Young readers love Where The Wild Things Are… Beloved book tops the list of the 100 best children’s books of all time and remains an enticing read after 60 years
- The BBC compiled the list of children’s authors, illustrators and readers
The otherworldly storyline of monsters living on a made-up tropical island has provided enticing bedtime reading for 60 years.
Now Where The Wild Things Are tops the list of the 100 greatest children’s books of all time.
The semi-autobiographical picture book by American author Maurice Sendak, published in 1963, is about Max, a mischievous boy who wreaks havoc in his wolf costume and is then sent to bed without food.
To celebrate the power of children’s emotions and imagination, Max is so angry about his punishment that his bedroom turns into an island where he becomes the king of the ‘Wild Things’.
But in the end, he finds himself missing home and returns to his room – where a hot meal awaits him.
Maurice Sendak’s semi-autobiographical picture book ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ (pictured) tops the list of the 100 greatest children’s books of all time
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (pictured) and Pippi Longstocking by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren placed second and third respectively
The BBC assembled a panel of children’s authors, illustrators, publishers, academics and readers from 56 countries to compile the top 100.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s dominated by classics that have stood the test of time.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll and Pippi Longstocking (1945) by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren placed second and third respectively.
Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman, is the most modern book in the top 10, published in 1995.
Pullman, 76, who is also the only living author in the top ten, said he was “delighted,” adding: “Children’s books are important because we still think about them when we grow up.”
There are only two other relatively recent stories in the top 20: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) by JK Rowling at age 13 and The Arrival (2006) by Shaun Tan at age 16.
The most modern book on the list is Julian Is A Mermaid (2018) by Jessica Love – a story inspired by a trans friend – and the oldest is Panchatantra, a collection of ancient Indian fables.
Roald Dahl – the focus of a recent publishing scandal in which some of his writing was changed to appease modern tastes – is the most celebrated author, appearing six times.
He is followed by the Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson, whose Moomins stories appear five times.