I recently ran across the BBC list of top children’s books.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Loved it, owned and read the whole series. Watched the TV show, Michael Landon was dreamy.
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle – Loved it. Made me think, owned and read the whole series
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin – I did not read this until I was an adult – so it was a good story but didn’t rock my world.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory– Roald Dahl – I saw the movie first with Gene Wilder before I read the book, but it did not detract from it, Read many books – Glass Elevator, BGF, fun use of language. Wonderful touch from the innocence and clarity of a child.
Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne – wonderful story much richer than the 2 dimensional world Disney made of it.
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery – I did not find this one until I was in high school but it really spoke to me. This book will speak to you wherever you are in your lives journey. I recently read a book by Sherrilyn Kenyon that even referred to the lessons of the book. Dance with the Devil ( adult paranormal romance) ( Turns out is one of the top selling books of all time) Worth revisiting often.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – read it, have the Madame Alexander dolls, could not get into it.
Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland ( And I would add Through the Looking glass as well) by Lewis Carroll – playful topsy turvey world of growing up and losing childhood innocence. Much richer then the movies and games worth rereading as an adult.
Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendak – Another I did not find until I reading to my son but loved the story but its the illustrations that really are exactly on the mark. “The Night Kitchen” was a favourite in my home.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis – checked out and read the while series from the library and as kid… and as a kid there were no religious references. It was just a great story with talking lions. I felt the movie actually did a fair job.
Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White – Oh, this one made me cry. Did you cry? And what a great lesson – be friends with people based on who they are not what they are – regardless of color, creed or number of legs.
The only one missing I would add is Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum – it is a 14 book series that is under read. Tic Toc, Jack Pumpkinhead, sawhorse, Polychrome and Button Bright – so many delightful characters to meet.
Peter Rabbit deserves mention too – Beatrix Potter started as a painter drawing from real life models then wrote stories about her pictures.
My other personal favourite illustrated children’s books Include The Color Kittens by Margarte Wise Brown , The Surprise Doll by Morrell Gipson.
But I am a bit disappointed by the limits of this list. It is exclusively Anglo Focused. It is a BBC list – but one would hope BBC would be a bit more wordly. Surely there are great children’s books in Asia, Africa, South America? We need to branch out of our little boxes if we want to relate to humanity and not just our culture. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Elenor Coer would be a perfect addition or Fa Mulan by Robert D. San Souci which was the inspiration for Disney’s Mulan.
I was rather impressed by how many of the Top Children’s books I had read. Next we will look at top adult books.
Until Next Time .