desert island question

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at
Mon Apr 26 06:24:24 EDT 2004

Allison wrote:
> The Changeover by Mahy is also very good.
> A chapter book.

I think this is YA, not a children's book, though.

Mahy's children's books are wonderful- Raging Robots and Unruly Uncles is terrific, very funny. I like the way it deals with not being the sort of child your parents wanted. (While not being message-y!)

> What A Mess books are also fabulous in this
> regard.   

Oh, yes! Some other picture books- the Mog books and the Shirley and Tom books are good classic ones- also the Ahlbergs' books like Each Peach Pear Plum. Then there's Goodnight Moon, and Pat The Bunny, and Richard Scarry's wonderful world of animals, and Green Eggs And Ham. Babette Cole has written some funny picture books recently. Kathleen Hale's Henrietta the Faithful Hen, about a hen who finds Roman ruins in the garden, seems to be OOP but her Orlando books are available. She was an artist- are there differences between picture books written by their artists, and those written by one person and illustrated by another? Did Edward Ardizzone write any of the books he illustrated?

Chapter books for younger children- Dick King-Smith's animal books are really good and so is My Naughty Little Sister. Alison Uttley's books evoke the countryside (pre-mechanisation) so vividly and have some magical details. I prefer the Sam Pig series to the Little Grey Rabbit ones, but both are good.

Elizabeth Enright's books are some of my favourite American children's books, especially The Saturdays. 

It might be interesting to look at books from a series where one book has been filmed and the others haven't. Mary Poppins Opens The Door, or Tik-tok Of Oz.

If I were doing it I'd put in a couple of different collections of fairy tales, from the Red Fairy Book and the Brothers Grimm to modern fairy tales like The Paperbag Princess- probably some "Stories from other lands" kind of books, as well. Nothing like Ragnarok and Hades to give a child nightmares.

Are you including poetry? Allan Ahlberg's Please Mrs Butler collection of poems about school is very good. Michael Rosen has lots of good collections. Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, Spike Milligan's Silly Verse For Kids, Now We Are Six, A Child's Garden of Verses. Children who like Lemony Snicket would probably love Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and Belloc's Cautionary Tales. The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes- which will probably get debate about the children's oral tradition going, because everyone will know diferent versions of the common ones.

Do show us the reading list when you have written it!

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