Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In praise of the bedtime story

...and the Bestselling Children's Books of All Time

I was saddened to read this story (hat tip to my 101qfl co-host Darren Marlar) about the fact that reading bedtime stories to your children appears to be a dying tradition, at least according to a UK survey.

It's been many years since I read bedtime stories to my children, but I did it on a regular basis--and I'm convinced that's one of the reasons why all three of my kids enjoy reading to this day. (In this piece by my oldest son Jonathan, he reminisces about being read to--although I don't think I read the Chronicles of Narnia to him "every night." :))

To this day, I can remember bits and pieces of books I read to my kids. One was a well-worn Little Golden Book by Richard Scarry. Although I can't remember the title of the book, I can recite whole chunks of it to this day:

"On rainy days we stay indoors.
We have a lot of fun.
But there is so much work to do
When rainy days are done."

"We like to dress up wickedly.
We march to our ship...yo ho! yo hee!
And then we sail across the sea."

"When pots and pans are handy
A big parade is dandy."

And there was the page depicting a big bird--a seagull, I think--to which little Jonathan always pointed and said "Caw! Caw!"

Ah, sweet memories. If you don't read bedtime stories to your children, you're the one missing out. Although my kids are grown now, I can still feel how their little warm bodies felt, clean and pajama'd, encircled in my arm as I read to them.

And how, when I would try to condense a long story, they would never let me get away with it: "That's not how it goes, Mommy!"

Which is why I enjoyed reading them quirky, humorous books like those by Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss.

The 100 Bestselling Children's Books

Which brings me to Publisher's Weekly's list of Bestselling Children's Books of all time.

There are actually two lists--hardcover and paperback---and I first went to the paperback list. I was puzzled that many children's favorites weren't on the list.

Then I went to the hardcover list, and apparently "Little Golden Books" count as hardcover, because there were several there that I remembered reading to my kids: "The Poky Little Puppy," "The Tawny Scrawny Lion," and several of my Dr. Seuss favorites.

Anyway, here are the top 100 on the paperback list (there are actually 150 on the list), and I've highlighted the ones I've read, and made notations on others.

Why not glance through the list and see how many you've read? Let me know in my comments section or on your own blog.

And check out The Crusty Curmudgeon's post on why he read girls' books as a boy.

(And if you like, read about some my OWN favorite childhood books here.)

Publisher's Weekly list of Bestselling Children's Books (paperback)

1.Charlotte's Web, E. B. White; illustrated by Garth Williams (1974)
2. The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton (1968)
3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume (1976)
4. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch; illustrated by Sheila McGraw (1986)
5. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (1973)
6. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell (1971)
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling (1999)
9. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume (1972)
10. Shane, Jack Schaeffer (1972)
11. The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks (1982)
12. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (1974) (I've heard so many good things about this book--I must read it)
13. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)(Interestingly, my sister, who didn't even like to read that much, was the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in our family...the only one I read was:
14. Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
15. The Incredible Journey, Sheila Burnford (1984)
16. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1968)
17. Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes (1969)(loved this book when I read it in school--tried to read it to my kids years later, and they hated it so much I had to stop)
18. Just Me and My Dad, Mercer Mayer (1977)
19. Go Ask Alice, Anonymous (1976)
20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. J. K. Rowling (2000)
21. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Judy Blume (1976)
22. Blubber, Judy Blume (1976)
23. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare (1972)
24. Superfudge, Judy Blume (1981)
25. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson (1987)
26. Freckle Juice, Judy Blume (1978)
27. On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
28. That Was Then, This Is Now, S. E. Hinton (1972)
29. Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Louis Sachar (1985)
30. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger (1951)(!--this is a children's story?!)
31. Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
32. Just Go to Bed, Mercer Mayer (1993)
33. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (1984)
34. Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Clement Hurd (1977)
35. The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
36. The Berenstain Bears' New Baby, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1974)(pretty sure I read this to one or more of my kids at one point)
37. By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
38. Little Town on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
39. The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1983)
40. The Pigman, Paul Zindel (1978)
41. The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1961)
42. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg (1973)
43. Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, Mercer Mayer (1982)
44. Just Grandma and Me, Mercer Mayer (1975)
45. Just for You, Mercer Mayer (1975)
46. Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan (1987)(No, but loved the movie with Glenn Close and Christopher Walken)
47. When the Legends Die, Hal Borland (1984)
48. Bunnicula, James Howe (1980)
49. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl; illustrated by Nancy Burkert (1988)
50. The Berenstain Bears Go to School, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1978)(may have read this one to my kids)
51. The Night Before Christmas, Clement Hurd; illustrated by Douglas Gorsline (1975)
52. These Happy Golden Years, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
53. All By Myself, Mercer Mayer (1983)
54. Stuart Little, E. B. White; illustrated by Garth Williams (1974)
55. The First Four Years, Laura Ingalls Wilder; illustrated by Garth Williams (1971)
Hatchet, Gary Paulsen (1988)
56. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson (1979)
57. The Cay, Theodore Taylor (1970)
58. Kristy's Great Idea (Babysitters Club #1), Ann M. Martin (1986)
59. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1985)
60. Then Again, Maybe I Won't, Judy Blume (1973)
61. I Was So Mad, Mercer Mayer (1983)
62. The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1984)
63. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1994)
64. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1984)
65. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl (1988)(haven't seen the movie yet either, but my oldest son recommends it)
66. The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1985)
67. The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1985)
68. Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George (1974)
69. The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1981)
70. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1983)
71. Gremlins, George Jipe (1984) OP
72. Stone Fox, John Gardner; illustrated by Marcia Sewall (1983)
73. I Just Forgot, Mercer Mayer (1988)
74. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1976)
75. How to Eat Fried Worms, Thomas Rockwell (1975)
76. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary (1980)
77. When I Get Bigger, Mercer Mayer (1983)
78. The Berenstain Bears in the Dark, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1982)
79. 500 Words to Grow On, Harry McNaught (1973)
80. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor (1984)
81. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, Peggy Parish; illustrated by Lynn Sweat (1987)
82. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry (1990)
83. Thee Trumpet of the Swan, E. B. White; illustrated by Edward Frascino (1973)
84. The Cricket in Times Square, George Selden; illustrated by Garth Williams (1970)
85. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry (1956 0(a friend my age tells me this is the ONLY fiction book he's ever read!!! He loves it, by the way)
86. It's Not What You Expect, Norma Klein (1976) OP
87. Matilda, Roald Dahl; illustrated by Quentin Blake (1990)
88. The New Baby, Mercer Mayer (1983)
89. The Chocolate Touch, Patrick Catling (1984)
90. Corduroy, Don Freeman (1976) (I might have read this. Is it about a bear?)
91. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (1970)(One of my favorite books of all time. 1970? Maybe that was just one of the publishing dates)
92. The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1981)
93. The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight, Stan and Jan Berenstain (1982(might've read this one)
94. Sounder, William H. Armstrong (1972)
95. The Return of the Indian, Lynne Reid Banks (1987)
96. The Kitten Book, Jan Pfloog (1968)
97. Dinosaurs, Peter Zallinger (1977)
98. Wee Sing Children's Songs and Fingerplays (1977)
99. The Truck Book, Harry McNaught (1978)
100. Barney's Hats (1993)

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