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The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud Hardcover – Picture Book, September 14, 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 702 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Believe it or not, 44 complete read-aloud classics and future classics--from Goodnight Moon to Stellaluna--are packed in this remarkably svelte, positively historic anthology. Flipping through the 308 pages of The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury is like browsing a photo album of beloved friends and family. The familiar faces of Curious George and Ferdinand the Bull peer earnestly from the pages, and scenes from Madeline and Millions of Cats resonate as if you just experienced them yesterday. Think of the advantages of carrying this book on a vacation instead of a suitcase of single titles! (Your kids can always revisit their dog-eared hardcovers when they get home.)

This impressive collection of concept books, wordless books, picture books, and read-aloud stories was artfully compiled by longtime children's book editor and publisher Janet Schulman. Stories are coded red, blue, and green to designate age groupings from baby/toddler books such as Whose Mouse Are You?, through preschool books such as Where the Wild Things Are, to longer stories for ages 5 and older such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The reason the book isn't bigger than Babar is because many of the illustrations from each story were reduced or removed to fit the anthology's format. (Leo Lionni's Swimmy, for example, takes up 5 pages total, compared to its original 29 pages.) Brief biographical notes that are surprisingly quirky shine a little light on the 62 authors and illustrators, and an index helps, too, for the child who likes one story best. We love the idea of being within easy reach of a Star-Belly Sneetch, a William Steig donkey, and a Sendak monster at all times, and we're sure your little bookworms will, too. (Click to see a sample spread from The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury, compilation copyright © 1998 by Janet Schulman, illustrations © renewed 1997 by William Steig.) (All ages) --Karin Snelson

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 4-Forty-four selections fill this shiny, heavy compendium, gathered to encourage parents to develop the reading-aloud habit. Most are well-known picture books, but there is a short story by Joan Aiken, a chapter from Winnie the Pooh, and stories from books in beginning-to-read series. Goodnight Moon, a small set of Helen Oxenbury's board books, a Berenstain Bears entry, and other short pieces for the very youngest children are mixed with Stellaluna, The Stinky Cheese Man, Madeline, and older and newer favorites quite disparate in size and design. Some appear in spacious spreads, similar to their original formats. Others are compressed with great chunks of text and few pictures or several pages of the original full-length version stacked on a single page, diminishing details, colors, or the delicious moments of humor, drama, or innuendo. Gone are most of the illustrations for Millions of Cats, and Richard Egielski's Tub People have lost their unique patina and pose in these minuscule renderings. Though much is lost in the translation, the treasury does indeed offer an eclectic variety of good stories, and many children might encounter new favorites here. Concluding biographical notes on the authors and illustrators, a listing of the stories by three age categories, an index, and acknowledgments of original publication details complete the package.
Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Books for Young Readers; Later prt. edition (September 14, 1998)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0679886478
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679886471
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 2 - 6 years, from customers
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD710L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.88 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.38 x 0.91 x 11.19 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 702 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
702 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 12, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 2, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars My order history shows I've bought this 8 times as a gift ... (Wonderful book for new parents!)
By My 3 Cents on July 2, 2019
I love this book enough that I regularly buy it as a new baby gift. Even though it's over twenty years old now and doesn't contain newer books, it's still relevant. I love this book for so many reasons. This treasury contains a number of different genre's, themes, and time periods and is suitable to read to a baby on up to new self-readers reading to you. With 44 stories inside, there's enough of a good mix of classic stories that you don't get sick of re-reading. There a lot of books from my childhood in here that I love sharing with my children.

The illustrations are vivid although.....since this is a treasury, some pages of the illustrations have completely been removed from stories in the interest of total page count. Even so, for most stories there is enough visual interest to keep little ones paying attention. There are a couple of stories such as "Millions of cats" that have almost no pictures; even with me trying to use silly voice inflections, I find those kind of stories in here challenging to hold attention of little ones. Once you read the stories through once, you'll know which to skip. Also, there are many pages of this treasury that have 4 book pages condensed down onto one page or over a left and right page.

One thing that has always annoyed me about this treasury is that the age levels are completely intermixed throughout this book. So you have to hunt around to find the stories that are age-appropriate for your child. Even though I was reading it so much, I was completely ignorant to the fact that there are color-coded pages for the three different age levels until recently (duh, now I know.) I wish they would have put all of the baby appropriate stories at the front, little kid books in the middle, and new readers at the end. I usually read a few stories out of the book at a time and it is so aggravating to flip around the book. On the bottom of each right hand page is the title and page number. The way that this book is marked for age levels is that there is a color coded symbol indicating the age level next to the title (red, green, or blue). Red is for the youngest audience - mostly picture books with
few pages. Blue is for intermediate listeners and is a good mix of pictures and words. Green is for children who will sit and listen without requiring a lot of pictures. Buried between biographical notes of each author (which is actually pretty interesting) and an index is a listing of books by their age level. I truly wish that they would have organized the book by age level instead of mixing it up, but sometimes because of it I end up reading something random that catches my listener's eye as I am flipping by.

Because this is made of thin paper, reading this to an active toddler can be challenging if he or she wants to turn the pages on their own. I still recommend this book for parents of those children: Even with very active ones it's possible to establish nightly snuggly reading time when they are more docile and it's mommy or daddy's job to turn the pages versus during the daytime when they are in charge of turning the pages. If your child has fallen in love with one of the stories in the book and wants to read it over and over and over again, this probably isn't the book to use - you will want to also get the board book.

I have spent countless hours reading stories out of this book to my sons. I doubt I would have bought all of these books separately to read to them, so it was wonderful when I stumbled across this ages ago.

All in all, this is a great gift for new parents. The people you gift it to will be sure to have lifelong memories of reading together with their loved ones. I've had so many thank yous months and even years down the road over this gift!
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