Little girl wearing pink shirt and easter bunny ears. She holds holds a basket of easter eggs in front of camera.  Stories are a favorite of Easter bunnies everywhere. “Peter Rabbit” is an obvious Easter basket choice. But why not “Where the Sidewalk Ends” or “The Cat in the Hat”?

Before you do your shopping, check out some of our staff’s favorite children’s books. You may want to add one of these books to your basket of chocolates!

Julie H. Harris, INB Receptionist

When I was a little girl, my mom used to read me two books that I loved and would want her to read over and over again. One was called Cats Kittens. It was the story of a litter of kittens who explore Paris and get into all kinds of trouble. It wasn’t a very popular book and is not sold in stores or even online anymore, which makes me sad because I have attempted to find it for my own son and have not been able to.

The other was called The Lonely Doll. The description says…

“Once there was a little doll. Her name was Edith. She lived in a nice house and had everything she needed except someone to play with. She was lonely! Then one morning Edith looked into the garden and there stood two bears! Since it was first published in 1957, The Lonely Doll has established itself as a unique children’s classic. Through innovative photography Dare Wright brings the world of dolls to life and entertains us with much more than just a story. Edith, the star of the show, is a doll from Wright’s childhood, and Wright selected the bear family with the help of her brother. With simple poses and wonderful expressions, the cast of characters is vividly brought to life to tell a story of friendship.”

This book has become a series, and the photography that tells the story is amazing.

Kelley Himmelberg, Vice President, Director of Human Resource

Goodnight Moon was one of my favorites; The Runaway Bunny is another.  Both were written by Margaret Wise Brown. Goodnight Moon features a bunny saying “good night” to everything around: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon…”  My kids would turn the pages quickly because they thought they were reading the actual words, when in reality they had memorized it since we read it so often.

Steve Miller, Vice President, Client Services

Ferdinand, the Bull by HR Munro is a story that most likely was a favorite of many, but it was an especially favorite of all of our kids.

The story is about a sweet-natured bull, who preferred peace over violence and would rather sit around and smell the flowers versus fighting in bull fights. He lives in a pasture with his mother and the other bulls, who love showing off their toughness by bucking and running around the pasture. In contrast Ferdinand was calm and patient. His mother was concerned about him because Ferdinand did not behave how all the other bulls behaved, but she came to realize he was a happy and enjoyed the way he lived his live.

One day when some men came to choose five of the meanest bulls for fighting, Ferdinand stayed calm hoping the men will leave him be, but then as he was smelling the flowers he sat on a bumble bee and is stung.  It is easy to guess what happens next, and the men end up choosing him because of the fierce display that ensued after he is stung. Because of this display, his reputation proceeded him and all the matadors believe Ferdinand to be the nastiest, and meanest of all the bulls that is until he is lead to the center of the arena, surrounded by bull fighters and sits down.

Regardless of what is done to provoke Ferdinand, he remains true to his nature and is calm and patient. Eventually he is led from the arena, taken back to his pasture to live out his life the way he chooses, by smelling the flowers.

The illustrations were fantastic and our kids love saying the phrase, “Ferdinand would rather just sit and smell the flowers” whenever that sentence appeared in the story. When I was a child we had a record of the book read by an actor who had accents for the Matador, Picador, etc., and the recording included great sound effects.  Ferdinand is a classic and there are a lot of great lessons to be learned, but it is really just a great story that everyone will enjoy.

Mark Donovan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending

With a 4- and nearly 3-year-old at home, our new favorite children’s books are the ones in the Aaron Becker trilogy set with the earliest and most famous one being JOURNEYJOURNEY is a 2014 Caldecott Honor Book and it quickly becomes evident why.  The book follows a girl on a magical journey of spectacular encounters and unexpected friendship, alongside tests of personal fortitude.

This is all accomplished without a single letter or word throughout the entire book.  It’s a series of expansively detailed drawings which induce the readers’ imagination to make up the story as they journey through the pages.  As you might imagine, with two youngsters, the beauty of this single book is that it can contain infinite storylines . . . We develop new names and new storylines every time we read the book. As is true with any good book, it’s the journey between the first and the final page that makes this a longstanding favorite that we reread many times over.