children’s classics

I’m in the middle of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, one of my Classics Challenge picks.  Unlike my other selections, this is a children’s book.  Though I read a lot of young adult lit, I don’t make my way down to the juvenile/middle-grade section of the spectrum very often. 

But I’ve been getting the sense that I’ve missed out on a lot of great books — classic children’s works — written at that level.  I’m not sure why this is; I certainly read my share of books as a kid.  Maybe it was my preoccupation with series books (particularly the Baby-Sitters Club — I had shelves full of those), or the fact that I advanced to YA and even adult reading relatively early.  Whatever the reason, I’ve been working to rectify this; I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time for the first time just last year, and I’m trying to add more children’s classics to my reading list as well. 

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of these, and I’m enjoying it immensely.  I can certainly understand the comparisons of Juster to Lewis Carroll, but at the same time, Juster has a definitive voice and a way of playing with the words — the idea of them, as well as the sounds and meaning — that is entirely unique. 

I’ll be finishing Milo’s adventure soon, and I would love recommendations for other children’s classics that I should be catching up with.  What are your favorites?

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~ by Molly on June 19, 2009.

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