Wicked Wednesday – Favorite Children’s Book

Wicked Wednesday again, and we’re continuing our “What else do we read besides mystery fiction” series. Today we’re talking children’s books – maybe we don’t read them all the time, but we all must have a couple that stand out that we’d gift to the young people in our lives. So Wickeds, which book would you pick?

Liz: I’ve gotta go back to Dr. Seuss for this one – Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It’s so simple but inspirational and you can go back at any age for a pep talk! My favorite quote: “You have brains in your head you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Jessie: I love books by Roald Dahl. The Twits is one that I love, as is Esio Trot.  I also adore books by Lloyd Alexander. His Prydain Chronicles books  are amongst my favorites. I also adored his West Mark trilogy. For budding mystery lovers of the right age, it’s hard to beat The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

Edith: I am going to chime in with a couple of middle-grade books by Elizabeth Atkinson.Island-high-res She had a tough time as a tween, and writes books to help other kids in that situation get through a difficult age. I, Emma Freake is a wonderful, engaging story about a girl who feels like a misfit – until she goes alone to meet her father’s quirky family for the first time, and they’re all tall redheads like her. Atkinson’s latest, The Island of Beyond, is her first story featuring a boy. I highly recommend all Elizabeth’s books – and she lives down the road from Stephen King in Maine (he jogs by her house in the mornings), so you know she’s absorbing super-creative energies in addition to her own.

Sherry: I’ve probably said this a million times here, but I love the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. They are based on Maud’s life growing up in Mankato, Minnesota. They start when Betsy is five and first meets Tacy who moves in across the street. They continue through the last book Betsy’s Wedding. As Betsy grows up the reading level increases. They are wonderful, warm books. I still read them.

smile for auntieBarb: One of the wonderful things about being a grandparent is that you get to revisit your children’s favorite books, and sometimes even your own favorite books from childhood. Some of those are classics like The Cat in the Hat, and some are eccentric books that just tickled your family for whatever reason. One of my kids’ favorites, and now Viola’s, was Smile for Auntie, in which a babushka-wearing aunt tortures a baby with tickles and silly faces, trying to get him to smile, and he does–the moment she goes away. (This book was given to my son Robert when he was an infant, by his aunt, who thought it was hilarious.)

Julie: Too many to name! I love Robert McCloskey books–Make Way For Duckings was a favorite. I also loved Harriet the Spy, and (natch) Nancy Drew.

Readers: What are your favorite children’s books (and remember, twelve-year-olds are still children)?

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54 thoughts on “Wicked Wednesday – Favorite Children’s Book

  1. Ah, Sherry, I agree! Loved that my mom introduced me to Betsy Tacy! And I always liked all the various animals in Beatrix Potter.

  2. Earliest I remember reading all by myself? Probably the A. A. Milne books, both poems and Winnie-the-Pooh (yes, I still have them). Plus Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson–a lovely depiction of the world of the imagination. Later? Nancy Drew, of course, Louisa May Alcott’s series (Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys), plus we had a series of the classics, like Treasure Island, with illustrations by N.C. Wyeth–I read a lot of those.

  3. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, of course. I remember a series of books with the theme “You Were There.” One was “You Were There With Florence Nightingale.” I can’t recall the other titles, but I liked them.

    One of my favorites was a book called “Snow Treasure” that I read in 4th grade. It was about children in Norway who fooled the Nazis during WWII. I got it out of the school library. About ten years ago, we had a grade school reunion and the library still had the very same book. When I opened it up and pulled the sign-out slip out of the pocket, my 4th grade signature was still there where I had signed it out. It obviously hadn’t circulated much in forty years. (And I just Googled it–I could actually buy a copy!)

    As a teen I loved the gothic mysteries–Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart.

  4. What was I reading at 12? Probably a lot of Nancy Drew. But I always read way above my grade level. so I wouldn’t be surprised if I was also reading Tolkien (my dad bought me a boxed set of hardcovers of Lord of the Rings in 7th grade and I still have them).

    But I have a soft spot for Dr. Seuss – especially OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO.

  5. Such a fun post! Plenty to add to the reading list for Dash–and coincidentally, a student I’ve had for three classes and who’s graduating stopped by with a new edition of The Westing Game for me, a small thank-you gift. I’ve never read! But will now….

  6. Joyce, I remember Snow Treasure too! Very exciting. How funny. For my own childhood favorites, I too have to go with Little Women (I pretty much read all Alcott’s books, including the obscure ones) and the Betsy-Tacy books. Something made me think of Elizabeth Enright recently and I re-read all the Melendy series. Anyone know those? They held up very well too. And the LIttle House books, of course.

  7. I loved The Princess and the Goblins, by George MacDonald – read it when I was in the second grade, sharing the large chair with my older sister, so we could read it at the same time. Also read as many of the Trixie Beldon books as I could get, then Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Loved Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Quite a few of my favorite books as a young child were in Slovenian; I have copies of some of them still.

    • I remember The Princess and the Goblin, Vida! I can even see in my mind what the cover looked like. It was another book from the school library. The Secret Garden, too.

      • Oh, yes, The Secret Garden!!! Well, the lists just go on and on, don’t they? One of the benefits of growing up without a television is that reading was THE major entertainment in our house.

  8. Too many to list! Of course I had every Nancy Drew (I loved the shelf of yellow covers) but I was also a huge fan of The Westing Game and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. (Art, you will adore the Westing Game.) Now I’d say that Miss Rumphius is one of my all time favorite children’s books but I didn’t read it until about ten years ago.

  9. I agree with Jessie — I loved the Prydian Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (thank you Mrs. Naylor, my 5th grade teacher). Of course, Nancy Drew, then (in no particular order) Magic Elizabeth, The Saturdays, To Light A Single Candle, Mrs. Mike, anything Madeleine L’Engle, Anne of Green Gables, Meg mysteries, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler …

  10. Ack, this is so hard! My absolute favorite would be A Gathering of Days by Joan Blos. But also, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Catherine Called Birdy, Prairie Songs, Anne of Green Gables, Blue Willow, Pippi Longstocking….Some of those I read as an adult. Still read as an adult, for that matter.

  11. I was an avid Nancy Drew fan, but was also drawn to children’s illustrators like Kate Greenway and Tasha Tudor. At a younger age (and again with my kids, I loved Robert McCloskey). I collect vintage children’s books 🙂 I got my voracious reader (daughter) hooked on Nancy Drew as well as other mysteries like the Dorothy Gilmore’s Mrs. Polifax and Agatha Christie. We also read Brian Jacques’ “Mossflower” (? Series name ?) series, which reminded me of the illustrations by a Maine artist, Maurice (Jake) Day of Damariscotta. As kids, our mom would take us to see his artwork, mostly of lively animals, at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. Does anyone else remember Maurice Day who was a prime illustrator of Bambi for Walt Disney? He illustrated a number of school readers as well. Such good memories! From all of you 🙂

  12. Such great suggestions. I hope you all will read the Agatha, Edgar and Anthony nominees and winners for new children’s fun reads and classics as well. I enjoyed Stuart Gibbs’ series of “Spy School” books, Penny Warner’s “Code Buster’s Club” series, “OCDaniel” by Westley King, “Trapped” by Pam DeVoe, and “The BlackThorn Key” by Kevin Sands this year. Reading a children’s mystery or classic between exemplary adult fiction can be inspirational.

  13. I’ve mentioned before how much I loved the Trixie Belden series, which I discovered just before 7th grade. I still love those characters.

    No one has mentioned Beverly Clearly yet. Her books were always so much fun, and her chapter “Ramona and the PTA” in the book Henry and Ribsy is a master class in writing comedy.

    For some more modern books…

    If you haven’t discovered the pictures books of Mo Willems you are missing out. They are a delight for all ages.

    I absolutely love Stuart Gibbs. All of his books are outstanding.

    And in the fantasy department, I love Shannon Messenger’s books. They are highly addictive.

  14. The Marvelous Mud Washing Machine. I must have read the pages out of that book. I love the adventuresome boy and how he had so much fun getting dirty and getting clean.

  15. I believe every newborn should have his/her own copy of Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Make Way for Ducklings, Where the Wild Things Are. and Harry the Dirty Dog.
    My favorite books for older readers are Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables and the Mr. Limoncello series.

  16. OMG and how could I forget the Harry Potter series. But that series was meant for readers of all ages, young and old.

  17. Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, later gothic mysteries {favorite The Lute and the Glove}, Agatha Christie. Tolkien in college.

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