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100 Best Books for Children Hardcover – April 9, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Divided into age groups, Silvey lists classics old and new, from Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's Goodnight Moon to Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly to Louis Sachar's novel Holes," wrote PW. All ages. (Aug.)Note: We have additional Children's Books Reviews at www.publishersweekly.com. Click "Web Exclusives" to get to "Review Annex."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

What makes a book a classic? Silvey, a longtime children's book specialist and literature lover, addresses that question in order to identify books that represent a "basic literary heritage." The result is a highly select list of 100 titles published from 1902 to 2002. These are titles that have been or likely will be enjoyed by children for generations: "The canon of children's books remains the best gift we could ever give our children." And the short essays that introduce this canon are likely to engage adults in surprising ways. There is, of course, a brief synopsis of each book's content plus information about the creation or creator of the book. Written in a conversational tone, these stories "behind the story" provide insight, humor, and passion for the books presented. Additional titles are presented in "Beyond the 100 Best," organized by age (birth through age 12) and also by genre. An extensive bibliography of adult references provides not only documentation but also allows for follow-up by those interested. Silvey notes that a reader's response to a book is part of its story, hence the inclusion of a section entitled "Reading Journal." Altogether, this is a highly useful book for anyone who is interested in the best of children's literature and the fascinating tales behind these books. - Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (April 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618278893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618278893
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,797,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Emily K. Paster on May 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book makes a fun gift for new parents, who sometimes need to be reminded about the classics from their childhood, as well to learn about the books published since they were kids. Like anyone who is passionate about children's literature, I have my own opinions about the books that should be listed in the top 100 and I disagree with some of the author's selections. But, I think the real value of this book is the short essays about the background behind the classic children's books we know and love. I didn't know, for example, that Ezra Jack Keats's "The Snowy Day" was controversial when it was published for his use of an African-American protagonist. So, my recommendation of this book is based less on its function as a list and more as interesting background for people interested in children's lit.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a former bookseller and librarian, I was often asked by confused parents and grandparents for book suggestions for children of a particular age. This wonderful book belongs on every family's bookshelf, not only because it will suggest the next good book to read, but because it gives a tantalizing look at the stories behind each book--and that always makes reading more fun. You're sure to find your own favorites here, as well as books you haven't come across. Even if you've read every one of these books, you'll enjoy the chatty tone of the book descriptions. I couldn't put the book down!
Looking for a book to give a new parent? A new grandparent? Think of this gift first--because you're expressing the importance of reading for another family. More importantly, buy it for yourself ... and enjoy!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book operates on many levels, in ways that I had not initially expected. Althought not a parent, I dearly love to buy books as presents for the various children in my life. Thus I bought this book to help me find suitable books to give for Christmas, birthdays, etc. The minute I started to read this book(which is full of charming anecdotes and history about the writing and illustrating of many childhood favorites, as well as about a number of more contemporary books with which I was not familiar), I realized what a wonderful resource it would be for new parents. I have now given it to 3 friends/family members with children, as well as to another friend who is halfway through writing and illustrating her first children's book. Finally, as an aging "baby boomer" myself, I can enjoy reading it to wax nostalgic over my own favorite childhood books. All in all, a very satisfying book, for a variety of reasons. Enjoy it!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw this book, I was expecting a list and not much more. But the depth and research that went in to this book is extraordinary! Anita Silvey even knew most of the authors and illustrators for these books personally - you can't get much closer to the sources than that! A delight to read, and full of insightful, delightful historical information and personalized anecdotes, this book would be a perfect addition to anyone's bookshelf, no matter what age!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a delightful book, filled with treasures for the reader, be s/he parent, librarian, writer, or fan of children's literature. Through lots of research and her extensive knowledge of the field, Silvey relates the stories and anecdotes behind some of the greatest books of our time. Readers will discover that Robert McCloskey fed ducks wine so he could sketch them for MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, that Brian Jacques of REDWALL fame went to the same school as Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and that THE STORY OF FERDINAND was censored by Franco and Hitler--but accused of promoting fascism in the US.
Here also are wonderful details of how much work, creative and editorial, goes into the making of a book that will stand the tests of time, rereading, and children's requests for "just one more chapter." Buy this and use it, forgetting about the ephemeral celebrity books now crowding the racks of your local superstore. Best of all, it's lots of fun to read. Terrific supplemental lists, too!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book, like most people, to help me find appropriate books for my children as they grow. I was an avid reader from third grade on, but I mostly read Nancy Drew and other thrillers (R.L. Stine & Christopher Pike, and eventually Stephen King), so other than the required reading in school and an odd book here and there, I wasn't very familiar with children books. And going into the book store can be overwhelming because there is just so much to choose from, and I really wanted what we would be reading worthwhile.

At first I was a little disappointed in the list, because as my children are 2 and younger, I was particularly interested in that age group, but there was only five books listed under this category (board books). However, after discovering the "beyond the 100 Best" list in the back of the book, I was no longer disappointed. Here she has several lists which include: Preschool Books, Alphabet Books, Counting Books, Nursery Rhymes, Animal/Horse Stories, Dog Stories, Fantasy, Animal Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Survival Stories, Classics, Information Books, Multicultural Books, Myths, Legends and Folklore, Poetry, and Books to Help Locate Other Titles.

In addition to these many lists, she also has the main lists from the book, but includes many other books besides those discussed. These lists are: Board Books (referred as Preschool Books in the list in the back of the book), Picture Books, Books for Beginning Readers, Books for Young Readers, Books for Middle Readers, and Books for Older Readers.

In the main part of the book, each book on the list gets a page or two of information about it (whereas, the lists in the back of the book are just lists of titles and their authors).
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