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broodings from the burrow

April 28, 2020

top 10 books i wish i’d read as a kid
posted by soe 2:33 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read as a Child. Even though I always read a lot, I missed a bunch of classics. While I’m glad I’ve gotten to read them as an adult, I bet reading them as a kid would have been even better.

  1. Matilda by Roald Dahl. The two Charlie & the Chocolate Factory books were the only Dahl I read as a kid, and, honestly, I liked the movie better. But obviously I would have loved this book about a girl reader. (Actually, I see now that this book didn’t come out until I was in high school, but I don’t care. I’m keeping it on the list.)
  2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by Bill Konigsburg. I honestly do not know how I missed this book as a kid. A favorite of many of my favorite people, it falls squarely in the sort of books I loved as a kid and also seems like the sort of book that my dad would have loved to share with us if he’d known about it at the time. Apparently the whole family missed out on museum-sneaking adventures. (Although, it should be noted that Grey Kitten and I had our own adventures at the Met when we were in high school, so it may be that I didn’t actually need additional inspiration.)
  3. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Nowadays, when I see a book compared to The Westing Game, I know it is nearly guaranteed to fall into my wheelhouse. The possibility of magic, but maybe mystical magic and maybe just sleight of hand. Possibly a heist. Definitely subterfuge. And a payoff at the end.
  4. The Swallows and the Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. This series of two families in early 20th-century England — one on vacation and one local — who have sailing and camping adventures all summer is criminally unknown in the U.S. It wasn’t until I was going to the U.K. for the first time and asking an online book group for recommendations that I was introduced to it. I still haven’t read all of them, but I collect them as I find them, the way I have with other childhood series I’ve loved. (There is a made-for-tv series that I was excited about right up until I learned they introduced new, extraneous adult characters and elements into the story.)
  5. The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. It took a while for me to grow into fantasy novels, but it seems like this might have moved the needle earlier had I read the series, particularly since the first book is set at Christmas and I do love me some holiday books. Probably, though, the second two books in the series would have been more my speed as a kid.
  6. Half Magic series by Edward Eager. Karen gave me a couple books from this series as a going-away present when I moved, because I was really reluctant to leave and, I think, she sensed that I needed some inspiration to embrace the adventure I was about to embark upon. I am glad, therefore, that I didn’t read it as a kid because I got to read it when I needed it most.
  7. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Plucky girl (why are boys never plucky?) stories, particularly those set in England of yore, were the sort of books I loved as a kid. (See Frances Hodgson Burnett’s works.) This was probably a little more gothic than I would have chosen on my own, but I was more of a finisher as a kid and I think I would have enjoyed it once I got through it, particularly since the story wraps up very patly.
  8. The Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. I was definitely aware of these books growing up and they even made a movie based on it when I was in middle school, but somehow I missed their delight until much later. I have since dressed as Pippi for Halloween at least twice. (It requires my hair to be long enough to pull into braids. I waited to cut my hair one year until after Halloween just so I could play her.)
  9. The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. I liked stories where time is fluid at a certain fixed point, so I feel like I would have loved this series as a kid.
  10. Momo by Michael Ende. This is another book Karen introduced me to. Ende is best known as the author of The Neverending Story (which people often better recognize from the film, rather than the novel), but his other books are equally charming, especially this one about the importance of spending time doing things we love. There’s a possibility some of the lessons might have gone over my head as a kid, but I suspect not.

How about you? Are there titles you’ve since read that you wished you could go back in time to hand to your earlier self?

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