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Thursday Three: Classics

Posted by Pam on March 11, 2010 at 10:33 AM in ClassicsRecommendations
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I was actually going to write an entirely different post today, but then I chanced upon today's installment of the Top 100 Children's Novels and I had to go back to that topic. Last time I wrote about three (or four) books that I had suggested that had made it on the list so far. Now two (or three) more of my choices have come in the same batch, and they are all classics - which fits in with today's Share a Story -Shape a Future theme of Old Favorites, New Classics.

To explain, Share a Story -Shape a Future is a weeklong online event contributing ideas about ways to engage kids as readers. It's not an author or book tour, but instead a promotion of books, reading, literacy, and ideas. And it's fabulous. Tomorrow our own Jen Robinson hosts the theme of Reading for the Next Generation, and I'll be sharing my thoughts with "Reading is Boring (Sometimes)." Don't miss this wonderful resource of reading tips, suggestions, thoughts, and essays.

Coming back to today's post, I thought it was fate that it would be a classics theme on the same day that three of my favorite classics hit the list. It also figures into Jen's request for books for her baby (Congrats, Jen!), because these are the perfect read-aloud books for down the line. In fact, I'd argue that at least Winnie-the-Pooh is intended for reading to your child then waiting for her to be old enough to read it on her own.

by A.A. Milne
Winnie-the-PoohThe nostalgia factor is so high on this title, that I was surprised that it only came in at #30. Though perhaps the years of Disneyfication of Pooh have finally taken a toll on this impeccable, imaginative classic. After years of making the characters preschool fodder, the original stories have all been lost in the shuffle. Kids who are finally old enough to appreciate the sophisticated language and nuance, have tossed aside Pooh as baby books. It's a crying shame. The only advice I have for new parents (Jen), is to own the classic set and ban any and all Disneyfied versions with a fierceness usually reserved for smoking near the baby.

A Little Princess
by Francis Hodgson Burnett
A Little PrincessHitting the list at #28, is a book about triumphing in the face of adversity, and keeping a positive spirit and nature throughout tough times.When I was young, I read it, lost it, didn't remember what it was called, and for some reason didn't seem to ask anybody, but kept looking for the book for years. I remember the joy of finding it again, on the shelves of a bookstore, and going home to read it again and again. Sigh. This book was absolute magic to me in elementary school years, but when I read it again as an adult I couldn't capture that same feeling. That's okay though, because my childhood memories of the tale completely trump my adult sensibilities.

Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
Alice in WonderlandI have to admit that I'm cheating by mentioning the book that is #27, because I didn't actually submit it as one of my choices. But it's so much a part of my own favorite books, that I had to go back to my original email to see that I didn't suggest it. I guess it slipped through the cracks - of my mind. Here's a book that is entirely about imagination, and by that I mean one that gives the reader's imagination a complete workout as she visualizes the worlds and events of the story. It's one of the reasons that I see the book as a perfect one to read aloud, because that frees the child from the work of reading the words, allowing her mind the space to imagine the scenes in this fantastic adventure.

You can read the extensive write-ups at Fuse#8 at School Library Journal, which include the variety of cover art and a few video clips as well, by clicking on the links above. You can add your own thoughts on these touchstone classics here in the comments below.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.


Terry D writes...

I was SO hoping you'd have some classics today. I cam this close to asking for it in my post over at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub (

Clearly, fate isn't done with us, because my opening line is ... "I'm late, I'm Late, for a very important date.

Jen Robinson writes...

Thanks, Pam, for both congratulations and recommendations. A Little Princess was actually #3 on my Top 10 list to Betsy, and I was thrilled to see it on the list today, too. As for Pooh, we do have a compendium of the original version. And I will take your excellent advice to stay away from Disneyfied versions from this moment forward.

Looking forward to your post for Share a Story tomorrow!!

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