Sunday, March 31, 2013

Top Five, or Seven, or Three…

Top ten? Such a cliché. Here are lists of some of my favorite books in various genres. I’m not going to list big-name classics, though of course many of those books are high on my overall lists. For example, Charlotte’s Web is wonderful, but you all know that one, so I’ll give you slightly less famous fare or forgotten classics that are dear to my heart. They’re books you may have missed, but just might like very much. Because in between gardening and walking around with your umbrella in the almost-April rain, you know you're looking for a good book!


The Bronze King and two sequels by Suzy McKee Charnas

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (was Crown Duel/Court Duel)

Gom on Windy Mountain and three sequels by Grace Chetwin

The Nine Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

Grimbold’s Other World by Nicholas Stuart Gray

The Return of the Twelves by Pauline Clarke

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt

The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken

The Silver Curlew by Eleanor Farjeon

Taash and the Jesters by Ellen Kindt McKenzie

The Wicked Enchantment by Margot Benary-Isbert


The Bromeliad Trilogy and the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy by Terry Pratchett

Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein

The Dragonback series by Timothy Zahn (Dragon and Thief, etc., especially for preteen boys)

Fledgling and sequels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (see also the Liaden Universe series for adults)

The Silver Crown by Robert C. O’Brien

Starswarm by Jerry Pournelle


Alabama Moon by Watt Key

Down the Rabbit Hole and sequels by Peter Abrahams (see also his teen mystery/thriller, Reality Check)

The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer

Minerva Clark Gets a Clue and two sequels by Karen Karbo


Casson Family books by Hilary McKay

The Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken

The Lark and the Laurel by Barbara Willard

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth (an old-fashioned coming-of-age story with Quakers)

Thursday’s Children by Rumer Godden


Beware of Boys by Tony Blundell

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep by Eleanor Farjeon, illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Little Rabbit Foo Foo, retold by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Arthur Robins

Not This Bear! by Bernice Myers

Suddenly! by Colin McNaughton

The Talking Eggs, retold by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Jerry Pinckney

Thea’s Tree by Alison Jackson, illustrated by Janet Pedersen

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (best for 3- and 4-year-old boys)

What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum, illustrated by Adrian Johnson


“The Boy Who Read Aloud” by Joan Aiken, from Classic Fairy Tales to Read Aloud, ed. Naomi Lewis

Duffy and the Devil by Harve and Margot Zemach

Good Griselle by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Christiana

The Language of Birds, retold by Rafe Martin, illustrated by Susan Gaber

Larky Mavis by Brock Cole

The Magic Fish-bone by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Robert Florczak

The Magic Nesting Doll by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, illustrated by Laurel Long

Mr. Semolina-Semolus, retold by Anthony L. Manna and Christodoula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter

Tatterhood and Other Tales, ed. Ethel Johnston Phelps


All the Small Things and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Natalie Babbitt

Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, ed. Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar


Knock at a Star: A Child’s Introduction to Poetry by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy Kennedy

Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book of Poems, ed. Beatrice Schenk de Regniers et al., illustrated by nine Caldecott Medal artists

A Spider Bought a Bicycle and Other Poems for Young Children, ed. Michael Rosen, illustrated by Inga Moore

Swing around the Sun and Words with Wrinkled Knees by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Tail Feathers from Mother Goose: The Opie Rhyme Book (Little, Brown), many different illustrators

Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-Me Book of Poems, ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy Kennedy, illustrated by Jane Dyer

Under the Moon and Over the Sea: A Collection of Caribbean Poems, ed. John Agard and Grace Nichols


Changeover and Tricksters by Margaret Mahy

Dairy Queen and two sequels by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dragon's Bait and Magic Can Be Murder by Vivian Vande Velde

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and sequel by Lish McBride

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Book 3 in a series that must be read in order, starting with The Thief)

Northlander and The King Commands by Meg Burden

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

Soul Enchilada by David McInnis Gill

Thief's Covenant and False Covenant by Ari Marmell

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

So Happy Spring! (And don't say you can't find anything to read.)


Charlotte said...

So fun seeing obscure books I like too on your fantasy list! When you come east at whatever point you happen to come east, do stop by and I will lend you lots more obscure British fantasy...Let me know if you ever want recommendations! Maybe I will make a list at my own blog...

Jennifer said...

I never met any other fans of Barbara Willard! I read everything of hers I could find when I was a teen. Not this bear! is a childhood favorite as well.

Even in Australia said...

Since you included some of my favorites - like Dogger - I'm going to trust your other recommendations! Now I have a long list of books to find... not all are available at the NYPL, sadly.

KateCoombs said...

Charlotte, I would love to see your list on your blog! And to hang out talking book talk if I make it back east anytime soon. What a nice thought.

Jennifer, I didn't realize Barbara Willard had an entire series till I just looked on Amazon. I'll have to read the rest now!

EIA, no guarantees, but there are a lot of good ones here. :)

Jennifer said...

And more people should read and recommend Dragon and Thief. This is my favorite "for reluctant boy reader that moms will like too" series.

Anonymous said...

So exciting to see a list with so many unfamiliar titles mixed in among some I love! I wore out my childhood copy of Phelps' Tatterhood and just recently found a new one at the library book sale.

KateCoombs said...

Jennifer--Yes! They're just right for reluctant boy readers.

ALM--Glad you like the list, and esp. Tatterhood. Have you read her other collection, The Maid of the North? Other great feminist fairy tale collections include Jane Yolen's Not One Damsel in Distress (and its companion about boys, Mightier than the Sword) and Kathleen Rogan's collection, Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters.

Betsy said...

What a great list! Some old faves of mine (like Elsie Piddock), so I can't wait to check out the others!