Top Ten Tuesday: Children’s Classics


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Classics” – and my spin on it is Favourite Children’s Classics. They aren’t listed in any particular order of preference – they’re just books I enjoyed immensly (both as a kid and later in life). Clicking the images will take you to Goodreads.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: this one is just secret gardenSO PRETTY. I don’t mean the cover, but the story. I reread it recently for an assignment and it confirmed my childhood opinion – I’d recommend it to anyone.





The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It will always make my top-ten lists, because it’s one of the reasons I read fantasy. I may not like the new movie adaptations much (too bombastic), but I adore the original.




Matilda by Roald Dahl: a perfect mix of mischevous, matildawitchesfunny and serious. I know some adults dislike it for its message, but I think Dahl was a genious. Which is why he merits another entry on this list with The Witchesanother one of my favourites, though it’s slightly scarier. I think it’s perfect, really.



little white horseThe Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I must have read this one a dozen times when I was a kid. I haven’t reread it as an adult, because I’m afraid of breaking the spell, honestly, but I loved the strong heroine and the setting so much!




Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne – I’m including this one winniefor the cuteness factor. It’s become so entrenched in the everyday culture, but I think it hasn’t lost any of its appeal. Pooh is wonderful.




wizard earthseaThe Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin: I only read this one later, when I was about 20, I think, but it has swiftly become one of my favourites. The entire Earthsea Cycle is gorgeously written and should be read by any lover of fantasy. I basically worship Le Guin. I even wrote my MA thesis on her novels.




Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. I have already roniamentioned my love of all things Lindgren here on the blog, and Ronia shares the top spot with The Brothers Lionheart. She’s all a children’s heroine should be, I think, running around the forest, taming horses and learning how to get through the rough patches in life. I can’t wait for my kid to read this one!



watership downWatership Down by Richard Adams – I haven’t reread this one in recent years, though I really want to. I remember loving it from the start and I wonder whether the feeling would be the same now.





And finally: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, little princewhich I’ve read more times than I can count, both in the original and the Slovenian translation. I know it’s essentially not a children’s book, what with the fairly complicated philosophy, but I think readers of all ages can find something to relate to here.



These are my top ten children’s classicswhat are yours?

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I have to admit I’ve met quite some classics that I didn’t particularly like (especially when I (re)read them recently): The Wind in the Willows made me want to pull my teeth out, Alice in Wonderland has been used and abused so many times it’s lost its charm, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe made me cringe with the pushy ideology and I almost perished from boredom when reading Little Women. Do you hate any books you were supposed to love? I’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesistate to comment – and leave links to your Top Ten posts if you participated!

  • Dahl is a genius! I have read most of his children’s books now- but I haven’t got to The Witches – yet. The Little White Horse and Ronia are both on my TBR, it’s always great to see them being loved. I really enjoyed your list.

    • Kaja

      Hi, Louise, thanks for commenting!
      I live in Slovenia, so I mostly read Dahl in translation when I was little (great translations, really), but I reread most of his works once I had enough English to understand them. I don’t like them all equally (James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example, don’t come close to BFG, The Witches and Matilda, in my opinion), but I’d still recommend ALL of them to any kid I met :)
      If I had to choose between The Little White Horse and Ronia, I’d choose Ronia – if that helps with your TBR!

  • I adore the Secret Garden. I also can’t believe I forgot about Watership Down, I loved that movie as a kid.
    Great list :)

    • Kaja

      Hi, Jazz, thanks for the comment!
      The Secret Garden is … well, I think it might be one of my favourite books ever. I SO wanted to have a garden on my own when I was a kid, and I’d still say robins are my favourite birds :)

  • Oh my gosh, you picked some great ones! I haven’t read any of these, though. Shameful, right? I own SECRET GARDEN, WINNIE, and HOBBIT, but I haven’t read them. Maybe “read” Pooh when I was younger, but I definitely don’t remember it.

    I was supposed to love LITTLE WOMEN but I loathed it. It began with that first line, and continued through to the end. The movie adaptation was fun, though, so I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was because I’d read it “late” in life? That I was supposed to read it as a child and keep it there? Who knows.

    • Kaja

      Hi, Laura, thanks for the comment!
      I agree with you on Little Women. I somehow remember watching the movie and liking it (I’ve always been a sucker for period stuff), but when I had to read the book for a class at Uni, I could barely get through.
      I own several classics that I haven’t read yet – I’m actually thinking about making up some sort of a challenge for myself now that I have a blog, maybe one a month or something like it? I should definitely start reading them again, it’s so easy to get lost in the world of easier-to-read novels …

  • I know what you mean about re-reading and breaking the magic. I wnat to re-read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase but I’m wondering if my adult head will hate it. I was obsessed with Watership Down as a kid.

    • Kaja

      Yeah, sometimes I watch movies I loved as a kid (Ghostbusters! Men in Tights!) and it’s just not the same. Maybe you grow more critical as you age? I love children’s novels that speak to both kids and adults – for different reasons.

  • I love Roald Dahl’s stories. :) Growing up my favourites were always The Magic Finger and Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Secret Garden is another lovely classic, too – great list!

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Jess :)
      Fantastic Mr Fox is really cool, I agree! I also loved the BFG. Did you read any of his adult short stories? They’re wonderful!

  • I loved Matilda as a child (still do) and spent hours staring at items in my bedroom trying to get them to move. Sadly they never did.

    • Kaja

      Yeah, I can imagine that :D But if you REALLY think about it, Matilda is a creepy little poltergeist ;) I still love the book, though!

  • I read Earthsea, Watership Down, The Little Prince and Hobbit as adult and loved them, but they do not count.
    I mostly read/loved adventure books & based in nature as a kid. My favorite classics were: The Swiss Family Robinson, In Desert and Wilderness, Pippi Longstocking, The Jungle Book, Heidi, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and everything by Jules Verne & Branko Copic.
    The Wind in the Willows was bore-fest to me too. Never finished it.

    • Kaja

      Hey, Dragana, thanks for the comment!
      I HAD TO finish The Wind in the Willows for a Uni course … such suffering.
      I read loads of adventure/detective books as well, but they never stuck with me the way these fantasy novels did. But back then, I didn’t really think about them being fantasy or not, I just read what I liked :)

  • You know I love the Secret Garden and the Hobbit… I love Winnie-the-Pooh and Ronia, Robber’s Daughter, too – I was trying to find a way to fit Winnie-the-Pooh in particular on my list. I had Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I remember re-reading a lot as a child, but somehow I never made it on to Dahl’s other books. (I’m a little ashamed.) I read Earthsea as a child and liked it OK; re-listening to the first one, the language is beautiful and I really like having the whole world not be white people, but I really had a hard time with how few women there were. I’ve heard I should read some of the more recent Earthsea books, but haven’t gotten around to it. Watership Down I couldn’t get in to, and I keep trying and failing with the Little Prince, though I think Momo has some of the same qualities to it.

    • Kaja

      Hi, Katy!
      Oh, yes, the first part of Earthsea does have a tricky relationship with women. It’s much better later on in the series, though. I think the books are well worth reading, if you can find the time :)
      I read Momo when I was a kid, and remember liking it, but I’d have to read it again! Thanks for reminding me of it!