Monday, August 3, 2009

Kristina's Top 10 Kids' Books

Recently, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote about his pick of the top 10 best children's books of all time. His article garnered some controversy, and we at Christian Children's Book Review found ourselves wondering how we would choose differently.

However, as we began compiling our own "Top 10" lists, we started to have more sympathy for Kristof. As any book lover can tell you, choosing just 10 books for a list of favorites is a true challenge. Tell us to write about our favorite 100 books, and we'll find the task much easier. But there is value in brevity, so for the next few days, we'll each post our personal list of the best 10 children's books ever written.

Personally, I found many much-loved books (Curious George, anyone?) didn't make it onto my list. I'm sure each reviewer at CCBR found the same. This doesn't mean we don't read these books - often! - to our children, and it doesn't mean we don't recommend them. It just means there were 10 other books we thought were better.

So without further appology, here's my personal list of the top 10 kids' books of all time:

10. Stories Jesus Told
by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen. I've yet to find a better children's book about Jesus' parables. Simple text, fun illustrations - a really terrific book for kids! Read my full review here.

9. Aesop's Fables. Although these old stories (actually, they are anecdotes) frequently mention Roman gods (especially Jupiter), they offer wise advice children and adults can both learn from.

8. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. There are many great Dr. Seuss books, but this is probably the best. What kid can't relate to thinking they don't like a food, even though they've never tasted it?

7. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. What child can resist the sweet and bumbling Pooh Bear, gloomy Eeyore, fearful Piglet, exuberant Tigger, and all the other friends of the Hundred Acre Wood? If you've never read the original Winnie the Pooh stories, you're in for a whimsical treat!

6. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If I could only choose one book for my babies, it would be Goodnight Moon. Although the text is deceptively simple, this story has mad appeal for young children, who love to hear (and see - there are many details to discover in the black and white and brightly colored illustrations) about a young rabbit who just can't seem to fall asleep.

5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. A beautiful tale about loving and being loved, The Velveteen Rabbit will warm the hearts of gradeschool children and parents alike.

4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A charming tale of guilt, redemption, and love, especially ideal for girls from first grade to - well, adulthood.

3. The Laura Ingalls Wilder collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Follow the high and low points of an average girl and learn a whole lot about American frontier history in these books based on the author's real life.

2. Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones. If I had to choose just one Bible for my children, this would be it. The illustrations fascinate my daughter, and the text is not only interesting to even small children, but every story told points to the fact that the entire Bible is about Jesus. Read my full review here.

1. Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter. It's impossible for me to pick just one Beatrix Potter tale to include in this list. With gorgeous illustrations and delightful stories about Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Kitten and more, no family should be without the complete Beatrix Potter collection.

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1 comment:

Beverly said...

Ahhh - The Secret Garden! I really love that one. We also have Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales, and I'd have to agree that no family should be without it!