One is good for a quiet walk. Two is right for a quiet talk. Three is nice for having tea. Or for counting one-two-three.

Sandra Boynton’s One, Two, Three was my son’s first book. Technically, it arrived as a gift in a box of six of her board books, but for us, it stood alone. We read it every single day his first year of life, and now that he’s almost four, he “reads” it to his baby sister. He (and I, and many of you I would bet) have the entire book memorized.

And when you want to go explore, the number you should have is four.

Sandra Boynton’s children’s books are truly a gift. Their cadence, their rhymes, their characters, so lovingly illustrated. They’re silly. They’re fun. They’re heartwarming.

And, they are perfect for the youngest of children (and their parents, too). Who couldn’t love Birthday Monsters? Or Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs (crammed in an elevator)? Or Hey, Wake Up!?–“Good Morning Sun! Happy Morning Everyone!”

Babble’s Gwynne Watkins recently interviewed Sandra Boynton and we were delighted to read not just about Boynton, her books, and music (check out Blue Moo!), but also to learn that there’s going to be a Sandra Boynton retrospective at the Norman Rockwell Museum in 2009. If you didn’t already have a good reason to go to the Berkshires, now you’ve got one!

My favorite book is one of the least assuming ones: The Going to Bed Book. Its about animals on a boat getting ready for bed. Its got all the classic Boynton-isms. Adorable drawings. Clever rhymes and rhythms. Simple messages for children (brush your teeth! wash your face! exercise!).

The best part, however, is its double ending. The first time I read it, I thought this was the ending: “The day is done. They say goodnight, and somebody turns off the light.” That was perfect, I thought, until I turned the page. There it said, “The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.”

Ne’er a better ending has there been for lulling a child to sleep. Thank you, Sandra Boynton!