Wednesday, March 13, 2013

10 Outstanding Children's Books Outside of the Top 100

After consulting the NEA Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children and also Scholastic's Top 100 Greatest Books for Kids, I've decided to list my personal top 10 favorites that are outside of the top 100 on either list.

The first would be the book that inspired the title of this blog, The Doorbell Rang. Written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins, this was one of my early childhood favorites.

Here is the rest of my list:

2. The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall/Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

This book reads like a poem. The story is tender. The illustrations are beautiful.

3. Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day

Of all the "Good Dog, Carl" books, this is my favorite. Wordless picture books are a great tool for kids because they can tell the story and it can become more elaborate as their language develops.

4. Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti by Anna Grossnickle Hines

I loved this book because the father and child go grocery shopping together, which was a special Saturday ritual for me and my dad when I was little. My dad and I made pancakes, not spaghetti, but it conjured up the same feelings of love.

5. On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss

This is Greg's favorite children's book. We both like the theme of pushing your imagination and not thinking inside of the box.

6. The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Susan Stevens Crummel and Janet Stevens

Besides being able to add prairie dogs to your child's favorite animals, this book is entertaining for adults as well as kids. A tennis ball falls down a prairie dog hole, and comedy and drama ensue!

7.  The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Teaching children to "roll all by themselves."

8. Eloise by Kay Thompson

Because every child's library needs more books written about spunky girls.

9. Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo /Illustrated by Julia Denos

The more I've learned about Audrey Hepburn, the more I think she's a superb role model for young girls. Also, if you're not familiar with the artwork of Julia Denos, this book will be a real treat!

10. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Since the Scholastic list included books for older children as well, I felt I needed to add this to my list. I cannot fathom how many afternoons I played in my backyard inspired by the Little House series. I also remember that I would follow along while my parents read these books to me, and as I got older, I would take turns reading the chapters aloud with them. I know that I learned to recognize many words by reading along silently in these books. 

What are some of your favorite children's books that don't often make the top 100? Or, if you're a parent/educator, what's a current favorite that you predict will make the next edition of these lists?


  1. Most of my favorites are already on the top 100 (The BFG, The Giver, Frindle, Harry Potter, the Phantom Tollbooth, Chrysanthemum, the Giving Tree, the Sneetches, to name a few!)

    A few underrated titles: Matilda (my all-time favorite Roald Dahl book), Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, Where the Red Fern Grows, the Watsons Go to Birmingham

    And one up-and-coming, awesome title: Because of Mr. Terupt. This was on the Virginia Readers' Choice list this year and it is FANTASTIC. I didn't read it to my class (a little mature for 3rd graders), but I loved it. It made me laugh AND cry. A sequel was just published, I hope (but doubt) it will be just as good.

    Ainsley (aka Children's Lit Nerd)

  2. Little House on the Prairie wasn't on the Top 100 list? I'm surprised. That was one of my very favorite series growing up. My parents got me the whole set for Christmas in second grade, and I devoured all 9 books in a matter of weeks. I still have them and re-read them on occasion. Definitely a must for any kid. :)


  3. I loved fairy tales as a kid and one of my favorites was East of the Sun and West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer, as much for the illustrations as for the story. The other book that comes to mind is The Little Snow Girl by Carolyn Croll, it's about a child made out of snow who feels isolated and different but she is transformed by the love of her parents.

    xoxo, Laura

  4. I found your blog through A Cup of Jo and had to comment because The Doorbell Rang was also one of my favorite books (and yes, I thought of it immediately when I saw your blog name). My mom even went on Amazon recently and got a used copy for future grandkids because I loved it so much, and we used to just check it out of the library. She tells me my other favorite book from when I was litttttle was called "Benny Bakes a Cake." (Hmmmm I guess these foreshadowed my love of bake goods!)