I first picked up The Raggedy Ann Stories — a reproduction of the original stories first written in 1918 — because the illustrations are so beautiful. The quality and style of children’s book illustrations from early in the last century are endlessly appealing to me. Plus, my children’s bedrooms tend to take on a vintage vibe and this book fit in well.

But one day, we read it. And LOVED it. I felt a little bit dumb — Raggedy Ann has been a tried and true children’s icon for generations, why was I surprised the stories were good? (Maybe it’s because many current icons, like My Little Pony and Barbie, aren’t based on stories at all.)

The writing is lovely. The language sounds a hundred years old, and I like my children to hear it. And the stories are so sweet and kind — bravery, honesty and friendship are each recurring themes. Some of those dolls in the playroom are quite snobby to little Raggedy Ann, but she always forgives.

We also have another volume called Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees. In my opinion, it’s not nearly as good as the original — maybe Johnny Gruelle sold out with the later stories when he realized he had a hit.

P.S. — More favorite picture books.