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Rating of the best children's books of all time and ages

Rating of the best children's books of all time and ages


  •  Many adults, including myself, still remember their first books. Noble heroes and beautiful princesses, talking animals and even trees lived in them, and good always defeated the most insidious evil. Do you remember how once these books made a child's heart laugh, cry and freeze with fear?

  •  The British magazine Independent has compiled a list of the 30 best children's books, focusing not so much on the number of sales, but on the degree of contribution to world literature, originality and readership carried through the centuries.

  •  Alas, not all the books mentioned in the rating have been translated into Russian. Therefore, we decided to select ten of the best books for children from them, which received many laudatory reviews on Russian-language book resources, and supplement the list with our domestic authors.

10. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

  •  The famous English writer and Nobel laureate in literature was so captivated by the exotic and wonderful world of Indian fairy tales and legends that he gave the world a collection of short stories called The Jungle Book. Curiously, the first illustrations for the collection were made by Rudyard's father, John Kipling.

  •  The plot of The Jungle Book unfolds according to the classic scheme of the “novel of education”, only education is special. After all, they take care of Mowgli – a human child who ended up in the jungle – not people, but animals, and not ordinary ones, but speakers.

  •  The story of Mowgli from the wolf pack outlived its creator for a long time, and turned out to be so popular that several films and cartoons were made based on it, designed for a family audience. It is rightfully included in the list of the most interesting books for children and teenagers.

9. "Fables", Ivan Krylov

"Fables", Ivan KrylovFor children: 4-5 years old.

  •  Ivan Andreevich conceived his works primarily as satirical. And it is not surprising, because contemporaries noted his sharp and merciless mind and great powers of observation. Krylov drew inspiration from everywhere – from French authors, from whose translations his "Fables" began, to politics and observations of the life of his contemporaries.

  •  The popularity of his works was also facilitated by the rare ability to tell a moralizing story in an accessible and concise language. Many of his phrases have since become catchphrases, and entire generations of Russian children grew up listening to his Fables.

8. The Hobbit, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

The Hobbit, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

  •  A cult book that has left its mark on world literature and influenced many fantasy writers over the past half century. For the younger generation, unaccustomed to absorbing large volumes of literary text, it was popularized by the film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.

  •  A wonderful magical world, talking animals, elves, gnomes, a dragon and a pinch of the good old English epic as a seasoning – it is not surprising that both children and adults immediately fell in love with this book.

7. The Harry Potter series, JK Rowling

Harry Potter book series by JK Rowling

  •  Just twenty years ago, the then unknown Englishwoman JK Rowling wrote the first book in the cycle, thanks to which wizards and Muggles, Quidditch and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry entered our lives. And, of course, the inseparable trinity of friends, with one of whom the child can easily associate himself.

  •  In addition to the exciting content, the popularity of the Harry Potter books was also facilitated by the writer's ability to convey all the nuances of the existence of teenagers in closed private schools. When a quarrel with a friend is an event of the same magnitude as the coming enslavement of the world by a dark wizard. Or even more important.

  •  In addition, the entire "Potteriana" is an interesting literary phenomenon – it seems to grow up along with the characters. The first book is the lightest and most carefree, but then, as the characters grow up, more and more problems fall on them, and the situation becomes more and more gloomy.

6. The cycle of books about Narnia, Clive Lewis

The Narnia Book Series by Clive LewisFor children: 8-10 years old.

  •  Many good books for children have one thing in common: they open the door to an alternate reality, sometimes literally. For example, in the first book about Narnia (“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”), four children from our world open the door of an old wardrobe, make their way through moth-eaten furs and enter a magical land.

  •  And there is a whole world – snow-covered forests, fauns, talking animals, as well as an evil queen, whose skin is white as snow, and her heart is black as night. Exciting adventures await young heroes, and, of course, the fight against evil, both external and in the depths of their own hearts.

5. Peter Pan and Wendy by James Barry

"Peter Pan and Wendy" by James BarryFor children: 8-10 years old.

  •  Venerable literary critics say that this book is not really a children's book. It is clearly written from the point of view of an adult, and with a large dose of irony. Be that as it may, the story of a boy who stubbornly refuses to grow up and escapes to the magical land of Neverland (Neverland or the country of Netine will be in different translations) is very popular with readers of all ages.

  •  Barry is credited with inventing a genre that allows both adults and children to enjoy reading together. In addition to adventures, crocodiles, pirates and children's freemen, there are sadder motives in Peter Pan and Wendy. And the main one is the conflict between the innocence and carelessness of childhood and the inevitable burden of responsibility of adulthood.

  •  And although Barry himself did not have children, he was familiar with child psychology firsthand. The writer adopted five boys, the children of his dead friends.

4. "Poems and Tales", Korney Chukovsky

"Poems and Tales", Korney ChukovskyFor children: 4-5 years old.

  •  One of the best books for preschoolers is full of good humor. In it, people, animals, insects, and even the “washbasin boss and washcloth commander” communicate with each other, giving children an idea of ​​what is right and what is not, what can be done, and how to behave with others so as not to be considered a slob and mean.

  •  Chukovsky's works are easy for children's perception, and evoke only positive emotions in children. And adults also have a bright feeling of nostalgia, because once their mothers and fathers read them the same poems and fairy tales.

3. Tales, Hans Christian Andersen

Tales, Hans Christian AndersenFor children: 8-10 years old.

  •  Secretive and shy, Andersen created many beautiful and vibrant literary works. And although the writer himself dreamed of becoming famous as a novelist and author of plays, it was fairy tales that brought him worldwide fame.

  •  Their main themes are love, self-sacrifice and nobility. Gerda is looking for her brother Kai in The Snow Queen, the Little Mermaid dreams of a handsome prince and is ready to make a huge sacrifice for him, and the despised Ugly Duckling eventually finds hope, beauty, and friends.

2. "Tales of the Brothers Grimm", Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm

"Tales of the Brothers Grimm", Wilhelm and Jacob GrimmFor children: 8-10 years old.

  •  The collection of more than two hundred literary processed German fairy tales, painstakingly collected by the Brothers Grimm, had a huge impact on world literature. It has withstood many editions, and some points even had to be softened to please an impressionable audience.

  •  Nevertheless, fairy tales have retained all the best – both a fascinating plot and a depth that resonates in the hearts of both children and adults. Many have read about the Frog Prince, Snow White, Cinderella, the Bremen Town Musicians, and Hansel and Gretel's journey to the gingerbread house. What about Hans the hedgehog boy? Or Harlebarlebats?

  •  Even if you have long passed the age of interest in children's fairy tales, the stories collected by the Brothers Grimm may interest and surprise you.

1. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis CarrollFor children: 8-10 years old.

  •  In the first place in the ranking of the best children's books of all time according to the Independent magazine is the dilogy about the girl Alice, who fell into the rabbit hole and ended up in a land of strangeness and wonder. Alice's "daddy" was an English writer, philosopher and eminent mathematician from Oxford.

  •  His books are an excellent example of the rule of writing good children's literature: if you want children to like it, write for adults too. And now, 150 years after the writing of "Alice", both children and adults continue to read it.

  •  Moreover, the older the reader becomes, the more pleasure he gets from solving puzzles in Carroll's books. As one of the critics said: Alice is perhaps the most childish of all children's books, and its only purpose is to give the child the pleasure of reading.