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Topic: Kid's Classics

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Subject: Kid's Classics
Date Posted: 4/13/2008 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I've been reading with my 5 & 8 year old neices a lot lately and have had so much fun introducing them to my favorite classic kids' stories.  (Classic here can refer to book 50+ years old, or more modern books, but not Harry Potter because as wonderful as I think this series is, it can't be considered classic for at least 10 years, til then its a classic in the making).  Anyway, here are my picks:

  1. The Jungle Book
  2. Just So Stories (they're loving these, even I forgot how good they are)
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. Tom Sawyer
  5. A Little Princess
  6. The Secret Garden
  7. 5 Children and It
  8. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia (we've read 1-4)
  10. The Witches
  11. James and the Giant Peach
  12. Charlotte's Web
  13. Black Beauty
  14. The Boxcar Children
  15. Superfudge
  16. The Ramona books


Last Edited on: 4/13/08 8:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/13/2008 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
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You haven't mentioned what's probably my favorite classic children's book: Peter Pan. It's wonderful! What about Anne of Green Gables? And if they like adventure stories and whatnot, what about some Robert Louis Stevenson? (Kidnapped, Treasure Island...) I loved Where the Red Fern Grows when I was a kid, though I'm not sure when that was written. And if they liked the Roald Dahl, my favorite was The BFG, and of course there's also Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... I'll see if I can think of any more!

Date Posted: 4/15/2008 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2008
Posts: 111
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My son really enjoyed it when we read him The Wizard of Oz. He was four at the time and he had not seen the movie yet.

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Stuart Little, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Indian in the Cupboard Series and who could forget Winnie the Pooh?

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Only fifty years ago???   I'm now 80, and when I was a little girl, we little girls read The Poor Little Rich Girl, Heidi, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and the Bobbsey Twins books.  Those are the ones I remember, besides fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault.   There were some Elsie Dinsmore books, too, but SHE was such a little prig.  Walt Disney's versions of The Three Little Pigs, etc., were big favorites, because we could sing or chant along with the story---"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"   And I loved  Louis Untermeyer's poetry anthology for kids, titled Stars to Steer By.  

How come no one has yet mentioned The Wind in the Willows?

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 2:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,337
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I'm currently reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."  Wonderful stuff.

At one point my daughter figured out that if she got a hold of the original book behind a Disney movie, she'd be reading some really fine stories.  Thus, Peter Pan, Bambi, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, etc.  She also really loved The Princess and the Goblin, Chronicles of Narnia, Black Beauty.  My son loved Sounder, Summer of the Monkeys, Hatchet, Treasure Island.  And they were both delighted with The Princess Bride.

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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er       uh            Disney's "Little Mermaid" did NOT wind up the same way as Hans Christian Andersen's little mermaid.  That's why it makes a difference if you get hold of the "real" Tales, or a "Disneyfied" version.  Personally, I shouldn't like to have to explain to a little American girl  what a "Daughter of the Air" is, and why the (former) little mermaid has to rove the world seeking for good little children, to shorten her 'sentence'. 

Date Posted: 6/15/2008 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2008
Posts: 5
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What about Freddy The Pig and the Dr. Doolittle stories by Hugh Lofting (not the Eddie Murphy mishmash). and the Spiderwick Chronicles (maybe they're too new)? 

Does anyone remember the correct titles or the author of that wonderful series about the Moffets or Moffits - The Middle Moffet was one title.  ??


Date Posted: 6/15/2008 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I decided to read more classics myself, including children's classics I want to re-read or read for the 1st time..well, I got hold of Pinocchio at a cheap sale one day and pickd it up to start..one of the classics library 'big' books..whoa..I got about 2 chapters in and this book is awful..violent mean stuff...anyone know if this improves? nothing like the cute pinnocchio I vaguely remember and I'm not sure if I had a kid that I'd want them reading this based on the little bit I've read..should I keep with it or go on to something else like the wizard of oz?

Subject: they ain't Disneyfied
Date Posted: 6/15/2008 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Susanna:  a friendly warning before you get into the REAL Hans Christian Andersen Tales . . . .  The story of The Little Mermaid does NOT end the way the Disney animated film feature has it.   This was one of our texts in a university course in Scandinavian Literature I took years ago.  Andersen was really rather didactic, and aimed his stories at inducing the kiddies to be "good children" . . . in his tale, the little mermaid, transformed into a "Daughter of the Air" had to roam the world hoping to find "good little boys and girls" so her 'sentence' could be reduced.  If you have a sentimental little one, maybe you'd do better to use the Disneyfied version . . .

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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It depends on the child.  Me and my sibilings were raised on the old-school, uncut fairy tales as well as the Disneyified stuff.  We had The Golden Book of Fairy Tales http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780307170255-The+Golden+Book+of+Fairy+Tales+Golden+Classics  with the stories of princesses who have to cut their fingers off or flee from home to escape being married to their fathers and the villains get their eyes pecked out or have to dance to death in red hot shoes.  Some pretty dark stuff in those fairy tales, but some kids prefer that.  Although I'd definitely gage the temprament and age of the kid first.

Last Edited on: 6/17/08 7:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/18/2008 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Bambi - another book that was Disneyfied. 

Judy Blume's books.

Katie John books by Mary Calhoun

The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 316
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All of a Kind Family

Date Posted: 8/6/2008 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 87
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I just read Little Women last November for the first time and absolutely loved it! It's become one of my favorites-- a writer myself, I loved Jo's character, and it's so easy to feel like these characters are old friends. The sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys, are also very nice for seeing how everyone turns out, and to see how Jo manages some very rambunctious little boys, and a girl or two :) I also have some of Alcott's other children's books on my pile. (If your nieces like Little Women, the 1994 movie with Winona Ryder is fantastic. I also saw the version with June Allyson and Margaret O'Brien, which was excellent-- O'Brien was the perfect Beth!-- and the 1979 mini-series, which had William Shatner, who was marvellous, as Bhaer. I also saw the stage musical twice and highly recommend the CD and the show if you get the opportunity to see it.)

Last Edited on: 8/9/11 4:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 8/7/2008 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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Have you read them anything by Noel Streatfield? She wrote some books, starting with Ballet Shoes, that I think are wonderful. I read them still and I'm 24. The first one revolves around 3 adopted girls in Britian and they all have special talents. They have been "collected" by an eccentric old man who travels the world and "picks them up" after running into different people and their unique situations. They are great for girls, I imagine boys might like them as well. It mainly follows them while they are students at a performing arts school.

Other books that are similar are Dancing Shoes and Theatre Shoes (which brings back the 3 girls from Ballet Shoes briefly throughout). I believe there were a few others, but these are the only ones which I have or have been able to find.

Also, when they are a little older they might like the old Cherry Ames nurse series. Made me want to be a nurse. They look a lot like the Nancy Drew books and I think they were written around the same time. I enjoyed them more than Nancy Drew.

Date Posted: 8/30/2008 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
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The book Bambi was very different from the movie, and I have to agree with just about everything mentioned along with that.

I can add Tarzan. My little daughters, young and sensitive, tapped into their bloodthristy side with that one. I was really surprised at how they became so caught up in Tarzan's search for his identity. They loved the humor, the fierceness, and the sense of right. There are some mentions that would be racist which I either skipped or explained along the way. Really, my girls were 5 & 8 and they would NOT let me sleep until I'd read them some Tarzan.

They get that way anyway, but they REALLY were cheering for Tarzan!

Date Posted: 9/10/2008 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Oh, so many of our favorites here. Glad to see Noel Streatfeild and Poor Little Rich Girl (i swear I thought I was the last person alive who had read it!) The stevensons are great and beloved of my grandson, too, along with King Solomon's Mines, and more Kipling.-Kim, Puck of Pook's Hill, Complete Stalky and Company. Pollyanna and the Little Colonel. Polly What's Her Name. Daddy Longlegs.

New books that will be classics are the Ridley Pearson/Dave Barry prequels to Peter Pan. And Penelope Farmer's troll books.

The boys for some reason absolutely adored the All-of-a-Kind Family. The younger one at 7 would recite chunks of it to apply to all kinds of contemporary situations. My 1o yo has just started Little Women. (It's amazing to me boys will read books with girl heroines. When I was a child, the girls read the Hardy Boys but the boys wouldn't read Nancy Drew.)

Singing Wheels, Engine Whistles, Ben and Me, Runaway Home.

Although I loved the Miss Minerva books and have some, I have them on the forbidden shelf because they are too racist. The Little Colonel has some buti t can be explained  and the value of the books outweighs the racism, like in Twain.

Did anyone else ever read the Terrible, Horrible Edie books? She was so naughty and so funny.

I introduce the Fairy Tales in a graduated way, but have the unexpurgated versions available for later. I have a complete4 vol  Arabian Nights in the hall bookcases. Over heard at a sleepover. "Hey, wow! Do ya'll have all of the Arabian Nights? Can I borrow them? " "No way. She says they are for older people. I guess Aladdin and Sinbad have sex or something."

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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B has just started TH White's Sword in the Stone and loves it. I went to pee about 1 am and had to yell at him to turn off the light. "I thought you were asleep!" was the reply. "I thought you were, too."

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
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Freddy the Pig books were a big hit with my daughter when she was younger.  (The old ones are hard to find, but someone recently started re-publishing them.)

The Moffats (and the rest of the series) is by Eleanor Estes--and my daughter loved those, too.  The same author wrote Ginger Pye, which I think my daughter liked even more than The Moffats.

Another book my daughter loved when she was younger was The Five Little Peppers And How They Grew by Margaret Sidney.  When she took her book to her grandmother's house on a trip one year, we discovered a neat bonus:  That book had been her grandmother's favorite as a girl, too!  (Grandma still has her copy.)

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
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Okay....  After my last post, I found I was still thinking about more titles.

How about Alice In Wonderland?  That would be great to read aloud.

I also love reading the original Winnie the Pooh stories by A.A. Milne out loud (not the Disney versions). 

Date Posted: 10/22/2008 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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And the Noel Streatfeild books [not a typo, how she spells it]. I just bought several for gifts.

Jean Webster's Daddy Longlegs

Subject: Classics for children
Date Posted: 11/3/2008 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2008
Posts: 240
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Andrew Lang's Collections are wonderful-the "Colored" Fairy Books ( Grey Fairie, Crimson Fairy, etc.)

George Macdonald's Fairy Tales including The Light Princess and others are enchanting(CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were influenced by him-you'll see it in his stories!)  Also The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and the Curdie

E Nesbit has lovely stories for children including The Enchanted Castle, 5 Children and It and more.

Children ( and adults)  get LOST in these books!

We love the original Faerie Tales the way they were first written.  As Tolkien reminds us in his Reader, Faerie is a "Perilous Realm"!

Date Posted: 12/19/2008 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2008
Posts: 17
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No one has mentioned Howard Pyle!  Otto of the Silver Hand, Men of Iron, and of course Robin Hood.  My children and I love A.A. Milne's poetry.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/15/2008
Posts: 66
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As has already been mentioned, a lot of the books you have mentioned are "Disneyfied" and not at all the versions that were intended to be read and taught. Alice in Wonderland is great if you are 12 or 13, but I would never let my 7 yo read it. There is too much there that I would have to explain.

Little Women? I studied this in an Ad Lit class in college. Jo was a sellout, IMO.

Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, are all for a more mature audience, IMO.

My 7yo gets the watered down version of all the fairy tales, but my 13 and 15 yos get the "good" ones! :)

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
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Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome.  FABULOUS!