Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Top 100 Chapter Books of All Time

Thanks to Jacqui for the heads up. Go here. Read about it. Then submit your selections to Put them in order, best to tenth best.


1. Potter--I picked the first one for the sake of simplicity, but really, any of them would do. Why it's number one: I used the stranded on a deserted island test. If I were in such a place, I would read and reread and reread any of the Harry Potter books above the others on the list.

2. Maniac Magee--First, it's awesome. Second, it's totally boy. Third, Spinelli deserves to be on the list and Maniac is his best work. There are other reasons.

3. Holes--Pure story. Awesome plotting. And another one for the boys.

4. Charlotte's Web--Is there a better story of friendship?

5. The Tale of Despereaux--I love Kate DiCamillo's writing, and for my money, Despereaux is her best story.

6. James and the Giant Peach--Because you must include Dahl.

7. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing--More a series of vignettes than a "story," but I read it to my third graders every year and they love it. After all these years, it's still funny.

8. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963--I like unconventional. A lot. Which is partly why Maniac Magee (a serious story about race that's told as a tall tale), Despereaux (the dicking around of the timeline is fun), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (see above), and Watsons make the list. Christopher Paul Curtis spends a good three-quarters of the book making you laugh your ass off and then--WHAM!--church bombing! I admire his guts (or ignorance--He's admitted as much in interviews), but I admire his publisher's guts even more.

9. The Westing Game--Because mysteries are fun and this is the best middle grade one I've read. We need more good mysteries. Anyone willing to write one?

10. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH--Like James and the Giant Peach, this one makes the list because I loved it as a kid. I like it somewhat less now, but you can't argue with nostalgia. I still refuse to admit Knight Rider sucked.

Now show me yours. But do it on your own blog, please.


Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I've taught or read all of those to my classes. I agree. Totally. But I would also include The Giver, because Lois Lowry must be on the list and because the dystopia she created in that story is morbidly wicked.

Anita said...

Oh my gosh! MYYYY middle grade is a's like I paid you to say that or something.

I haven't read all of these, but will.

I could've made a better DESPEREAUX movie. Am so disappointed with it because I love that book.

SPINELLI also rocked with STARGIRL and LOVE, STARGIRL, but I think PMM would think they are hokey.

I actually prefer THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN to CHARLOTTE'S WEB, not that anyone cares.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I refuse to see Despereaux the movie.

I liked Stargirl. The sequel much less so.

If pressed, I'd name Wringer my second favorite Spinelli followed by Stargirl in third.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

The Giver missed the cut only because I think it's most appreciated by older readers. Same goes for The Wednesday Wars and Bridge to Terabithia. Other Honorable Mentions:

A Wrinkle in Time
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

All great ones, PMM. Maniac and Wringer are my two favorite Spinelli's. Have you read Smiles to Go? I didn't like the ending.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars are both phenomenal.

The pacing in Hatchet is unreal.

If you can't tell, I lean toward the boy books. Only natural.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Is this MG in particular? I'm a horrible ranking things because I'm terribly subjective. I could be indecisive as well.

Thanks for the list.

chris said...

I think Mac Barnett's BRIXTON BROTHERS THE CASE OF THE CASE OF THE MISTAKEN IDENTITY is a MG mystery. I haven't read it yet, but I think it's one part WESTING GAME, one part HARDY BOYS, and the rest pure humor.

Kelly said...

What to choose, what to choose...
I'll have to think about this. And need to put a few on my to read list too.
I'm almost done with Brixton Brothers...good, but I do like Mac Barnett's picture books better.

Laura Pauling said...

Notice how the truly great books stick around? I love that. And isn't that our goal? To write a book that sticks around. If only glue would work. :)

Jacqui said...

I understand about the Dahl because I love him too. It was hard for me to leave off fabulous authors who wrote a lot of great books, but none of which were my favorites.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Makes sense to me, Jacqui.