Saturday, January 30, 2010

Top Ten Chapter Books Ever

Remember when I agonized over Elizabeth Bird's call for our lists of the top ten picture books ever? Well, she's done me in good this time, that Fuse #8. Now she wants our top ten chapter books ever, ranked in order.

Picture books were easier. I barely remember reading picture books as a kid, with a few exceptions. But the chapter books? They were like old friends, read over and over. I kept saying, "Who can I leave off the list?"

I finally got my list in today. Here's what I sent:

1. Bridge to Terabithia – because it made me cry in fifth grade, and again in high school, and again and again and again. And because even at 38, I still dream of Terabithia. If this were a list of “best books ever, regardless of genre,” Bridge to Terabithia might still top my list.

2. The Westing Game

3. Charlotte’s Web – including the award for the best all time first line.

4. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

5. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – Harry Potter is like Justin Timberlake: it’s so popular that I always want to think it’s junk, and then it constantly surprises me with how brilliant it is.

6. The Giver

7. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

8. The Black Cauldron

9. Harriet the Spy – because the kid emotions and interactions are perfect. Plus, who didn’t read this and then go around with a black composition notebook writing about people? Wait. I still do that. Huh.

10. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great – because thirty-seven years later, Judy Blume still speaks straight to kids’ secret hearts

Your thoughts, wise visitors to Jacqui's Room? And you still have all day today and tomorrow to send your own list in to be tallied.


cath c said...

i couldn't possibly narrow it down to ten.

and i absolutley agree re: 'where's papa going with that ax?'

makes me so jealous! why couldn't i have come up with that?! oh, because i was not born yet when e.b.w. did.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Yours is a good list. I'd have to include at least one Dahl, probably James and the Giant Peach.

Jacqui said...

Cath & Paul, it was not easy. I had the family from Tuck Everlasting haunting me, along with Willie Wonka.

Mary Witzl said...

I definitely agree with Charlotte's Web and Terabitha. Those books will always appeal to me, no matter how old I get. Terabitha made me cry too, when I was younger. Reading it again as a mother, I cried harder; it was as though the depth of my sorrow had changed. But it was such a beautiful book. I loved The Mixed up Files... a lot as a kid, but reread it recently and didn't find it as charming. Maybe I need to read it again...

I'd have to have Tuck Everlasting on my list. I've heard all the criticisms of it -- too much telling, not enough showing, etc -- but I found the concept and characters so wonderful. And I loved the dialogue.

Now I have to think what my other two chapter books are going to be...

Mary Witzl said...

Oh crap -- typo there:

That'll teach me to forget spell-checking.

Diane T said...

It's hard to argue with any of the books on that list, although my personal preference from Alexander's "Prydain Chronicles" is Taran Wanderer.

On my list I think I would have to eject the second Blume and make room for either A Wizard of Earthsea or A Wrinkle in Time.

C.R. Evers said...

I'm probably too late, but as a kindergartener I remember reading the Frances books over and over and over again. I have detailed memories of standing in the school library pouring over the Frances books. I'm not sure what it was about them that held my interest.

Jacqui said...

Ooh, Diane. Wizard of Earthsea is a good one.

Christy, I love Frances too. But I don't know how they classify it.

Mary, I haven't re-read Tuck Everlasting as an adult, which is why I ultimately left it off. I'm afraid to, because I love it and don't want to have it ruined!