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
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
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
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!
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?
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
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!
66. The Maze of Bones
67. Esperanza Rising
68. Counting Kisses
69. The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks
71. Bridge to Terabithia
72. Are You My Mother?
73. Tea With Milk
74. Owl Moon
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
84. No No Yes yes
85. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
86. Interrupting Chicken
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
97. The Adventures of Captain Underpants
98. First Words
99. Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices
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