Katie started her review of Little House in the Big Woods a couple of nights ago, but ran into an internet connection problem, which kind of stopped her in her tracks (she had somehow flipped the wireless switch on the computer to the “off” position; since I didn’t even know there was a switch, we had to wait till we could get hold of my tech support person – but now we know). Anyway, she’ll get that done over the weekend.
I started Little House on the Prairie, and I’m already feeling a little overwhelmed by the immenseness of the move from Wisconsin to Kansas. We’ve picked up our little family and moved many a time, and have covered a lot of ground in between houses – but we always had cars and trucks and highways and, in one case, airplanes. But a covered wagon? Wow.
During this slight break in the reading/reviewing action, we’ll take a look at our list. In my internet searches, I found that most similar types of lists for children’s books include picture books or books for teenagers as well, so I was happy to find this one, focusing on kids who are reading independently, but are not yet in high school. I like that it was compiled using votes from adults and kids (and that kids’ votes were validated with at least two adult votes – to save us from a list full of Captain Underpants – of course, I shouldn’t knock the Captain, since I’ve never read any of his adventures).
The UK newspaper, the Telegraph also has an interesting list: 100 books every child should read. Their list is divided into Early Years, Middle Years and Teen Years. There is a good bit of overlap with the list we’re using, but it includes several older British books that might be tough to get hold of in the US, so we’ll stick with the School Library Journal list.
Our list of 100 Top Children’s Novels contains a nice mix of old and new, a nice mix of fantasy and real-world stories. But of course, I’m sure most everyone has a favorite that they think should be on the list. As for me, I was disappointed to see that The Cricket in Times Square was not on the list. Stuart Little is another that would not be out of place among the titles.
I was also a bit surprised – okay, maybe not surprised – that 6 of the 7 Harry Potter books are on the list. I’m actually a bit torn on this one. In a sense, I’m disappointed that the Potter series has such a huge showing on the list, and I really think that 20 years from now, a new list would not include all of them. Then again…I confess it – I am a great big Harry Potter nerd. I have read all of the books multiple times and went to midnight showings of the movies, and have been know to engage in long and serious discussions about various characters and plot points. Even so, as much as I love the books and defend them as good literature and not just a pop culture phenomenon – I think one representative book on the list would be more appropriate.
A couple of other book series that I didn’t really expect to see on the list, but would like to plug right now are Artemis Fowl and the The Sisters Grimm. Artemis Fowl is a young criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy for the ransom in gold – and he and his bodyguard/butler (whose name is Butler) become firmly entrenched in the goings on of the top-secret underground (literally) fairy world. The series is clever and funny and full of highly engaging characters, psychotic villains, lots of action and some rather complex plots (including time travel). There are seven books in the series to date, with the 8th book due to come out in July.
The Sisters Grimm are two young girls living in (and escaping from) a long series of nightmarish foster homes after their parents mysteriously disappear. A woman shows up to claim them, saying she is their grandmother – and they automatically distrust her because their parents informed them all of their grandparents were dead. From her, they learn that not only are they are descended from one of the Grimm brothers of fairy tale fame, but also that those tales are all historical documents. They learn that it is their duty as Grimms to investigate any odd goings-on among the Everafters – the very real folks who populate what they always assumed were fictional tales. The series is similar to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief is on our list), in that it takes on a lot of very familiar characters and brings them right into our midst. Fast-paced and lots of fun, this series has 8 books, with the 9th coming out in May.
I have the next books for both of these series preordered :-).
I’d love to know some of the books that other folks wish were on this Top 100 list, so please chime in. We’re always on the lookout for good stuff!