HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Five Family Favorites with Linda Ashman, Author of Over the River & Through the Wood
Five Family Favorites with Linda Ashman, Author of Over the River & Through the Wood

Five Family Favorites with Linda Ashman, Author of Over the River & Through the Wood

Linda Ashman | The Children’s Book Review | November 19, 2015

My husband and I have a 17-year-old son, so it’s been a while since we all curled up to read a pile of picture books or a novel together. Happily, Jackson still loves books, and most days still end with the three of us reading together—just three different books instead of the same one.

Despite all the years that have passed since our read-aloud days, it wasn’t hard to come up with a list of favorites (the hard part was limiting it to just five!). In looking at the list, the common themes seem to be naughtiness and humor—especially of the silly, slapstick variety. So here goes:

Naughty Nancy Goes to SchoolNaughty Nancy Goes to School

Written and Illustrated by John S. Goodall

We discovered John S. Goodall’s wonderful wordless books while staying at an inn in Eugene, Oregon years ago. We loved the adventures of Shrewbettina and Paddy Pork, but fell especially hard for Nancy, a mischievous mouse in a frilly dress who gets into all sorts of trouble on her first day of school before proving herself a valiant heroine in the end.

Ages 4+ | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry | 1999 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0689825637

Officer Buckle And GloriaOfficer Buckle and Gloria

Written and Illustrated by Peggy Rathmann 

(Peggy Rathmann). Ah, the irresistible combination of a bumbling adult, a brilliant dog, and heaps of visual humor—all wrapped up in a sweet story of human-canine friendship. The endpapers—featuring Gloria’s hilarious safety tips—are the icing on the cake.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Putnam Juvenile | 1995 | 978-0399226168

Contrary Bear by Phyllis Root and Laura CornellContrary Bear

Written by Phyllis Root

Illustrated by Laura Cornell

Phyllis Root’s funny and fun-to-read books were a staple in our house, and this was a particular favorite. A little girl blames her stuffed bear for her own bad behavior (see naughtiness and slapstick humor, above). And, in what is a sure sign of a beloved book, years later the phrase “contrary bear” remains part of our family lexicon.

Ages 3-6 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 1996 | 978-0060250850

Boo and Baa on a Cleaning SpreeBoo and Baa on a Cleaning Spree

Written and Illustrated by Olof and Lena Landstrom

We loved all the books in this series featuring two charming (if slightly dim-witted) sheep who regularly find themselves in tricky predicaments—but always manage to sort things out happily in the end. But we were especially partial to this book because the plot featured an object Jackson happened to be obsessed with at age three: a vacuum cleaner (sadly, that obsession didn’t last).

Ages 1-5 | Publisher: R & S Books | 1997 | 978-9129639193

The Seven Silly Eaters

Written by Mary Ann Hoberman

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

A wacky family’s peculiar eating habits + Mary Ann Hoberman’s lively rhyme + Marla Frazee’s charming, detail-packed illustrations + plenty of naughtiness and humor = family favorite. After every reading, Jackson would name each person in the “photo” that was “taped” on the back cover as if they were members of our family—which, after reading it a gazillion times, it kind of felt like they were.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin | 1997 | 978-0152024406

About Linda Ashman


Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman has written more than 20 children’s books, including Creaky Old HouseStella, UnleashedNo Dogs Allowed!, and TheTwelve Days of Christmas in Colorado (all Sterling). She lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

Visit Linda online at lindaashman.com.

Over the River and Through the WoodOver the River & Through the Wood

Written by Linda Ashman

Illustrated by Kim Smith

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Pack up the pooches and load the van.
We need to leave by eight!
There’s so much to bring.
Do we have everything?
Come on, we can’t be late!

The classic song gets a fresh new twist! The fun begins when Grandma and Grandpa send invitations to their far-flung, modern, and multiracial family: Come to our house for the holidays—and bring your favorite pie! Off everyone goes, driving down snowy roads, riding the train, boarding a plane . . . even sailing along in a hot-air balloon. As each family faces an obstacle that delays their trip, they learn that sometimes the most old-fashioned form of transportation works best . . . NEIGH!

Ages 3 and up | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | 2015 | 978-1454910244

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Linda Ashman, author of Over the River & Through the Wood, selected these five family favorites. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with HumorPicture Books, and 

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The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by a guest author.

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