This list of “top 100 children’s books” as voted on by readers of Junior Magazine in the UK, made me think about my relationships with book characters over the years, both as mom and kid. Heidi, Charlotte & Wilbur, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, the Cat in the Hat, The Jolly Postman, James and the BFG, all of them made this UK list, but there are so many more. If I were to make up such a list, as a parent, I’d have to include some Robert Munsch titles like Love You Forever, I Am Small (Sheree Fitch), Red is Best (Kathy Stinson), Mr. Patapoum’s First Trip (Gilles Tibo), The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams), and The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
The list of picture books that stand out for me from my own childhood would include Blueberries for Sal, Snipp, Snapp and Snurr (3 Swedish boys), The Elves and the Shoemaker, Ollie Bakes a Cake, The Thornton W. Burgess books, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and so many more, the names of which I forget, but I’d love to have a chance to revisit my childhood library, as it was in 1965, or so. Characters in books become genuine friends for kids, and I guess as writers, our challenge is in trying to create those real-life, living, breathing, thinking, feeling human beings (or animals) in print, as people for young readers to get to know and spend time with as friends.
As a footnote, I had to resort to Google more than once as I was writing this post:( Who do you remember from the pages of your childhood?