Fuse #8

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I'm a Sucker for a Lovely List

My love of book lists seems to work in tandem with the love the Brits lavish on creating such lists. Tis kismet. I mean, how better to explain The Independent's recent publication of the, "10 books today nominated as the most important children's novels of the past 70 years"? They're calling it the Carnegie of the Carnegies, which is essentially the same as saying the Newbery of the Newberys but in Britspeak. Voila their winners alongside their amusingly brief plot descriptions:

* SKELLIG David Almond (won in 1998)
A tale of a creature beneath the garage

* JUNK Melvin Burgess (1996)
The lives of young heroin users

* STORM Kevin Crossley-Holland (1985)
Girl discovers the secrets of a marsh

* A GATHERING LIGHT Jennifer Donnelly (2003)
Novel about a real murder

* THE OWL SERVICE Alan Garner (1967)
A terrifying legend re-emerges

Portrait of a working-class family

* THE BORROWERS Mary Norton (1952)
Tiny people live beneath the floor

* TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN Philippa Pearce (1958)
Adventures in a magical garden

* NORTHERN LIGHTS Philip Pullman (1995)
First of the trilogy His Dark Materials

* THE MACHINE-GUNNERS Robert Westall (1981)
Second World War novel

It goes on to say: " Meanwhile, the shortlist for this year's Carnegie Medal, also announced today, included two first-time novelists, Siobhan Dowd, for A Swift Pure Cry, and Ally Kennen's Beast, as well as Anne Fine's The Road of Bones; Meg Rosoff's Just in Case; Marcus Sedgwick's My Swordhand is Singing, and Kevin Brooks' The Road of the Dead."

Speaking of the Newbery of the Newberys, two can play at THIS game. The top ten children's books written in the last 70 years that also happened to win the Newbery Award (not Honor)? Here's my take with my own brief descriptions:

2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
A boy and his shard.

2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)
A boy searches for his father.

1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)
Yet another boy (hm) digs holes.

1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry(Houghton)
Once more a boy (uh-oh) can see the future.

1983: Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)
A girl (yay!) tries to deal with life.

1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Dutton)
A girl (double yay!) solves a mystery.

1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
A boy and a girl (that's more like it) hang out until she drowns.

1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (Atheneum)
A mouse (girl mouse) saves some rats.

1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Farrar)
Two boys and a girl save a scientist.

1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (Viking)
A man discovers an island.

I've excluded my own year on purpose. It just didn't seem fair. You'll note that I don't go much earlier than 1948, but it's just my bad luck that Caddie Woodlawn won in 1936 and not '37 (you may stare at me in horror, but I still like that book). The nice thing about this list? No one on earth is going to necessarily agree with me. But these are the ten I liked the most. I stand by A Wrinkle in Time too! Consarn it.

Thanks to Big A little a for the first list.

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At 8:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved A Wrinkle in Time. I now want to go and get a copy and read it again. I also want to go and get another couple of books on this list I've heard about but not read. For me. How does this happen? Is it a subconcious cry against the fact my boychild won't read anything that isn't about a known, televised superhero, or a car of some sort? Possibly.

At 9:16 AM , Blogger PJ Hoover said...

Ditto for me on The Twenty-One Balloons, except I still have my copy. I loved this book! Sounds like a good weekend activity. Wonder if it's OK as a read-aloud for a 6 year old. I'd say it's worth a try.

At 11:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love them all, but I haven't read "Balloons" or "Bud". I guess I have to grab them this week.

At 12:35 PM , Blogger Jennie said...

I loved Wrinkle in Time when I read it as a kid. I reread a bunch of my childhood favorites this summer and Wrinkle is one of the few that I still loved as an adult-- possibly even more so.

At 1:31 PM , Blogger Jess said...

Wait, who's picking on A Wrinkle in Time? I loved it as a child, and it set me off on a huge L'Engle kick, but reading it as an adult, it more than stood up to the test of time and growing up.

At 1:40 PM , Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

I enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time as a kid, and read at least one sequel. (Not sure if I read more or not.) Tried rereading it last year, though, and found it so boring that I gave up halfway through. The Twenty-One Balloons is the only other book on your list I've read; loved it, too, but haven't tried rereading it yet.

At 6:25 PM , Blogger Miriam said...

Wrinkle in Time has to be one of my favorite books. I read it multiple times and it always held up for me. Some of the sequels didn't hold up as well (even on first reading), but that one is and always will be a classic and a heck of a good read. I went on to read as many L'Engle books as I could find. As for the rest of your list, I never could get into Twenty-One Balloons. I'm with you on the rest, though.

At 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your list reminds me that at least some of my favorite books--A Wrinkle in Time, The Westing Game, Mrs. Frisby--did win the Newbery Award, something I forget in my grumpier Newbery moments. (Also The Hero and the Crown, which would be on my top ten list--I literally forced a student to check it out the other day. My philosophy is, if you like fantasy and haven't read The Hero and the Crown, you read it NOW--especially if you're a middle school girl.)

My favorite book by Carol Ryrie Brink is Family Sabbatical. It is, in fact, my favorite children's book.

At 10:49 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

By rights I should have read "The Hero and the Crown" by now. It's a crime against man that I have not. Maybe on my next vacation.

At 12:54 PM , Blogger Lisa Jenn said...

Fun. I haven't read Bud, Not Buddy yet, shamefully, and all I remember of Twenty-One Balloons is that that's where I learned the word "Krakatoa," back when my second grade teacher read it.

Other Newbery Award winners that I read over and over again as a kid (with a definite pre-1996 bias) that haven't been mentioned yet: The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1959), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1968), and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1977). I was also a huge Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander fan.

At 4:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to nitpick, but you might have to amend one of your annotations: Jonas doesn't really see the future in "The Giver.


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