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If this is the best children’s literature, then children’s literature is in big trouble.

February 21, 2012

Scholastic has released a list of the top 100 children’s books.  The list was reportedly culled from nominations from “literacy experts and mom bloggers.”  (Sorry, dad bloggers – everyone knows that only moms are important.)

Among those books not appearing on the list:

  • Aesop’s Fables.
  • Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales.
  • Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz.
  • Jean de Brunoff’s Story of Babar.
  • Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country.
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.
  • Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.
  • Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit.
  • Anything by Alexandre Dumas, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, or Jules Verne.

Now, my point here is that the books and authors I have listed above are known to almost every English reader!  So how did they not make the list?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2012 6:21 pm

    What? No Beatrix Potter, no Stan and Jan Berenstain, no Lore Segal either?

  2. February 21, 2012 10:02 pm

    Wow, that list seriously needs some subcategorization. “Good night Moon” and “The Phantom Tollbooth” on the same list? How do you even compare books for beginning readers with books for experienced readers?

  3. February 21, 2012 10:15 pm

    Kurk, Victoria Gaile — good points all around. Really, the whole idea of a list is absurd. But for me, the list is especially painful — so many of the books I loved as a child did not make the cut — Alice and Through the Looking Glass have been favorites since I first read them.

    I also have to point out there appears to be considerable self-promotion involved in this list for Scholastic. How else to explain the inclusion of The Invention of Hugo Cabret — published by Scholastic. I don’t understand how a book becomes a classic in four years. The vigorous denials of Scholastic of any bias just increase my suspicion.

  4. February 22, 2012 11:00 am

    I meant to mention James Marshall also. Where is he on this list? Marshall is somewhat literary with some of his children’s books (e.g., His “George and Martha” series of books is a nod to the characters of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and his works have rightly won awards:

    His Goldilocks and the Three Bears in which she says “Patooie” won the 1989 Caldecott Medal. And in 2007, the ALA awarded Marshall the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

    Only one of his many many many wonderful books was published by Scholastic. Hmmmm! So how many of these on this Scholastic list have won the Caldecott or the Laura Ingalls Wilder awards?

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