We have a very dear friend who is an extremely talented illustrator: David Sheldon. He has a whimsical, retro-inspired style that is really fun! A few years ago, he illustrated The Golden Book of Family Fun, and our family loved it so much, it was our gift to all of the families on our Christmas list that year.
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This book has everything from jump rope jingles, card games, word games, jokes, and probably all of the games you played as a child and forgot about. It isn’t a read aloud book (it’s over 130 pages), it’s more of a “flip through to get ideas” kind of book. When I was a child, I spent hours flipping through a Childcraft book called Make and Do. I feel like Peggy Brown created a Childcraft-type book, reinterpreted and modern, which I really love.
I often find my kids curled up with The Golden Book of Family Fun. The boys love finding ideas for a different game or activity, and the girls just like the pictures. Several of the families we gave this book to have told me that they often find their kids flipping through this book – it’s just that fun! And I have to let you in on an insider secret: Mr. Sheldon and his wife raise chickens, and he drew chickens all throughout the illustrations. My kids love to go through and count the chickens just for fun.
Some parents might want to know that there is a “scary story” in there to be told during a campout. It’s an old story that I had heard before (probably read in one of those old Childcraft books) about a woman who wears a black ribbon tied around her neck and never takes it off. Her husband is curious about it, and finally on her deathbed, she tells her husband to untie the ribbon. When the ribbon is untied, her head falls off. The story hasn’t disturbed my kids, but some kids might be more sensitive to that story. It’s a short story on one page. There are also “magic tricks,” which are clearly sleight of hand tricks. Liam loves those.
Another great book that Peggy Brown wrote and David Sheldon illustrated is The Little Golden Book of Jokes and Riddles. My boys are suckers for any joke book. I don’t know if it’s their ages (7 and 10) or if it’s just a boy thing, but my boys love to read and re-read joke books, and this one has been in heavy rotation. They misplaced it yesterday (which is what happens when they are constantly carrying it around to quote from!), so I do not have pictures of that book today. It’s full of those funny, corny jokes and riddles that kids love to tell – and I love to see them crack themselves up telling those jokes.
If you’re interested in more of David Sheldon’s work, look up peaceable kingdom. They published one of my kids’ favorite games, Feed the Woozle, which David Sheldon also illustrated. See what I mean? He’s a talented guy!
If you’d like to get these books as gifts for this coming season, you might want to ask your local bookstore if they have it in stock.
If you’d like to pick it up from Amazon, please consider buying through our link.
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