Chipping Away at the List

I’ve been chipping away at the list of Top 100 Children’s Books.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Grade: B+

My Father’s Dragon is a cute story about a boy who rescues a dragon that is being exploited by other animals on a faraway island. I enjoyed the story, but I felt like it was over before I had a chance to really get into it.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Grade: A-

The title of this book made me think that it was going to be a story about Native Americans. The main character, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, does have some Native American ancestry, but the story is about love and loss and telling stories. Sal takes a road trip with her grandparents, telling stories to them to help pass the time. Along the way we learn all about her family and friends in a humorous way. I could tell as I was reading that some sad things were going to happen, and while you could say the story is predictable in that way, the storytelling is superb. Highly recommended.

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

Grade: A+

Gone-Away Lake always brings me back to my childhood. I never experienced anything like the adventures of Portia, her brother Foster, and her cousin Julian, but I would have loved to! The children discover a swamp that used to be a lake (which is why it’s called Gone-Away Lake). And living in the ramshackle remains of what were once grand vacation homes are the elderly Pindar and his sister Minnehaha, who invite the children into their lives, sharing their stories of the past and all the wonderful things that they have learned about the swamp. Also highly recommended.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Grade: B+

Stargirl is a teenager who refuses to fit in. In fact, she goes out of her way to be different, doing things like playing the ukulele at lunchtime and buying gifts for complete strangers. But the world expects conformity, and when Stargirl refuses to conform, well, people get a little mean.

I wrestled with my feelings while reading the book. I liked Stargirl, but I was also frustrated by her, and then I felt bad for being frustrated by her. And I felt manipulated by the author, because I knew that he was doing that on purpose, and I don’t like having my strings pulled that way.

The thing is, I think we need more Stargirls in this world. We need to invite them into our lives and encourage them in their “work.” So I applaud the book for that reason, but alas, it will never be a favorite.

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5 Responses to Chipping Away at the List

  1. sprite says:

    Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t love Stargirl. She made my heart sing.

    If you thought My Father’s Dragon was too short, there are several sequels. I haven’t read them, but I know they packaged three of them together in a recent anniversary book.

    The Creech book remains among those still TBR from this list. I’m glad to hear you recommend it.

  2. chick says:

    How many books on the list are still TBR? You must be getting close to the end! I still have a lot to do. There are about 36 that I’ve never read, plus 5 or so that I probably read when I was a kid, plus another 5 or so that I definitely read but so long ago that I barely remember them. The only book in the top 15 that I haven’t read is Bridge to Terabithia. Did you like that one? I’ve been avoiding it because I saw the movie, so I know what happens. But having an unread book so close to the top of the list has been nagging at me, so I picked up a copy at the library’s used book store.

  3. sprite says:

    I never watched the movie because the book was so sad. Excellent, but desperately sad.

    I started to say that Tuck Everlasting was my highest ranking book still left, but then I remembered the end of it and I read it last summer. Hmmm… Currently, it looks like that award goes to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which I maybe read as a kid, but maybe not.

    I think I’m down to 14 titles, including 3-4 that I’m not sure about from my childhood.

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