Friday, June 15, 2007

My 25 favorite under-appreciated children's novels

Sherry recently asked about favorite under-appreciated children's novels and I was able to narrow mine down to 25 - certainly it's more than the one implied in her question, but (thankfully) less than 100 (or 1000). Jacy and I worked together to write one summary sentence for each book.

1. Winterbound - Margery Bianco. A group of siblings snowed in without their mother manage to competently care for one another until the snow melts.

2. The Secret Summer - Ruth Chew. A brother and sister run away from Brooklyn to spend the summer at a lake.

3. Five Dolls in a House - Helen Clare. Elizabeth discovers that the dolls in her dollhouse are alive when she shrinks to visit them.

4. The Trolley Car Family - Eleanor Clymer. Mr. Parker, a trolley-car driver, moves his family into his trolley-car after losing his job.

5. One by Sea - Scott Corbett. Nye, a ship-wrecked, motherless boy, must race over land and sea to rescue his father.

6. The Family from One End Street - Eve Garnett. An English family without much money, but with lots of children have many adventures.

7. The Great House - Cynthia Harnett. Historical fiction set in late 17th-century England involving a brother, a sister, and their architect father.

8. Vinegar Boy - Alberta Hawse. A scarred boy has a life-altering experience with Christ during the crucifixion.

9. No Children, No Pets - Marion Holland. After three children, their mother, and their pet cat move into an apartment complex in Florida filled with elderly residents, the children solve several mysteries.

10. The 69th Grandchild - Mabel Leigh Hunt. Susie Henrietta is the youngest of 69 grandchildren in a warm and loving extended family.

11. The Hidden Treasure of Glaston - Eleanore M. Jewett. Hugh, a lame boy left at a monastery by his knighted father, seeks and finds Arthurian treasure.

12. The Golden Name Day - Jennie Lindquist. Nancy comes to stay with her Swedish grandparents while her sick mother recuperates, and learns all about her family's heritage.

13. Storm over Skye - Allan Campbell McLean. When several sheep are stolen, Niall and his brother seek to discover who is behind the crime.

14. Me and Caleb - Franklyn E. Meyer. Buddy and his younger brother, Caleb, have hilarious adventures in Missouri.

15. Dangerous Island - Helen Mather-Smith Mindlin. Three children are accidentally swept out to sea and wash up on a mysterious, sinking, island.

16. The Zero Stone - Andre Norton. After the man he is apprenticed to is murdered, Murdoch teams up with an alien creature named Eet to discover the secret of the Zero Stone.

17. David and the Phoenix - Edmond Ormondroyd. David climbs a mountain behind his home and finds and befriends a phoenix.

18. Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce. Tom, staying at his uncle's house, finds a clock that enables him to travel in time in his uncle's garden.

19. Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service - Keith Robertson. Henry and his friend, Midge, spend the summer baby-sitting for a variety of clients.

20. The Velvet Room - Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Robin moves to California with her migrant family and discovers a beautiful retreat in an abandoned mansion.

21. The Winged Watchman - Hilda Van Stockum. A Dutch family, living in and maintaining a windmill during World War II in Nazi-occupied Holland, find a way to fight for their country.

22. Peppermints in the Parlor - Barbara Brooks Wallace. Newly orphaned, Emily is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle, only to discover that evil has taken abode their home in the form of Mrs. Meaching.

23. They Loved to Laugh - Kathryn Worth. Orphaned young lady moves in with large Quaker family in North Carolina and learns to enjoy life.

24. Patterns on the Wall - Elizabeth Yates. Journeyman stenciller Jared Austin travels about New England during the year "Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death."

25. The Mystery of the Great Swamp - Marjorie A. Zapf. Jeb discovers a secret island in the Okefenokee Swamp.

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Blogger Sherry said...

Great list. I'm going to have to find some of those I haven't read.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I love The Secret Summer and Peppermints in the Parlor. I'll have to check out some of your other suggestions. Thanks!


9:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What a fantastic list of treasures!

10:13 PM  
Blogger Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Thanks for taking the time to do this! I haven't read any of them and have only heard of one or two, but many of them sound like the kinds of books that my daughter likes to read (and that I like her to read)--old fashioned adventures!

Would you specifically recommend a few for my daughter to get started on--she just finished 3rd grade. Reading level isn't really a problem, but subject matter/interest is.

I assume that you've read the Penderwicks a 2006 release by Jeanne Birdsall, but if you haven't, dig in. It reminds me of old-fashioned books like this.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Thank you for this list. A lot of these books seem adventuresome, inspiring kids to see what they can find out there and take responsibility to solve difficult problems. I will keep this list in mind when I do my Christmas shopping for my youngr friends.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Smaragda said...

Hi! I'm from Greece and I always considered children literature as my favorite genre. I'm so happy every time I discover new treasures to read, and I'm definitely going to find several of these. Thanks!!

8:22 AM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

Thanks for the list! I'm happy to say, that several of the books you mentioned are already on our shelves. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the rest. :-)

1:50 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Great list of my favorites. I am trying to remember a book from the 1940's(?) about a family who made a home out of a one room country schoolhouse. It was similar in ways to The Trolley Car Family. Does anyone know the title or author of that book?


3:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Bob, the only book I can think of (and it's about a teacher and pupil surviving the Blizzard of 1949 in a one room schoolhouse) is Lois Lenski's book, Prairie School. I have some old copies of The HornBook magazine and I'll see if I can find anything in them that might be the book you're looking for.

3:31 PM  

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