Catalogue


100 best books for children /
Anita Silvey.
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2004.
description
192 p.
ISBN
0618278893
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2004.
isbn
0618278893
general note
"A Frances Tenenbaum book"
catalogue key
5360265
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [166]-171) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Anita Silvey estimates that she has read 125,000 children's books, starting in childhood and continuing through her years as a reviewer for and editor of The Horn Book Magazine and as a publisher of children's books for Houghton Mifflin
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Board Books Birth to Age 2Goodnight MoonWritten by Margaret Wise Brown (19101952) Illustrated by Clement Hurd (19081988) Published in 1947 by Harper nal form, and called it "Goodnight Room." That morning Brown, or "Brownie" as she was known, telephoned her editor, the legendary Ursula Nordstrom, to read her the text, which Nordstrom accepted immediately for publication. In those days, editorial taste rather than publishing committees determined the fate of geniuses.Margaret Wise Brown, who would write more than a hundred books for children in her short career, claimed that she dreamt her stories, and Goodnight Moon appears to be a case in point. However, Brown's creative dreaming followed years of intense training. A student at Bank Street College's School of Education, Brown began to explore writing books that incorporated the revolutionary ideas of Lucy Sprague Mitchell, the visionary founder of Bank Street. Both Brown and Mitchell believed that books should expose young children to the "here and now" world of their own home surroundings. Children need to hear about and see all the things that they feel comfortable with in their own world. So in Goodnight Moon, the mother and child say good night to all the familiar objects around them. Everything present in the great green room is part of a child's real world and reects Brown's "here and now" philosophy. After the telephone call, Nordstrom began searching for an appropriate artist for the text, but Brown insisted she wanted no one other than Clement Hurd. Goodnight Moon demonstrates how great books are made, and almost unmade, by seconds and inches. For his original sketches for the book, Hurd drew his protagonists as a human grandmother and a young boy. This version went through several proof stages, but eventually Margaret Wise Brown and Ursula Nordstrom insisted that the characters be bunnies. Hurd relented; as the illustrator of The Runaway Bunny (also by Brown), he could draw rabbits like an angel. In fact, those close to him often said he looked like a rabbit. Hence, the resulting book, rather than being tied to a human environment, achieved an otherworldly, timeless dimension.Hurd also accepted Brown's and Nordstrom's criticism of the cow in his original picture. He altered it anatomically so that no one would object to the udders. And on Nordstrom's suggestion, he replaced a map with a bookcase because she wanted to promote the idea of children having books in their rooms. However, Hurd worked out many innovative concepts that remained in the nal art. Half-page black-and-white illustrations display all the objects in the room; but Hurd used only one piece of color art for the main scene of the book. That art was simply darkened, by degrees, by the printer. As the story moves forward "Goodnight bears / Goodnight chairs / . . . Goodnight mush / And goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush"" the child and parent keep going back to exactly the same room, but each time a little more light has been removed. Goodnight Moon met immediately with the kind of criticism that all too frequently welcomes our great books. A Harper sales representative wrote, "Frankly I'm having a tough time with [Goodnight Moon]. . . . As soon as [most buyers] see the size of it for $2.00 they throw it at me. They like the color, story, and idea, but will not touch it at that price. . . . I don't think we'll even sniff the quota. At $1.00 it would really move." But the book was not reduced to $1.00, and it did not really move for another twenty years or so. Goodnight Moon remained a quiet book; not until the 1970s did it gain a signicant audience.Although some critics dismissed the book as overly sentimental when it appeared, future generations have grown to appreciate the crisp language, clear geometric forms, and bright, bold colors. Children as young as eight months can appreciate the appearance of familiar objects in the art such as the moon, the re, and the mous
First Chapter
Board Books Birth to Age 2

Goodnight Moon

Written by Margaret Wise Brown (1910–1952) Illustrated by Clement Hurd (1908–1988) Published in 1947 by Harper & Row Birth to age 2 32 pages

Upon awakening early one morning in 1945, Margaret Wise Brown wrote down the entire text of Goodnight Moon in almost final form, and called it “Goodnight Room.” That morning Brown, or “Brownie” as she was known, telephoned her editor, the legendary Ursula Nordstrom, to read her the text, which Nordstrom accepted immediately for publication. In those days, editorial taste rather than publishing committees determined the fate of geniuses.

Margaret Wise Brown, who would write more than a hundred books for children in her short career, claimed that she dreamt her stories, and Goodnight Moon appears to be a case in point. However, Brown’s creative dreaming followed years of intense training.
A student at Bank Street College’s School of Education, Brown began to explore writing books that incorporated the revolutionary ideas of Lucy Sprague Mitchell, the visionary founder of Bank Street. Both Brown and Mitchell believed that books should expose young children to the “here and now” world of their own home surroundings.
Children need to hear about and see all the things that they feel comfortable with in their own world. So in Goodnight Moon, the mother and child say good night to all the familiar objects around them. Everything present in the great green room is part of a child’s real world and reflects Brown’s “here and now” philosophy.
After the telephone call, Nordstrom began searching for an appropriate artist for the text, but Brown insisted she wanted no one other than Clement Hurd. Goodnight Moon demonstrates how great books are made, and almost unmade, by seconds and inches.
For his original sketches for the book, Hurd drew his protagonists as a human grandmother and a young boy. This version went through several proof stages, but eventually Margaret Wise Brown and Ursula Nordstrom insisted that the characters be bunnies.
Hurd relented; as the illustrator of The Runaway Bunny (also by Brown), he could draw rabbits like an angel. In fact, those close to him often said he looked like a rabbit. Hence, the resulting book, rather than being tied to a human environment, achieved an otherworldly, timeless dimension.

Hurd also accepted Brown’s and Nordstrom’s criticism of the cow in his original picture. He altered it anatomically so that no one would object to the udders. And on Nordstrom’s suggestion, he replaced a map with a bookcase because she wanted to promote the idea of children having books in their rooms. However, Hurd worked out many innovative concepts that remained in the final art. Half-page black-and-white illustrations display all the objects in the room; but Hurd used only one piece of color art for the main scene of the book. That art was simply darkened, by degrees, by the printer. As the story moves forward — “Goodnight bears / Goodnight chairs / . . . Goodnight mush / And goodnight to the old lady whispering ‘hush’” — the child and parent keep going back to exactly the same room, but each time a little more light has been removed.
Goodnight Moon met immediately with the kind of criticism that all too frequently welcomes our great books. A Harper sales representative wrote, “Frankly I’m having a tough time with [Goodnight Moon]. . . . As soon as [most buyers] see the size of it for $2.00 they throw it at me. They like the color, story, and idea, but will not touch it at that price. . . . I don’t think we’ll even sniff the quota. At $1.00 it would really move.” But the book was not reduced to $1.00, and it did not really move for another twenty years or so.
Goodnight Moon remained a quiet book; not until the 1970s did it gain a significant audience.

Although some critics dismissed the book as overly sentimental when it appeared, future generations have grown to appreciate the crisp language, clear geometric forms, and bright, bold colors.
Children as young as eight months can appreciate the appearance of familiar objects in the art — such as the moon, the fire, and the mouse. A timeless book, almost like a child’s evening prayers, Goodnight Moon has lulled millions of children around the world to sleep.

Mr.Gumpy’s Outing ..........................................................................
By John Burningham (b. 1936) Published in 1971 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Birth to age 2 32 pages

After graduating from Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, John Burningham began searching for work as an artist. Because no one would hire him, he tried developing a children’s book. Fortunnately for both Burningham and for children, that first book, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, won Britain’s prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, given too the best picture book of tttthe year.

Seven years later, Burningham produced another book that won the Greenaway Medal. In Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, the hero, who lives on a river, first appears wearing a hat and huge boots. Mr. Gumpy travels along in a boat, picking up animals and children who promise to make no trouble. But, of course, they cannot avoid breaking their promises, and the whole crew ends up in the river before going to a sumptuous high tea.

Wonderful to read aloud, the book can be, and often is, acted out by a group of children. The predictability of the story sequence — “‘Will you take me with you?’ said the dog. ‘Yes,’ said Mr. Gumpy.
‘But don’t tease the cat.’ / ‘May I come please, Mr. Gumpy?’ said the pig. ‘Very well, but don’t muck about.’” — encourages children to join in; it also gives them confidence as they begin to read for themselves. Burningham deftly balances brown pen sketches, quite free and expressive, with brilliant full-color art. He deliberately gives the drawings an unfinished look — so the child can have maximum freedom to imagine events.

Although Burningham had an opportunity to extend Mr.
Gumpy’s adventures further, which he did in Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car, he deliberately avoided creating a series. Fond of his characters, he is still more interested in a new project than in repeating something he knows.

John Burningham believes that really great children’s books “contain as much for adults as for children.” Certainly, parents and teachers have enjoyed this watery outing every bit as much as children.
And at the end, when Mr. Gumpy says, “Come for a ride another day,” the child and adult reader will probably do so — many, many times. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing reminds us that readers of all ages can be charmed by simple things.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar ..........................................................................
By Eric Carle (b. 1929) Published in 1969 by World Publishing Company Birth to age 2 24 pages

A young graphic designer, Eric Carle had been tinkering with the germ of an idea for a book called A Week with Willi Worm.
He wanted to use a unique book design, with holes cut into the pages, to show the progress of a very hungry worm working his way through all kinds of foods until it grows fat. But his editor Ann Beneduce was less than enthusiastic about a green worm as a protagonist and believed that Carle should use a more sympathetic character. When she suggested a caterpillar, Carle answered simply, “Butterfly.” With these new elements, Eric Carle completed The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book that has become popular all over the world.

In the story a winsome caterpillar eats a variety of foods until he finally turns into a butterfly. While showing a simple story of transformation, the book presents very young children with such concepts as counting, days of the week, and the life cycle of a butterfly, in bold, graphic art.

Carle made his debut as a children’s book illustrator in a school textbook story, written by Bill Martin, called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Later reissued for bookstores, the title has enchanted millions of children with its simple rhythm, rhymes, and brilliant art. For The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle played with the form of the book and developed pages of different shapes and widths — an experiment influenced by the books he read as a child in Germany. Although no printer in the United States could be found to manufacture economically a book with so many die cuts, Beneduce located a printer in Japan who was able to produce the book. Since that time, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold a copy a minute somewhere in the world, more than 20 million altogether.
Over the years Carle has gone back to reillustrate many of his popular volumes, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, aiming to get a wider variety of colors and a cleaner design. In his studio, he spatters colored tissue papers with paint to create special textures and effects. After cutting the papers into the desired shapes, he then pastes them in layers on cardboard. Sometimes he uses crayons or ink to make the final touches. Carle works and reworks each piece, aiming both for scientific accuracy and for visual excitement.
In November 2002, Eric Carle, his wife, Barbara, friends, and colleagues opened the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Tucked in the hills of western Massachusetts, at Amherst, the museum has quickly become a travel destination for families and school groups who want to look at Carle’s original collages as well as rotating exhibits of other artists’ work. After presenting children with one popular book after another, Eric Carle gave all of the children of the United States and the world another unique gift — our first permanent American museum to house original picturebook art.

Copyright © 2004 by Anita Silvey. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-02-23:
Children's book experts share their knowledge in a pair of spring resources. Anita Silvey, formerly editor of the Horn Book and publisher of Houghton Mifflin, ranks her favorites in 100 Best Books for Children. Divided into age groups, Silvey lists classics old and new, from Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's Goodnight Moon and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit to Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly, Louis Sachar's novel Holes and Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie. Extensive background information and interesting anecdotes provide further context for the books. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-12-01:
Get the inside scoop from an expert who has been Horn Book editor and Houghton children's book publisher. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2003
Publishers Weekly, February 2004
Library Journal, April 2004
Boston Globe, June 2004
Booklist, July 2004
Horn Book Magazine, July 2004
School Library Journal, February 2005
Boston Globe, April 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
By selecting only 100 "best books" Anita Silvey distinguishes her guide from all the others and makes it possible to give young readers their literary heritage in the childhood years. The books we hear or read when we are children stay with us all our lives. If we miss them when we are young, well miss them forever: no Hungry Caterpillar, no Winn-Dixie, no Roll of Thunder. As adults we remember a few familiar favorites, but no one but an expert like Anita Silvey, with her thirty-five years at the heart of childrens book publishing, could put together an authoritative list like this one. Parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, and bookstore clerks will feel completely comfortable recommending these books for any child, from infancy to almost-teens. Silvey includes, in addition to the 100 best, extensive lists of books to meet special needs and interests as well as classics, selected by age, to round out this extraordinarily useful work. In addition to giving an age range and the plot of each book, Silvey relates the fascinating, often hilarious story behind the story, something only an insider in the field of childrens publishing could tell. 100 Best Books for Children is as much fun to read as it is helpful.
Main Description
By selecting only 100 "best books" Anita Silvey distinguishes her guide from all the others and makes it possible to give young readers their literary heritage in the childhood years. The books we hear or read when we are children stay with us all our lives. If we miss them when we are young, we'll miss them forever: no Hungry Caterpillar, no Winn-Dixie, no Roll of Thunder. As adults we remember a few familiar favorites, but no one but an expert like Anita Silvey, with her thirty-five years at the heart of children's book publishing, could put together an authoritative list like this one. Parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, and bookstore clerks will feel completely comfortable recommending these books for any child, from infancy to almost-teens. Silvey includes, in addition to the 100 best, extensive lists of books to meet special needs and interests as well as classics, selected by age, to round out this extraordinarily useful work. In addition to giving an age range and the plot of each book, Silvey relates the fascinating, often hilarious story behind the story, something only an insider in the field of children's publishing could tell. 100 Best Books for Children is as much fun to read as it is helpful.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Anita Silvey chooses a list of just 100 books which she argues offer children the best of reading. Lists aimed at special needs & interests round out this volume. Each entry includes a suggested age range, details of the plot & something of how the story came to be written.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Board Books: Birth to Age 2
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brownp. 3
Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burninghamp. 5
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carlep. 6
Freight Train by Donald Crewsp. 8
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraussp. 9
Picture Books: Ages 2 to 8
Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allardp. 13
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmansp. 14
The Snowman by Raymond Briggsp. 16
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burtonp. 17
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gagp. 18
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkesp. 19
Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacsp. 20
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keatsp. 22
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krausp. 23
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leafp. 24
John Henry by Julius Lesterp. 25
Swimmy by Leo Lionnip. 26
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambaultp. 28
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martinp. 29
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyp. 30
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potterp. 32
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmannp. 33
Curious George by H. A. Reyp. 34
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszkap. 36
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendakp. 37
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkinap. 39
Doctor De Soto by William Steigp. 40
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburgp. 42
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorstp. 43
Tuesday by David Wiesnerp. 44
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williamsp. 46
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Youngp. 47
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zionp. 48
Books for Beginning Readers: Ages 5 to 7
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobelp. 53
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarikp. 54
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylantp. 55
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seussp. 56
Books for Young Readers: Ages 7 to 9
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Clearyp. 61
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerrp. 62
Morning Girl by Michael Dorrisp. 63
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estesp. 64
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannettp. 66
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardinerp. 67
Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimmp. 68
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henryp. 69
Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smithp. 71
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelacep. 72
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlanp. 74
The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutskyp. 75
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Sayp. 76
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilderp. 77
Books for Middle Readers: Ages 8 to 11
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnettp. 83
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnfordp. 84
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooperp. 85
The BFG by Roald Dahlp. 86
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillop. 88
Half Magic by Edward Eagerp. 89
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhughp. 90
Humbug Mountain by Sid Fleischmanp. 92
Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedmanp. 93
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead Georgep. 94
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahamep. 95
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamiltonp. 97
Redwall by Brian Jacquesp. 98
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Justerp. 100
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburgp. 101
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawsonp. 102
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Englep. 103
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewisp. 104
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrenp. 106
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lordp. 107
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulayp. 108
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milnep. 110
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomeryp. 111
The Great Fire by Jim Murphyp. 113
Rascal by Sterling Northp. 114
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brienp. 115
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dellp. 116
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patersonp. 118
Hatchet by Gary Paulsenp. 119
Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearcep. 120
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskinp. 121
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowlingp. 122
Holes by Louis Sacharp. 125
The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldenp. 126
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spearep. 127
Mary Poppins by P. L. Traversp. 128
Charlotte's Web by E. B. Whitep. 130
Books for Older Readers: Ages 11 to 12
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avip. 135
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbittp. 136
Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedyp. 137
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushmanp. 138
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbesp. 139
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frankp. 141
Out of the Dust by Karen Hessep. 143
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guinp. 144
The Giver by Lois Lowryp. 146
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylorp. 148
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkienp. 149
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigtp. 151
Beyond the 100 Bestp. 155
Bibliographyp. 166
Reading Journalp. 172
Indexp. 187
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem