Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 10 Favorite Childhood Books

It's Tuesday again so here I am with another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week they're letting us pick whatever top ten list we want. I wish I was clever enough to think up not only an interesting but that I can actually come up with items for the list. So instead of coming up with my own, I'll use an old topic The B&B came up with that I never did. So here are my top 10 Favorite Childhood books

1. The Golden Book of Sharks and Whales by Kathleen Daly, illustrated by James Spence - This was my absolute favorite book when I was little. I can still quote the second page of the book. I don't know why I can quote that one and not the first page, but whatever. The shark section was always my favorite, though oddly enough I'm now terrified of sharks. Oh fear, you won't be swayed by logic will you?

2. Matilda by Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors growing up and this was one of my favorite books. Little girl who is super smart and loves to read gets even with her rotten family and then the evil headmistress. I wished I could control things with my mind. Come to think of it, I still do. Any time I'm on one side of the room and my phone/remote/whatever is on the other.

3. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher - I loved this book and read lots of Sacher's stuff because I loved this one so much. It was a kooky story about a bunch of strange kids in a weird school. One girl contemplated selling her toes to the recess monitor because she wasn't using them, a boy who actually turned out to be a dead rat and the girl who brought in a hobo for show and tell. Like I said, it's strange kids at a weird school and I loved it. Now I need to raid my mom's house to see if I can find my copy of it.

4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - I don't care if the pun is the lowest form of humor, I love it and this book makes liberal use of them. Milo travels through a mysterious tollbooth to the magical Kingdom of Wisdom, where he has to help rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason and show King Azaz the Unabridged, ruler of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician, ruler of Digitopolis, that both letters and numbers are equally important. It's a great fantasy adventure story and now I want to find my copy of that book.

5. Dr. Seuss - I'm just going to list out the guy instead of any one of his books, because there's no way I could choose just one. I still love Dr. Seuss's books. They're simple, colorful stories that deal with larger issues than most children's books touch on. I mean The Butter Battle Book is about an arms race between neighboring villages, that could possibly end in the destruction of everyone. And of course that distinctive artwork.

6. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Mythology by Ingrid d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire - My dad got me this book when I was little. Greek myths told in a simple but not dumbed down way, and with lots of illustrations. It was a great introduction to the Greek myths. My dad said you have to know Greek myths and the Bible if you want to understand English language literature so he was getting me started early.

7. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien - OK, in this case the movie by Don Bluth and the Disney Defectors, came before the book for me. But I still loved this book when I finally got around to reading it. Medical experiences, super smart rats and a dark secret. The stuff children's books are made of.

8. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrations by Stephen Gammell - Speaking of stuff for children, this book used to scare the hell out of me as a kid. But I still loved it. And it probably fueled my current love for urban legends and modern folklore. I have to give those illustrations a lot of credit for the fear. I bought a new set of those books when I was in college and those pictures are still terrifying. I just saw a new version of the books with illustrations by someone else and really, you're not getting the full experience if you're not getting Gammell's drawings.

9. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein - I had a couple other of Silverstein's poetry books, but this one was my first and my favorite. There are so many poems in there I can still recite. They were children's poetry that didn't condescend to children. "If you are a dreamer, come in..."

10. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol - Looking back on it now, Brown could be pretty insufferable and smug but I loved trying to solve the case before checking on the answer. As smug as he was, he figured out the answer.

I'd like to add one more to the list but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the book. I know, doesn't really make a strong case for a "childhood favorite" but I was never good with details. I did used to take it out of the library roughly a gazillion times and I remember making a diorama of it for a class. It was about a giant chicken that terrorized this village. Eventually they figure out how to defeat the chicken and presumably no one goes hungry anymore because they have giant chicken to eat. OK, so I can't remember the details, but I do remember that diorama and the fact that the images weren't super cartoony. Not realistic but more detailed than you'd expect for a kid's book. And I don't really remember learning a lesson other than giant chickens are terrifying and you should probably destroy it. So if anyone knows the name of that I will be your best-est friend if you share that title with me.

Look at that I made it all the way to 10! 10 1/2 even!

What are some of your favorite childhood books?