Having had a young child attached to my hip for approximately a dozen years, one indispensible tool I'd REQUIRE all parents to have--books by Theodor Geisel . . . a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Who hasn't read dozens of his books?!?!?! I used Ten Apples up on Top for a full week in preschool. I've read and made the Green Eggs and Ham for my own kids and my students. My children learned the alphabet through Dr. Seuss ABC book (Big A, little a, what begins with A? . . .). Cat in the Hat is probably my favorite. It's sequel, The Cat in the Hat Came Back. There's One Fish Two Fish, Horton Hatches an Egg, Horton Hears a Who (I still have not seen the movie). The Foot Book is another one of my favorites that I have memorized.
I cannot guess how many times the recitation of a Seuss book helped distract my children. If I wasn't at home, I had the books memorized and would chant them at the store, a restaraunt, the DMV, etc. His words probably saved them from a number of bad consequences for fit throwing. His words would instantly calm them down.
A quick link to a site about Dr. Seuss memorial: Dr. Seuss