Last Thursday, the BBC released a poll of book critics from all around the world that rated the all time top 21 best books for children under 10. The list includes picture books for toddlers and chapter books for middle grade readers. It is a fascinating list and I actually respect the order they came up with.
As a father of three, and (surprise!) a former young person myself, I have read many of the titles listed. Of course, these books are famous and I suppose most people have. Here are the first 10:
- Charlotte’s Web, EB White
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
- Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
- Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
- A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin
- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle
Considering that works like Phillip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials and Ursula K. LeGuin’s, A Wizard of Earthsea made the list, I must say it is surprising that Harry Potter was nowhere to be found on the full list of 21. Also interesting that not a single book by Dr. Seuss made the cut. Seriously? Neither The Cat in the Hat nor How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Yet one look at the list and you can see how rough and tumble the competition is. And though it may be too recent a publication to have made this list, I suspect Neal Gaiman’s Coraline is going to be one for the ages.
Roald Dahl is the only author to appear on the list more than once. He made it for Matilda at #16 and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at #8. The oldest book on the list is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, first published in 1865. The newest title on the list is His Dark Materials. The first volume of Pullman’s trilogy (The Golden Compass) was published in 1995, the last in 2000.
As mentioned in a previous post, I am a fanatical admirer of LeGuin, so I was pleased to see her make the top 10. The only living author to do so, I might add. Finally, I find it funny that they stretched to 21 titles. I suspect they did it just so they could include the book that was placed in that last slot, J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit.
See the full article in the British publication, Telegraph.
Do you have a favorite children’s book you think should have made the list? Is there one that made the list that you think should not have? Leave a comment through the link at the top of this post and let me know!