front and back covers, too, that recap all twenty highlights of the trip.  Time for me to get packing!  Maybe I'll start by putting this great story in our book bag.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 73: Pinkalicious

Our house is full of many stereotypical "boy" things -- mainly cars, trucks, and trains.  It's not unusual to find a big fire truck in our bathroom, a tractor trailer in our kitchen, or a monster truck driving over a pile of other innocent cars and trucks in the middle of the living room floor.  I swear that this fascination with all things wheeled is inherent in the Y-chromosome.  It's not as though we ever said, "Here you go.  You're a boy.  Play with this truck."  It's amazing.  Consequently, we have many books about various vehicles, some of which I've already featured here.  No doubt there will be other such books to come on this blog, but I worry sometimes that I'm not posting enough stories for the girls out there.  I'm sure this will get easier as my daughter gets older, and for the most part, I think that many of our favorites are loved by boys and girls, alike.  So today, I'm happy to feature a great book that I know will be loved by little girls (especially the fairy princess types) and hopefully little boys, as well:  Pinkalicious.  At a recent library visit, we were just about to pack up and go when my son came running over with this story.  "Let's get this one!" he exclaimed.  (I'll admit, I thought it was pretty great that he picked out a book that didn't have trucks or animals on the cover.)  We brought it home, read it during lunch that afternoon, and instantly loved it.  We must have read it six times in a row.  Pinkalicious loves pink, pink, pink!  And one rainy day, she makes a big batch of pink cupcakes with her mommy.  After eating a few too many, she wakes up in the morning to discover that she has turned pink herself!  It's a cute, silly story about all things pink (I love the peonies best), but most of all, just being yourself.   How does Pinkalicious manage to get herself back to normal?  The cure is bound to make you smile.  Complete with glitter and more pink than you could ever dream of, Pinkalicious is a great read for any preschooler.  Even if you have a boy as truck-obsessed as mine, look for this one and read it with him.  You might be pleasantly surprised at how much he loves it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy birthday, Eric Carle!

Happy Birthday, Eric Carle!

We've thoroughly enjoyed celebrating this amazingly wonderful author all week, reading many of our favorite Carle books, eating our own caterpillar snacks, and attempting our own collage art.  We've also been honored to be a part of the Eric Carle Link-Up created by our friends over at An Amazing Child.  If you're looking for tons of fun, crafty, creative ideas, check out some of these fabulous links below. 

Oh, and if you live in the area and are interested in visiting the Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, check out Groupon today.  They are offering admission for two for only $9 (an $18 deal) and 15% off purchases in the gift shop.  We can't wait to get there ourselves!

Thank you, Eric Carle, for inspiring creativity and a love of reading in so many children around the world.  We wish you the happiest of birthdays and many more to come!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 72: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Of all of Eric Carle's fabulous titles, this one might be the most famous of all.  What child doesn't absolutely adore the story of the hungry little caterpillar who eats his way through the days of the week?  This story has just about everything you could ask for in a children's book.  It's educational (we learn about the metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to butterfly, the days of the week, and even that eating too much junk food gives you a stomach ache!), is fun, tactile and interactive (with little holes chewed through each piece of food, just perfect for little fingers), and is full of simple, bold, colorful illustrations.  My son can't wait to turn each page to see what the caterpillar eats the next day, anxiously awaiting Saturday and its glorious selection of treats.  My daughter loves staring at the bright pictures and is always sticking her fingers into the little holes.  I also love that the book is conducive to so many other creative activities, from food and science to arts and crafts.  We had to make a caterpillar fruit plate for dessert tonight to ward off the requests for "chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a lollipop, a slice of salami, and a cupcake!" Carle is a master of engaging little minds and readers of all ages, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is definitely one of our favorites.  Oh, and if you do not yet own the book and are interesting in buying it, we highly recommend the lap board book edition.  In my opinion, it is much better than the smaller board book version and makes reading a fantastic book even more fun.  Enjoy!

Day 71: From Head to Toe

From the time my son was an infant, he was fascinated by Eric Carle books.  We had received Brown Bear, Brown Bear as a baby shower gift, and given how much he loved it and others in that series, I set out to our local bookstore one day to buy a few more of Carle's wonderful stories.  One of the titles we brought home that day was From Head to Toe, and it has been a favorite ever since.  I especially love this book now because it is one that both of my children (ages 3 1/2 and 11 months) love to read together.   Babies love Carle's bold, simple illustrations, and the repetition of the verses is great for emerging readers, too.  "I am a penguin and I turn my head.  Can you do it?  I can do it!  I am a giraffe and I bend my neck.  Can you do it?  I can do it!"   Both my son and daughter particularly loved the seal page, and it was the first one each of them imitated.  "I am a seal and I clap my hands.  Can you do it?  I can do it!"  I just love watching my little girl happily smiling in delight as she claps her hands along with the story, just as her big brother used to.  Even better is when he reads it with us, waving his arms like a monkey and dancing around to the book while his little sister laughs and encourages him to be even sillier.  Fun, engaging, and interactive, From Head to Toe is another fabulous must-have for any child's library.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 70: The Very Lonely Firefly

The beloved Eric Carle turns 82 this Friday, June 25th, so we'd like to dedicate this week's selections to him.  He has authored and illustrated so many fabulous titles that it is really hard to choose which we love best, and given that there are over 60 titles that bear his name, there are still many we have not yet read.  Of course, we've already featured one of our absolute favorites, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? back on Day 7, which was also his very first book.  But today, on this first day of summer, I thought we'd feature a more seasonal favorite, The Very Lonely Firefly.  Sadly, we don't see many fireflies where we live in Massachusetts, but we saw some last weekend while visiting my family in Connecticut and they were beautiful.  As a child, I used to love going out at night and catching them in jars, completely mesmerized by their glow.  What fascinating little creatures!  My children love Carle's classic about the lonely little firefly who is searching for his friends.  He spies many other sources of light in the night -- a candle, a flashlight, a car's headlights -- before finally finding a group of fellow fireflies.  Carle's illustrations are unique, as always, with an interesting blend of colors to create wonderful nighttime scenes.  My son particularly loves the pages with the family car and the fireworks, and obviously the very last page is our absolute favorite of all.  What child doesn't immediately fall in love with those twinkling lights and want to see them again and again?  I love how we can see the lights flashing through on the second to last page, too -- it makes us even more excited to turn the page and get to the end!  I don't particularly care for the dialogue going on within the pictures so sometimes leave that part out, but it can be a fun conversational element for older children.  We received this book as a hand-me-down, and miraculously, those little lights are still going strong.  If you're looking for a great bedtime story to read on a summer night, try The Very Lonely Firefly.  Those little flashing lights are bound to bring a twinkle to your child's eye.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 69: I Love My Daddy Because...

I hope all of your fabulous dads out there had a wonderful Father's Day!  In honor of you and your special day, I thought it only appropriate to feature our favorite Daddy book, I Love My Daddy Because... I featured its sister story, I Love My Mommy Because..., around Mother's Day, and we adore this one for the same reasons.  The illustrations of the different species and their babies are beautifully done, and I just love how the story shows animal fathers caring for their young.   "I love my daddy because he plays with me.  He keeps me safe and warm (emporer penguin and chick)... He is big and strong (bald eagle and chick)...  He takes naps with me (lion and cub)...  He makes me laugh (chimpanzee and baby)... He helps me reach things (giraffe and calf.)"  I also like that the proper names of the animals and their babies are featured on each page.  This is another great book for babies and preschoolers, alike, and both of my little ones just love reading it.  We gave this book to my husband for his first Father's Day, but it is a favorite in our house all year round. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 68: How Rocket Learned to Read

Meet Rocket:  a cute, cuddly, black and white dog who loves chasing leaves and napping under his favorite tree.  As he settles in for a good nap one day, a little bird lands on a branch nearby and declares herself to be his teacher.  He tries to argue that he is only there to sleep, but the persistent bird continues, encouraging Rocket to be her student.  He ignores her at first, but he soon finds himself drawn in to the story she is reading aloud about a dog who has lost his favorite bone.  Soon enough, Rocket is returning to the bird's classroom by the tree every morning, hoping to learn to read for himself.  Together, Rocket and the little yellow bird sing out the sounds that letters make and piece them together, from the GRRRRRRRR of Mr. Barker's growl to the WHHOOSSHHHH of the wind.  Then, it's on to words that describe the world around them, such as the R-E-D leaves and the cool, crisp weather of F-A-L-L.  As the seasons turn, the little bird flies away for the winter, leaving her star student to keep spelling and reading on his own until she returns.  "Don't forget!" she reminds him.  "Words are built one letter at a time!"  Rocket practices all winter, anxiously waiting for the return of spring and his teacher so that they may read together once more.  How Rocket Learned to Read is a perfect book for any child who is venturing into the glorious world of reading independently.  I just love the way Tad Hills brings Rocket and the adventure of reading to life:  letter by letter, sound by sound, one word at a time.   I love the way he engages Rocket with a story for the first time, going from uninterested, to curious, to captivated.  I love how he realistically depicts learning to read as a journey that takes time, not something that one can learn to do overnight.  And I love little details about the book, like Rocket's expressive face and the fact that the alphabet is described as wondrous, mighty, and gorgeous.  My son just adores this book, too.  He loves the cute little dog, of course, and definitely shares Rocket's curiosity about letters and reading.  My son spells out words everywhere we go and asks what they spell -- in the store, in the car, with his foam letter in the bathtub -- and just loves spelling along with Rocket as we read.  (He was so excited to know the name E-M-M-A the first time we read this.)  He loves little things about this book, too, like the fact that a lilac bush is mentioned in the story.  Every time we smell lilacs outside, he smiles and exclaims, "Lilacs!  Just like in Rocket!"  We have a great, interactive version of this book on our ipad, as well.  How Rocket Learned to Read is a fabulous story that we are bound to read again and A-G-A-I-N.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 67: Where Is Baby's Birthday Cake?

My daughter's newest obsession is lift-the-flap books.  She's ten months old now and loves getting into everything!  Opening boxes, emptying bags, taking every book out of the bin… so I'm not surprised that her curious self loves seeing what lies behind the flaps.  Her current favorite is Where is Baby's Birthday Cake? by Karen Katz.  We probably read this book at least 10 times in a row every night before bed, and looking for that birthday cake never gets old.  Katz has many similarly themed titles in her Baby series, but this is the only one we happen to own.  My son received this as a gift on his first birthday and it was an immediate hit.  The colors are bold and bright, but what my kids love most of all is the glittery, sparkly pictures on each page.  Its pages are not quite as thick as some of the other board books we have, but I will say that the book and the flaps have held up surprisingly well after many, many reads.  It might seem a bit silly, but another little thing I like about this book is the fact that the flaps open in different directions. I can almost feel my daughter's brain working as she plays with and explores this book. I just love it when that happens! This is another book that my son enjoys reading to his little sister, which always makes my heart melt a little bit.  If you're looking for a good first birthday gift for a child or are just looking for a fun new book to read with your baby, we definitely recommend this one.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 66: Miss Rumphius

My youngest brother is graduating from high school this week, which is kind of hard for me to believe.  It feels like only yesterday I was reading this book to him.  I'm looking forward to heading to Connecticut to see him graduate later this week, and am even more excited to see what wonderful things he will go on to do with his life. Since my husband and I are both teachers, there have been several other graduations we've attended recently, as well.  The first class of seventh graders I taught at my current school just graduated from high school last week, and the principal actually mentioned this book in her address to them; quite fittingly, I think.  This beautiful classic by Barbara Cooney tells the story of Alice (aka Miss Rumphius, aka the Lupine Lady) and her quest to fulfill her life's dreams:  to travel to far-away places, come home to live by the sea, and make the world a more beautiful place. 

Although I don't think the story ever mentions the location of her house by the sea, I always imagine Miss Rumphius settling down on the coast of Maine (another reason I love this book.)  I find this story particularly beautiful for both its imagery and its message, and simply put, I LOVE it.  It is definitely one of my all-time, absolute favorites.  After all, traveling, the ocean, and nature are three of my favorite things.  What's not to love?   It's a longer story, so is better suited for preschoolers or grade school aged children than toddlers.  I was actually surprised that my son loved the book as much as he did when I first read it to him a few months ago.  Even if you think your child might be too young to fully appreciate it, read it anyway.  It's a wonderful book for children and adults, alike. After reading this story to my son one night before bed, I asked him if he was going to do something to make the world more beautiful.  "Yes," he replied, "but I can't right now because it's too dark outside."  I can't wait to see what that thing will be.  May we all take the advice of Miss Rumphius and her grandfather to heart and make the world a more beautiful place.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 65: Curious George Flies a Kite

I'm not quite sure how I managed to get 65 books in to this blog without mentioning one of my son's absolute favorite storytime characters, so without further ado, let me feature a tale about our favorite little troublemaker (other than our son, of course,) Curious George.  The first Curious George book was published 70 years ago in 1941, and the mischevious little monkey has been a household favorite of many ever since.  I only had one Curious George book growing up, Curious George Goes to the Hospital, and I loved it.  My mom didn't, but she humored me and read it to me every so often anyway.  We first read Curious George Flies a Kite to my son when he was about two and a half after receiving the book as a hand-me-down, and were amazed at how quickly it captured and kept his attention.  If you've ever read it, you know it's long --  80 pages -- but he sat still through every single page taking the whole story in.  In fact, the reason I chose to feature this book as opposed to one of the others is that my son loved it so much and read it so many times, he literally could recite about 90% of it from memory at age three.  It was amazing.  I find it kind of strange that in many of the earliest George titles, the flow of the story lines isn't always that logical.  In Flies a Kite, for example, the first two-thirds of the story is about George playing with Bill's bunnies, then going fishing.  He doesn't even see a kite until page 51.  Regardless, my son absolutely loves the stories about this silly little monkey.  I think he loves George so much because he is just like him; as is any toddler or preschooler, most likely.  He tries to be good and do the right thing, but his curiosity often gets the better of him and he finds himself in some kind of trouble or another.  Fortunately, the man with the yellow hat loves him no matter what and is there to help him learn from his mistakes.  The more recent Curious George stories are much shorter and feature topics such as ice cream stores, pizza, and baseball, making them more accessible to more children than the originals, I suppose.  But as much as I like being able to read them in 5 minutes instead of 20, something inside me still loves the different style of the old classics, too.  We have many different Curious George titles in our house now, and love watching the PBS show about him, as well.  (There are very few kids shows we think are worth watching, but this is one of them!)  My son also assumes the identity of George at least once a day, even though he is pretty much a silly monkey all of the time.  When our whole family is together, my husband is the man with the yellow hat, I am Professor Wiseman, and our daughter is Hundley, the daschund from the show.  So fun.  I have no doubt that my son will read Curious George to his own children someday with a big, reminiscing smile on his face.  And who knows?  He might even remember all the words.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 64: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

I usually try to spread out posts by authors that we love, but my son is so excited by this book right now that I couldn't resist!  When his amazingly generous Uncle Jeff found out how much my son loved Knuffle Bunny, he sent it (and the fabulous sequels) to us, along with another Mo Willems classic, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  (Thank you, Uncle Jeff!)  Like Knuffle Bunny, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is a Caldecott honor book with fabulous illustrations and fantastically comical text that immediately engages young readers and makes parents smile.   Upon opening the book, you see Willems' simple, vintage-style illustrations of a pigeon dreaming about driving a bus.  Turn the page once more, and you meet the bus driver, who kindly asks you before the story even starts not to let the pigeon drive the bus.  Finally, we meet our determined little pigeon, who immediately says, "I thought he'd never leave!"  Then pausing, looking oh-so-innocent: "Hey, can I drive the bus?  Please?  I'll be careful."  And from the very first time we read this story, my son immediately yelled out, "No!" after each of the pigeon's requests with an ever-growing smile on his face.  I was amazed by how he immediately interacted with the story so fully, never doubting for a second that the bus driver was talking directly to him and that he was now in charge.  The pigeon's expressions in this book are priceless, as are my son's reactions to his incessant pleading to drive the bus.  The pigeon is clever and persistent in his requests until, after repeatedly being told "No!", he breaks down into a perfectly three-year-old-esque tantrum: "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!"  Any parent will be able to relate to the continuous pleading, and any child will be delighted to be the one finally saying, "No!" over and over and over.  There are a bunch of other Pigeon books in the series, and given our recent love affair with Mo Willems, I have no doubt we'll be bringing them home from the library soon. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 63: Fuzzy Bee and Friends

Time for another favorite that is perfect for infants and young babies!  My daughter was completely mesmorized by this book as we read it before bed tonight, just as my son used to be.  She must have turned through all the pages ten times, touching and carefully studying each tactile feature along the way.  She was especially fascinated by the fly's shiny eyes and the snail's shimmery body!  (My son always loved the beetle's and dragonfly's wings.) There are several of these cloth books in the series by Priddy Books, and we were fortunate to receive all three as gifts:  Fuzzy Bee and Friends, Squishy Turtle and Friends, and Fluffy Chick and Friends.  (I listed them in our order of preference, but all three are good.)  They make a perfect first book for any baby for a variety of reasons.  The cloth pages are soft and easy for little fingers to grab and turn.  The colors are bold and the illustrations are simple yet striking, instantly grabbing baby's attention.  Each page features a different textured fabric or other tactile elements -- spindly spider legs,  shiny ladybug spots, satiny butterfly wings -- which are great for fostering a child's sensory awareness and curiosity.  The simple text has an easy rhythm to it, making it appealing to little ears, and perhaps most importantly, babies can chew on these books to their hearts' content.  My daughter doesn't discriminate -- she'll chew on any book -- but it's nice not to have to remove soggy little bits of board book from her mouth while she "reads."  My kids have loved these books from the beginning, and my son especially loves to sit and read them to his little sister now.  Endorsements don't get any cuter than that. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 62: Busy, Busy World

If you have visited Google today, June 5th, you probably noticed the fabulous Richard Scarry Busytown logo.  Today would have been Scarry's 92nd birthday, so I felt it only appropriate to feature one of our favorite books of his.  Richard Scarry wrote over 250 books for children, including my son's absolute favorite, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (featured on Day 8.)  We received Busy, Busy World as a hand-me-down from some of my in-laws' friends, and we just love reading it.  In fact, it has been living on our kitchen table for the past few weeks so that my son can read through it every morning while eating his breakfast.  Like many of Scarry's beloved books, the story lines are silly and fun, with comical illustrations to go along with each tale.  In Busy, Busy World, Scarry takes us across the globe with a variety of creative characters on different adventures:  Couscous the Algerian Detective, Pierre, the Paris Policeman, Officer Montey of Monaco, Manuel of Mexico, and more.  The book is also complete with a map of the world on the inside covers pinpointing where each character lives.  What I love most about this book, though, is the way it manages to intertwine world geography and culture into it's silly stories and illustrations.  (Disclaimer:  I am a geography teacher, so of course I love this book!)  But seriously, the more young children can be exposed to different countries and cultures, the better!   I just love that my son knows about countries like Israel, Belgium, and India and can even point to them on a map.  Just to warn you, though, when I looked this favorite up on Amazon, I found that it is out of print.  I don't know why publishers would stop printing such a wonderful book, but hopefully you can find it at your local library.  Happy birthday, Richard Scarry!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 61: The Circus Ship

This fantastic book first caught my eye on the new books shelf at our local library.  The cover is brilliantly illustrated with a ship full of circus animals, and the author's name sounded vaguely familiar, though I couldn't remember why.  As soon as we started reading this story and learned it took place off the coast of Maine, I remembered that my cousin Heather, a Maine native, had recommended this author to me.  In The Circus Ship, Chris Van Dusen has written and illustrated a creatively clever masterpiece.  We just love his bold, colorful, and marvelously detailed illustrations of the circus animals who swim to safety and make themselves at home on a remote Maine island town after their ship sinks at sea.  At first the villagers aren't sure what to do.  The "animals were everywhere, and into everything.  'There's an ostrich in the outhouse! There's a hippo in the spring!  There's a tiger in the tulips!  There's a lion on the lawn!  There's a python in the pantry!'  It went on and on and on..."  But once the flame-jumping tiger rescues a little girl from a blaze, the town embraces the kind animals and will do anything to keep them.  When the cantankerous circus owner comes to reclaim his menagerie, the townspeople craft a clever plan to keep the fifteen animals hidden.  We just love looking for them and know you will, too!  The story's alliteration and lyrical rhymes make it an absolute joy to read aloud, and this is definitely a favorite of ours at the moment.  I also was fascinated to learn that this book is inspired by the true events of the circus ship the Royal Tar, which sank off the coast of Maine in 1836.  Though the real story has a far more tragic ending, it's a little bit of history that I would have otherwise never known... yet another reason why I love this book.   I'm eager to find Van Dusen's other titles at our next library visit.  If they are anywhere near as wonderful as the Circus Ship, we're sure to love them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 60: The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm

We are having some CRAZY weather in Boston tonight.  We’ve been under a tornado watch all evening and have gotten at least three inches of rain, with fantastically scary thunder and lightning.  Two tornadoes have touched down in western parts of the state, but fortunately we're all safe and cozy in our house.  What better book to feature on a night like this than The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm?  We received this as a gift from my brother in law two years ago and have loved it since the very first time we read it.  At first glance, it looks like part of the Bear Snores On series, for it is also illustrated by the fabulous Jane Chapman.  We just love her!  But don't worry, Paul Bright, we love your story, too.  "How the wind blew!  It howled in the treetops, so that the branches bent and creaked and the leaves shivered and shook... Bear and Mrs. Bear slept warm and snug and untroubled in their bed."  Untroubled, that is, until Baby Bear wakes them up and asks to join them, convinced that there is a monster outside.  "'There's no such thing as monsters,' said Bear.  'What a scaredy-bear you are.'"  But he pulls back the covers and invites Baby Bear in to snuggle up, warm and safe.  As the night goes on, Bear's other little cubs join them in the bed, as well, afraid of the noises they hear and the shadows they see.  Bear tries to convince them there all is no such thing as monsters, but soon enough finds himself being a scaredy-bear, too!  This adorably delightful story is perfect for any little one who has ever been afraid of storms or the dark, and the ending is bound to bring a smile to your face.   It isn't as well known as some of our other favorites, but is definitely a classic in our family that is well worth a read!