Sunday, October 2, 2011

1001 Children's Books You Must Read

The title: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
The authors: Julia Eccleshare (editor)
Publication: Quintessence, 2009 
Got it from: SC, Dec 2009

I can't say enough about this fabulous book, which has taken me almost two years to read (mostly over hundreds of breakfasts). Nearly all of the 1001 books features a lavish illustration of the original book cover and sometimes an interior illustration, along with a write-up from one of the children's book experts who contributed to this work. The book is divided into five sections based on age (0-3, 3+, 5+, 8+ and 12+) and goes chronologically after that. Although most of the write-ups are from relatively unknown editors, publishers, professors and writers, a few famous writers contribute: for instance, Meg Cabot writes about Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Margaret Atwood talks about her history with Anne of Green Gables.

Fans of children's literature will be delighted to find their favourite children's books (they included The Elephant and the Bad Baby! and Alfie Gets in First!) and probably be outraged that their other favourites were not included (a whole pantheon of amazing Canadian children's literature was left out). The usual big names are there, but also a surprising amount I've never heard of, considering I've worked with children's literature in the library from the age of 13. There are a lot of classics from other countries, but the majority of the works are from the UK, which to be fair is where most of the best children's literature comes from. Oddly enough, the one exception is the 12+ section, which seems to be dominated by Australian works.

I particularly enjoyed the picture book section and reading about the classics from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After reading this, I can't help but wonder if many of the texts were chosen because of their interest to adults rather than being particularly beloved by children. No matter, this is a book to treasure forever, and to consult for years to come.


Okay, I'm getting giddy with excitement here. Two of my favourite internet ladies have just released new books. Sarah Wendall of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is publishing Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels and Kate Beaton of Hark, A Vagrant is publishing a collection with the same title. I love Hark, a Vagrant like you wouldn't believe. It actually seems to be sold out, since I got notification shipping was delayed on it, despite having pre-ordered it months ago. This should make my fall reading even more fantastic. Have I mentioned I'll be reading and posting a whole lot more now that it's fall? Boo yeah!

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