First Choice: A basic book list for children
Eileen Colwell, M.B.E., F.L.A.
L. Esmé Green, A.L.AH
F. Phyllis Parrott, F.L.A.
for the Youth Libraries Group of
the Library Association
The Library Association
FOR YOUNGER READERS (pp. 13-18)
Atwater, Richard and Florence, Mr. Popper's Penguins, 1938.
"An amusing, original story about a family of penguins kept as pets by a middle-aged, small-town American."
Baumann, Hans, The Bear and His Brothers, 1961.
"This story of a bear's subjection to man and consequent rejection of his brothers, has the qualities of a folk tale in its simplicity and wisdom."
Bond, Michael, The Adventures of Paddington, 1958.
"Humorous adventures of a bear from 'Darkest Peru' found on Paddington Station by a London family; a story from the 'Pooh' tradition."
Boston, Lucy Maria, The Castle of Yew, 1965.
"Two boys suddenly become small enough to climb into a yew tree cut into the shape of a castle. Life in miniature proves to be both dangerous and pleasant. Imaginative power makes this a memorable story for younger readers."
Brand, Christianna, Nurse Matilda, 1964.
"Humorous fantasy concerning a family of innumerable naughty children cured by the magic powers of a mysterious nurse."
Carlson, Nancy Savage, The Happy Orpheline, 1957.
Chekov, Anton, Kashtanka, 1959. Ill. William Stobbs, trans. Charles Dowsett.
"The story of a lost dog trained for the circus and her joyful return to her disreputable master. Kate Greenaway Medal winner, 1959."
Clark, Margery, The Poppy-Seed Cakes, 1924.
"Eight little stories, a blend of reality and fantasy, about two real children, Andrewshek and Erminka. Their humour and simplicity will appeal to children of pre-school age."
Faralla, Dana, Swanhilda-of-the-Swans, 1964.
Farjeon, Eleanor, The Glass Slipper, 1955.
"Around the traditional theme Eleanor Farjeon, with consummate skill, has woven this new tale, which like all good fairy stories has a depth that even the youngest may appreciate."
"An inviting introduction to the work of a number of modern and a few older writers for children. Each story is prefaced by a brief note about the author and followed by suggestions to 'open the door' to further reading."
Fry, Rosalie Kingsmill, The Mountain Door, 1960.
"An Irish fantasy of a changeling girl who chooses between the fairy hill and the human world."
Godden, Rumer, The Doll's House, 1947.
"The life of a family of dolls, a miniature of real life, is told with sympathy and understanding."
Godden, Rumer, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, 1961.
"A lonely child finds happiness through two tiny Japanese dolls for which she and her cousins build a house. The skilful simplicity with which it is written makes this an ideal book to read aloud."
Grahame, Kenneth, The Reluctant Dragon, 1898.
"An amusing short story, extracted from Dream Days, about a compromise effected by a boy between St. George and a good dragon."
Hewitt, Anita, A Hat for a Rhinoceros, 1959.
"Short, fanciful and amusing stories about jungle animals."
"An interesting historical story for quite young readers. The Great Fire (Hamish Hamilton, 9/6) is also recommended."
"The misadventure of an Irishman who thought he could get the better of the fairies."
"In this simply told story with its convincing background, an African boy learns that birds have rights which must be respected. The Boy Who Wanted to Go Fishing (Methuen, 11/6) is set in Malaya."
"A humorous classic for younger readers, distinguished by the author's obvious delight in language."
"Pippi has supernatural strength, is rude and unconventional, but her adventures fascinate many children."
"The 'Dabchick' can travel on land, in the air and under the sea. An amusing tale well told and illustrated with perception."
"A humorous account of the highly imaginative adventures of a little boy and his toys."
"A charming fairy classic about a cuckoo of a character who takes a little girl to magic lands and instructs her in good behaviour. Recommended for reading aloud."
"An old London balloon seller, pining for her lost cat, finds her pet and a new home. An original story, well told with unrestricted vocabulary."
"The hilarious adventures of a woman who becomes as small as a pepperpot at unexpected moments."
"A story for young readers about an Australian boy who lives on a sheep farm and how he learns from his experiences there."
"A simply told story, well translated, of an event in Norway many years ago. A bear cub is captured and a child disappears, but there is a happy and strange ending."
"The complications which a little elf introduces into the lives of a Dutch family make an interesting story for young children."
"The author's first book for children and the first of a series in which an association of mice is formed to help prisoners. The satirical slant is not obvious to children who enjoy the humour of the dramatic adventures of Miss Bianca and Bernard."
"Heidi goes to live with her grandfather in his Swiss mountain hut and delights in her new surroundings and the visits to the high pastures with Peter and the goats. Her story is continued in Heidi Grows Up and Heidi's Children by Charles Tritten (Collins, 7/6)."
"The adventures of Tim Rabbit, a blend of reality and fantasy which appeals to children of five upwards."
"Twenty-three tales from seventeen of Alison Uttley's books. Her lightness of touch, and her keen observation of country things, give her stories a special charm."
"Thirty-five of the stories from the 'Sam Pig' books. The little pig is gay and lovable and his adventures are set against a backdrop of country and farm life and have a spice of magic that appeals to younger children."
"A charming tale for younger readers about a toy horse's search for a fortune for his old master."