Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, novelist and creator of enduring children's books, Jungle Book; Rikki Tikki Tavi and The Just So Stories. He was born in India, went back to England at 5, was educated there and then in 1882 he went back to India as a journalist. While older children will still read Jungle Book in an edition such as Nicola Bayley's, Kipling has been beyond the reach of very young children. But now, because of the amount of time his stories have been around, and because he died so long ago, many of his stories have been retold for younger audiences and with modern illustrations. English author, Shoo Rayner has written the Just So Stories as beginning chapter books, perfect for young readers. They are one of the most popular reading series with my Year 1 students. The boys like to read the whole set and then will move onto other Shoo Rayner books, such as Viking Vik, Little Horrors, Ricky Rocket and Scaredy Cats. Illustrators such as Jerry Pinkney have also taken Kipling's stories and made them 'dance'. And of course if you don't read anything else it is time to dig out Kipling's poem, If and be reminded what sound advice it is.
Mercer Mayer is an American author illustrator, very well known for his series of books about Little Critter, but long before these there were other books worth searching for. His first book, A Boy, a Dog and a Frog is a wordless book with so much to offer, plot-wise, characterisation-wise and pictorially. He did others such as this and then his There's a Nightmare in my Cupboard and There's an Alligator Under My Bed.