"Books in Winter" by Jessie Wilcox Smith

"Books in Winter" by Jessie Wilcox Smith


There is probably nothing that brings us instantly back to childhood quicker than recalling a beloved book. Not the fragrance of chocolate chip cookies baking, not the tinny sound of a favorite lullabye plunked out on a toy piano (remember toy pianos?), not even the softness of an old quilt. It's books, those beloved stories we heard at bedtime, those favorite novels we sank into, that bring us back.

So you know that when Parent and Child magazine came up with its list of the 100 greatest kid books, they were going to be treading on sacred ground, playing with our emotions, stirring up trouble.

To begin with, it is not a bad list. E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" is No. 1, and there is no arguing with that.  But it is a peculiar list, in that picture books and early reader books and young adult novels are all mixed up together. Any list that has "Frog and Toad Are Friends" (a fine book, truly) next to "The Hunger Games" is going to be a list that is trying too hard. You can't be all things to all children.

I'll paste in the list below, but I'm interested in what you think is missing.  Where, for example, is Mercy Watson? Or Bink and Gollie? Or Winn-Dixie? Or any Kate Di Camillo?

Where is "Little  Women"? (Or any Louisa May Alcott?) Where is "Blue Willow"? "The Witch of Blackbird Pond"? 'Misty of Chincoteague"? "Greensleeves" (which I continue to read again and again). "Witch of the Glens" (or any Sally Watson)? "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day"? "Mary Poppins"? Any of the "Shoe" books? "The Borrowers"? 

"Twenty-One Balloons"? "The Call of the Wild"? "Black Beauty"? Stop me; I'm being transported to 1965.

Help me out. Scan the list and add your favorites.

1. Charlotte's Web

2. Goodnight, Moon

3. A Wrinkle in Time

4. The Snowy Day

5. Where the Wild Things Are

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

7. Green Eggs and Ham

8. The Diary of a Young Girl

9. The Giving Tree

10. Frog and Toad are Friends

11. Anne of Green Gables

12. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

13. Madeline

14. The Wind in the Willows

15. The Dot

16. Tuck Everlasting

17. Pat the Bunny

18. When Marian Sang

19. Knuffle Bunny

20. Where the Sidewalk Ends

21. Bud, Not Buddy

22. Corduroy

23. The Phanton Tollbooth

24. The Little Engine that Could

25. The Giver

26. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

27. Black on White

28. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

29. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret

30. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

31. The Mitten

32. The Runaway Bunny

33. The Hunger Games

34. Swimmy

35. Freight Train

36. The Secret Garden

37. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

38. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

39. Zen Shorts

40. Moo, Baa, La La La!

41. Matilda

42. What Do People Do All Day?

43. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

44. Good Night, Gorilla

45. The Composition

46. Not a Box

47. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

48. Hatchet

49. Martin's Big Words

50. Sarah, Plain and Tall

51. Sylvia Long's Mother Goose

52. The Lightning Thief

53. The House at Pooh Corner

54. Through My Eyes

55. Smile!

56. Living Sunlight

57 The Bad Begining

58. Harvesting Hope

59. Dear June

60. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

61.The Lion & the Mouse

62. Diary of a Worm

63. The Invention of Hugo Cabret

64. My Truck is Stuck!

65. Birds

66. The Maze of Bones

67. Esperanza Rising

68. Counting Kisses

69. The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks

70. Blackout

71. Bridge to Terabithia

72. Are You My Mother?

73. Tea With Milk

74. Owl Moon

75. Holes

76. Peek-a-Who?

77. Hi! Fly Guy

78. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

79. Llama Llama Red Pajama

80. What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?

81. Lincoln-A Photobiography

82. Ivy + Bean

83. Yoko

84. No No Yes yes

85. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

86. Interrupting Chicken

87. Rules

88. Grumpy Bird

89. An Egg is Quiet

90. Puss in Boots

91. Team Moon

92. What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby?

93. We the Kids

94. I Took the Moon for a Walk

95. A Single Shard

96. Gossie

97. The Adventures of Captain Underpants

98. First Words

99. Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices

100. Animalia





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