Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wrapping Up the Children's Chapter Book Poll

Betsy of A Fuse #8 Production has finally hit number one in her 100 Top Children's Chapter Book Poll countdown.  There were many books that I hadn't heard of but I'm going to use the list to fill in some of my missing reads.  I've read the top five but then I start to falter a bit and I think my final count is that I've read 40 of the books.  I suppose it's not too bad considering how new some of the books are that made it to the list.  I haven't been a kid for quite a while now!

Here was the list that I sent in.  The votes were weighted by what number you assigned them so my number one is my top pick.  I've put in what position each book ended up on the list in parenthesis after the title (with a link to the post about it).
  1. The Wizard of Oz (40) - L. Frank Baum -- I really, really wanted to be Dorothy.  Though I loved some of the stories and characters later in the series better, this is the book that started it all.  Baum really knew how to write for children and also push the boundaries -- to let children know that is was okay to not be safe all of the time as long as you had a way to get back.
  2. Charlotte's Web (1) - E.B. White -- This one is the classic story of love and friendship and even loss.  The animal personalities are well thought out and the story moves at a good pace.
  3. The Secret Garden (8) - Francis Hodgson Burnett -- Every child wants a secret place of their own but it's even better when the secret is shared with a few good friends.
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (3) - J.K. Rowling -- Enough said?
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (19) - Roald Dahl -- I think that this could possibly be the most child-friendly book title in the whole world.  It could have just been called "Chocolate Factory" and it would be just as amazing!  And seriously ... four grandparents in one bed?  How did he come up with these things?!?
  6. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (4) - C.S. Lewis -- Apparently I have a thing for escapism.  But this one always felt special to me because even though they were kids, they were made kings and queens and not the lesser princes and princesses.
  7. The Phantom Tollbooth (10) - Norton Juster -- Just loved it.
  8. The Magician's Elephant - Kate DiCamillo -- When I read this one recently, I called it an instant classic.  It has all of the elements that make a book appeal to all readers.
  9. The Graveyard Book (80) - Neil Gaiman -- Another "destined-to-be-classic" book, I love the untidy ending and the irregular family.
  10. The Children of Green Knowe (98) - L.M. Boston -- I missed this series somehow when I was a kid but it's a beautiful connecting of past and present and I love that the grandmother never stopped believing.
Only one of my books didn't make the Top 100 which I think is pretty amazing (and not surprising since it was such a new book).  So which of my picks do you agree with?  Which obvious books was I missing?  (I've never read any Laura Ingalls Wilder or L.M. Montgomery, by the way.)  The ones I didn't include but wished I could have were Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh.  And I totally disagree with how low The Wizard of Oz ended up on the list because of the number of other works it has inspired and all of the pop culture references.  Here are some of the ones that got votes but just not enough to make it and these are the next twenty on the list (101-120).  And finally, two posts of everything else.  I was glad to see that two other people voted for The Magician's Elephant!

Heading back to the grade school library,


  1. I planned to post my list yesterday, but didn't have time. Will do next week. 8 of mine made the list.

    Kicking myself for not including Wizard of Oz!

  2. I like your list. I've just recently read "The Secret Garden" and it was magical.

  3. I love lists like these ... and I agree with many of the top 10.

  4. Huh, I'm surprised Charlotte's Web made it in first place. I mean I love Charlotte's Web! I just wouldn't have anticipated that it would be the number one children's book of all the children's books.

  5. Lenore - I would have loved to make a list of 15 or 20 books instead! I can't wait to see your list.

    Booktobook - Thanks!

    Jenners - I'm happy to see the books that match with mine but I'm usually more excited to see all of the books that are new to me.

    Jenny - I think it's a matter of exposure. EVERYONE has read Charlotte's Web because it's not gender-specific. Both boys and girls read it. Actually, not until you really get to #7 on the list (The Giver) do you have books that are more likely to be chosen by one gender.

  6. Interesting poll - depends on whether you're talking about favourite children's books when you were a child, or your children's ones. Wind in the Willows and A Wrinkle in Time were my two when I was young.

    And you're right about the gender-thing - my son's favourites over the years were Thomas the Tank Engine, Harry Potter and the Alex Rider series - whereas my daughter read mostly girly books (fairies, unicorns) and now she's moved on to the Georgia Nicolson series - I did my best to get both of them interested in other books when they were very young, with trips to the library and the bookshop to choose books, but once they got to two in my son's case, four in my daughter's - that was it.

  7. Tracy - I think I did it as a mix of both ... ones that I loved as a child that stuck with me enough that I've enjoyed them again as an adult and the rare ones that I've read as an adult and wished I could be a child again to experience them.

    My son is luckily still open to more gender neutral books (and even a few girly ones) so I'm getting them in while I can!