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This is a very strange list

USA Today and Scholastic Parent & Child bring you the 100 Greatest Books for Kids. Does anyone know how this list was put together? It’s an odd mix of classic titles, contemporary comers, and also-rans. And, what’s this I see, no Harriet the Spy? FINKS

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Mary Devine says:

    No Little House in the Prairie either.

  2. What!? No Oscar De Mejo???

  3. You are right! How odd to see for example these books listed together (and I’ve just picked one grouping):
    35. Freight Train by Donald Crews
    36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    37. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood
    38. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
    39. Zen Shorts by John J. Muth
    40. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

  4. How fascinating to see Green Ham and Eggs edge Anne Frank’s Diary.

  5. Holy age range, Batman. It’s strange to see Pat the Bunny and Holes, for instance, on the same list…

  6. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    No, I can see how a particular kind of list could encompass both Pat the Bunny and Holes. A “classics written for children” list. But this is that plus a whole less more–a list of canonical titles, some likely novices, and then some likable but hardly important contemporary books seemingly thrown in to address a perceived lack of balance of one kind or another. The ranking is just a gimmick–a good one, though.

  7. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Yes, one hundred is an unwieldy number and the rankings are gimmicky, but the deal breaker for me is THE MAZE OF BONES by Rick Riordan whose presence undermines the entire list. Why is it there?

  8. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    Jonathan, when I quickly scanned the list I thought that was the first Percy Jackson, which of course, duh, is The Lightning Thief. But The 39 Clues? Gimme a break.

  9. Gail Lockman says:

    Sounds like they were sitting around drinking and the were just shouting out titles at random. These can’t be ranked 1 to 100. Or could it be an old, old “to read list” distributed by a school with just a few contemporary titles tossed in to make it look somewhat timely?

  10. Roger Sutton says:

    Gail Lockman! Where the heck have you been hiding? (If this is in fact the same Gail Lockman who successfully fought the traffic ticket she got while we were driving to a meeting 25 years ago. . .)

  11. Gail Lockman says:

    Not too sure which ticket that was, I’m convinced the CA HWY Patrol has a tickler file with my name in it. I’m retired, but work on call for Oakland PL. When I read this list, it reminded me of the never updated lists the Catholic schools handed out when I worked at CPL. I read your columns and enjoy them immensely. Congrats Grandpa! The grandkids are wonderful. gl

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