100 best kids’ books

by DaniGirl on February 19, 2012 · 8 comments

in Ah, me boys, Books

I honestly don’t know how I missed it. I mean, I’ve always *meant* to read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, but I just never got around to it. So when I read a reference to it in the Ottawa Citizen earlier this week, it was top-of-mind when I was at the library yesterday and I picked it up. I asked the boys if they would mind pausing our current book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (which I think I’ve now read at least half a dozen times), to give this one a try. Simon especially was reluctant — he really loves the Harry Potter books. But he acquiesced and last night we read the first chapter of A Wrinkle In Time.

It was really hard to stop after just one chapter. I’m torn between sneaking it upstairs and devouring it myself or discovering it page-by-page with the boys. I felt the funniest echo through time, reading the perspective of oddball Meg who doesn’t quite understand why she doesn’t fit in with her mates. How have I never read this book before? Tristan and Simon agreed — they rated the book a “three plus” out of four after the first chapter, and agreed that Harry could wait until we figured out what a tesseract is and what happens next.

So it was a serendipitous sort of discovery to find in the Citizen (via Scholastic Books) a list of the top 100 children’s books of all time, with A Wrinkle In Time sitting prominently in the number 3 spot. Really, HOW have I missed it? And for the love of all things holy, what else have I missed?

Here they are, in case you’ve been missing out, too:

100. Animalia, Graeme Base

99. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, Paul Fleischman

98. First Words, Roger Priddy

97. The Adventures of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey

96. Gossie, Olivier Dunrea

95. A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park

94. I Took the Moon for a Walk, Carolyn Curtis

93. We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, David Catrow

92. What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby?, Cressida Cowell

91. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, Catherine Thimmesh

90. Puss in Boots, Fred Marcellio

89. An Egg Is Quiet, Dianna Hutts Aston

88. Grumpy Bird, Jeremy Tankard

87. Rules, Cynthia Lord

86. Interrupting Chicken, David Ezra Stein

85. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume

84. No No Yes Yes, Leslie Patricelli

83. Yoko, Rosemary Wells

82. Ivy + Bean, Annie Barrows

81. Lincoln: A Photobiography, Russell Freedman

80. What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?, Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

79. Llama Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney

78. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Robert C. O’Brien

77. Hi! Fly Guy, Tedd Arnold

76. Peek-a Who?, Nina Laden

75. Holes, Louis Sachar

74. Owl Moon, Jane Yolen

73. Tea With Milk, Allen Say

72. Are You My Mother?, P. D. Eastman

71. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson

70. Blackout, John Rocco

69. The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks, Joanna Cole

68. Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book, Karen Katz

67. Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan

66. The Maze of Bones, Rick Riordan

65. Birds, Kevin Henkes

64. My Truck is Stuck!, Kevin Lewis

63. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick

62. Diary of a Worm, Dorren Cronin

61. The Lion & the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney

60. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, Annie Kubler

59. Dear Juno, Soyung Pak

58. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, Kathleen Krull

57. The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket

56. Living Sunlight, Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

55. Smile!, Roberta Grobel Intrater

54. Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges

53. The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne

52. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan

51. Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose, Sylvia Long

50. Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan

49. Martin’s Big Words, Doreen Rappaport

48. Hatchet, Gary Paulsen

47. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Bill Martin, Jr.

46. Not a Box, Antoinette Portis

45. The Composition, Antonio Skármeta

44. Good Night, Gorilla, Peggy Rathmann

43. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

42. What Do People Do All Day?, Richard Scarry

41. Matilda, Roald Dahl

40. Moo, Baa, La La La!, Sandra Boynton

39. Zen Shorts, John J. Muth

38. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney

37. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, Don and Audrey Wood 36. The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett

35. Freight Train, Donald Crews

34. Swimmy, Leo Lionni

33. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

32. The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown

31. The Mitten, Jan Brett

30. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, Patricia Polacco

29. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume

28. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Mo Willems

27. Black on White, Tana Hoban

26. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin

25. The Giver, Lois Lowry

24. The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper

23. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

22. Corduroy, Don Freeman

21. Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis

20. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

19. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Mo Willems

18. When Marian Sang, Pam Muñoz Ryan

17. Pat the Bunny, Dorothy Kunhardt

16. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt

15. The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds

14. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

13. Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

12. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

11. Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

10. Frog and Toad Are Friends, Arnold Lobel

9. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

8. The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

7. Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling (Also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

5. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

4. The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats

3. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

2. Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

1. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White

The most surprising and delightful part of this list was mentioning it to Tristan and Simon, and telling them that A Wrinkle In Time was number three on the list. They were intrigued, and it warmed my bibliophile heart to see them pouring over the list, finding their favourites and discussing the ranking.

Top 100 books

Did your favourites make the cut? I was surprised to see that If You Give A Mouse A Cookie didn’t make the list, and not a single Robert Munsch? What do you think of the list?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kerry February 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I think it’s a very American list 🙂

2 Valerie February 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I wonder how they picked them – based on sales, perhaps? I absolutely LOVE Madeleine L’Engle and read every one of her books I could find. She has some for adults, too. Although I’ve read many of the books on the list, quite a few have been since having kids – maybe because they weren’t around when we were little. I love Peggy Rathmann (since you told us about The Day the Babies Crawled Away) and have just recently discovered Not a Box and Not a Stick which make my kids giggle their way right off the bed. 🙂

Personally, I don’t really care about where my favourites fit in, but I like the lists for giving me ideas. I used to get so many ideas from one of your bloggy links (madhatter) but haven’t been reading since she switched blogs – I really should.

3 Michelle (Meshl) February 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Love so many on this list, including A Wrinkle in Time. Off the top of my head I would have loved to see the John Bellairs’s books, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg- all books I’ve reread as an adult- included on this list.


4 Holly February 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Great list! I remember LOVING A Wrinkle in Time as a kid…but it has been so long that I’m not sure that I remember the story anymore. I’m looking forward to reading it again with my son.

No Dr. Suess on the list…how can that be???

5 Alanna February 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

We love Captain underpants. My kids like to don their underpants on their head and run around the house. The meer mention of the book and my son giggles.

6 Heather Macpherson February 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

It’s not that I disagree with this list, I just think it’s too short! Needs to be at least double the size since it’s “of all time”… I agree with Michelle re Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, and I would also include the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf… actually I wouldn’t know where to stop! 🙂

Only one I’d nuke is the Lemony Snicket book. I really struggle with the message it gives to kids – if you’re in distress and tell an adult, the adult won’t listen.

That said, I’m off to re-read The Giver – thank you for posting this!

7 Finola February 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

We clipped this article out of the newspaper and are saving it for library and bookstore trips. There are so many great children’s books out there!

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