Growing up, my favorite book had to be a four-way tie between Good Night Moon, The Giving Tree, Pat the Bunny, and Where the Wild Things Are. I grew through phases with each book: first it was Pat the Bunny, followed by Good Night Moon, then it was The Giving Tree, and finally Where the Wild Things Are.
I loved Pat the Bunny so much, that I literally went through three or four copies of the book since I patted the bunny excessively. Needless to say, my younger brother envied me and also had to pat the bunny, so the book repeatedly got demolished. All I can remember about the book is the way the white "fur" felt after it was so heavily used that it was ripping out of the book.
Although the book is not really upbeat, I have always had a place in my heart for The Giving Tree. It is so simple and adorable, but it really displays a message to children about not just taking, but also giving back. It is a book that I always enjoy reading and I never would go on long trips without it. When I was younger and utterly obsessed with this book, I imagined that every tree in the world was like the giving tree.
Where the Wild Things Are was a book I didn't understand at first, but then I realized that was kind of the point. It was about going on an adventure that was all your own and just being a child with an imagination and enjoying yourself completely. Of course I had to see the movie that came out recently, but the book will always trump the film. The drawings were so original and gave me an excuse to act like a wild monster as a kid.
These four books really shaped my childhood and were always so broken in, my parents could tell they could never throw them out or replace them with a foreign new copy.