Friday, February 19, 2010

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

Edited by Julia Eccleshare. Preface and frontispiece artwork by Quentin Blake.

Thumbs Up.

This is such a great book. Many thanks to my librarian for recommending it. I generally would not read a book with a title such as this. I know there are any number of books out there with reading recommendations for families. But personally, I just don't need the guilt that might come with perusing such lists. "Oh, no, I haven't gotten to this one. Or this one. Look here's another..."

But this book is a pleasure from beginning to end. There is way too much material to enjoy in a mere three week library loan time. But an indulgent pleasure none the less.

The book is arranged by age range. F0r each title, it lists title, author, illustrator and other publisher information and a brief review of the book. Reviewers also note any awards the books have received and might include a note on any special significance the book had, such as it's literary, artistic, or social import. Often a well known quote is included. For many titles is also included a little box with further books in the series, other books by the author, or titles of similar style and genre.

I especially like that most books are portrayed with their original cover, many of whose titles therefore appear in the original in foreign language. On the picture, then, Little Brown Bear shows Petit Ours Brun est grognon. Not really earth shattering, but fun to see.

My kids of all ages have enjoyed paging through it. They sit two or three together and point out all the ones they know and talk about the ones they don't. For the several who don't read independently, this is based solely on the cover images.

I would say one drawback might be that the book is heavy and although hard covered, the spine is very flexible. I am not sure how well it would hold up to constant use by little hands. It just feels like it might not hold up to the wear and tear.

I had no idea there were so many wonderful children's books in the world and will certainly be requesting some of them. I will also eventually try to purchase my own copy of this, because I would like to mark off the books we've read and have a resource to consult when I want to request another title or two. But until then, the book is available at my library. I know where to find it. I just have to share.

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