My top ten childrens' books of all time
An Influence on Life
When I was a child, I loved reading, and this is a passion that has stayed with me into adulthood. I love to get lost in a good book, letting the stories take me to places I will probably never see, or situations I am highly unlikely to find myself in. Now I have a daughter, and even at the age of two she has two boxes full of books, and whenever she is asked what she wants for Christmas from Santa this year, there is always a book on the list. So, seeing as I've been thinking about it lately, I thought I would compile a list of my own top 10 children's books!
1. Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter
This delightful, but naughty, bunny has kept children amused for years. The stories of Peter and his sisters typify the stereotypes of naughty little boys and good little girls, and Peter has numerous adventures and mishaps along the way. Although a selection of funny and heartwarming stories, they have a certain moral current underpinning them - doing as you are told by your parents! I always loved these tales, and still have the toys and the books from when I was little!
2. The Cat in the Hat/ The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - Dr Seuss
These books are funny and light hearted, but with a good lesson for many children, about respecting other people's property. Being only 26, I have seen many people my own age disrespecting others and their property, and teaching children this concept is one of the most important things any parent can do. The cat, as with many of Dr Seuss's characters, is a point of focus for the fun of the book, but he is taught to respect things belonging to other people, and he even tidies up after himself (something that seems to be difficult to teach a 2 year old)!
3. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
A heartwarming tale of four sisters and the trials they face growing up, this story has always been a favourite of mine since I was about 6 or 7. The banter between them forms great dialogue for young women to read, and although set in a historical context, many of the issues they face a still relevant for teenage girls now.
4. The BFG - Roald Dahl
This is a beautifully written, exciting book about a little girl called Sophie who encounters a giant when she is still awake during the witching hour. She is kidnapped by him, but fortunately he is the only friendly giant, and does not wish to hurt her. He only wishes to make sure all children have good dreams. Between them, Sophie and the BFG manage to convince the Queen, several other world leaders, and members of the armed forces to defeat the nine giants who like to eat 'human beans', especially children! This tale is another where good defeats evil, and it gives a distinct ray of hope into a world where, especially at the moment, there seems to be nothing but bad news.
5. Matilda - Roald Dahl
Another magical tale from one of the most famous children's writers of all time, Matilda captures the tale of one child's determination and attitude to do the best she can, regardless of her situation and background. Coming from a family where nobody really cares what she does, Matilda takes herself off to the library and starts reading all of the books there from the age of three. By the time she starts school, it is apparent to her teacher Miss Honey that Matilda has a special talent. But Matilda is not the only one who has had a terrible upbringing, as it turns out the evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is Miss Honey's aunt and has raised her since her father died. Matilda uses her talents and skills to get herself and Miss Honey out of their relative situations, and into a better life. This teaches that determination and the will to succeed can take you anywhere.
6. Mr Men - Roger Hargreaves
These books, designed to delight and amuse children, have become almost an institution in British childrens' literature. Roger Hargreaves first created the Mr Men in the 1970's, starting with Mr Tickle, and went on to create over 40 characters before he died. His son Adam, who sparked the idea for the Mr Men, has now taken over the idea and has created special edition characters and books.
7. Winnie the Pooh - A A Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh is an all time classic of children's books. Originating as a story written about the author's son and his teddy bear, Pooh bear has become a massive brand in it's own right. Christopher Robin and Pooh bear have lots of adventures with their friends, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore and Piglet, all of whom were Christopher's own toys. Additions made at the time were Owl and Rabbit, and later, when Disney bought the rights to the characters, they added Gopher, Lumpy, and several others characters as well. However, for most, the traditional stories will always be the best, and the first books are still all in high demand. I'm lucky, I still have the 1980's editions from when I was born to pass on to my little girl!
8. The Chronicles of Narnia - C S Lewis
There are seven books in this series of stories, all of which transport the reader to the magical kingdom of Narnia. Each takes place at a different time in the history of Narnia, and the story takes the reader through the mystery of events, the majesty of the knigs and queens of Narnia, the trials they face, and the strengths they find in the face of adversity. These books always had me enthralled from the start, weaving a tale of magic and daring, with bravery not to be rivalled anywhere.
9. Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland is an amazingly magical piece of literature which can be enjoyed by all ages, and gives rise to some of the most imaginitive storytelling ever known. This book has enchanted children and adults alike for many years, with the story of Alice, a young girl who fell down a rabbit hole and experienced what can only be described as a very wierd and wonderful world! With the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and many more, this is a fantastical tale of epic proportions, which has been adapted to stage and screen on many occasions.
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Although this book is designed for very young children, many remember it as a favourite book as they get older. I know I do! The colours and the artwork are fantastic, making it an easy read for parents to keep small children occupied, and the simple language means that slightly older chioldren who are just learning to read can master it quite quickly.
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