Peter Steinberg's Favorite Children's Books

It's hard for me to recreate a list of all my favorite children's books — it's hard for me to remember things from when I was that young. But the books below all ring a bell in some way or another and so I share them with you here.


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz

Miss Hannah says:

Because we all have days like that, and we generally can't afford to move (to Australia or even to the next town) every time it happens, this is a great book. It provides a chuckle, reminds us that bad days happen to the best of us, and maybe even that it could be much worse. A great, fun way to help children deal with a bad day, or at least survive it. Poor Alexander!


Where the Wild Things Are

illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Karen Kennedy says:

This book was controversial when it came out — adults thought that Max was too badly behaved and his monsters were too scary. But generations of young children know best — this book connects perfectly with a young child's fears and his ability to conquer them.


Horton Hears A Who!

by Dr. Seuss

Like most every avid reader in America, I've read the vast majority of Dr. Seuss — I even have a fairly extensive collection of them as an adult. Horton... always has been — and always will — my favorite. I'm not sure I can explain why. Maybe it's the absurdity of the town so small that it fits on a mote of dust. Maybe it's the way in which the small birds gang up on the massive elephant. Maybe it's the impossibility of finding that one single flower in and among the millions upon millions. Actually, now that I think about it? I think it's because it's one of the few Seuss that has such an intricate plot: a beginning, a middle, an end. Good guys, bad guys, observers. Impossible odds and impossible situations. And it all works out in the end. (Oops. Did I just give it away? Sorry.)


Big Max

by Kin Platt, illustrated by Robert Lopshire

A simple children's book about a... pet, shall we say, gone missing. If nothing else, the book stuck with me for all these decades for the very clever way the pet escaped.


Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

Leah Smith from Burtonsville, MD says:

If you haven't read this adorable book then you are probably wondering why I included it on a list about cool female characters in children's books. It's because the steam shovel's name is Mary Ann. If you haven't read this charming story, what are you waiting for?