OK, so here, from the gut and without thinking terribly hard about it, are my own, entirely subjectively chosen, twelve “best” children’s books (I am NOT including any of Nosy Crow’s 58 published books – 58?! How did that happen? – because that would seem, somehow, wrong, like choosing between children) selected as I sit at the table on my first evening back home after a long working week in the US on the twelfth day of the twelfth month 2012.
These are the books that I would choose if I had to give a small child in some exclusively book version of Desert Island Discs a tiny library to last them from 0 to 12 (when they’d be rescued from the island and immediately taken to a really great library and/or bookshop). I know it’s not the most cutting edge of lists, but it’s what comes to mind this evening. The good thing is, of course, that I could come up with a completely different list of must-haves tomorrow (or, and this was written within an hour of posting this, below in the comments section).
But, tonight, this is my list:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Winnie The Pooh by A A Milne illustrated by E H Shepard
A Dog So Small by Philippa Pearce
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
An anthology of really great poetry. For me, as a child, it was The Book of a Thousand Poems, but it might be The School Bag by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes
A Just William Book
The Hamlyn Encyclopedia of Animals in Colour (long out of print in the edition I had) or something similar
The astute among you will spot that I have listed thirteen books here, but there’s little chance of doing any more than adding to this list before midnight (and, therefore, the end of 12.12.12) UK time.
What are my most egregious omissions, do you think?