Archive for February, 2010

My Top 10 Children’s Chapter Books

Fuse 8 has done it again!  Last year, she compiled a list of the top 100 picture books that was amazing, and gave me something to do while at the desk at work.  She recently compiled votes from her readers for their top ten favorite chapter books.  Well, I completely forgot to send in my selections.  D’oh!

So, I am going to post them here, so at least like 5 people will see them.  I came up with these pretty fast, and I am sure quite a few of my favorites are missing, but I think it is a pretty well rounded list.  Don’t expect to see any summaries or anything like that….if you want to know what a book is about, you can click on the link.  Some of my very favorite books are not on this list because they are YA titles, so I might have to do that list later.

10.  A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban, Greetings From Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor, and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Okay, so I am totally cheating on this one by having a three way tie, but it is my list and I can do what I want!!!  These are the three books that I’ve read recently that I just can’t stop thinking about.  They are each so perfect in their own way.  The first two books make me laugh and cry at the same time (Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion….Name That Quote!) and the third just totally blew my mind.  I know that I will be recommending these books to kids for YEARS to come.

9.  Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

This normally wouldn’t be my type of book, but when I worked at Barnes and Noble a little girl came up and told me this was the best book she had ever read, so I decided to pick it up.  It is a great, great book with an awesome librarian character (woohoo) that makes me weep uncontrollably at the end.  (You might sense a pattern on this list…)

8.  The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I have a problem remembering the books I read when I was younger.  I know I read a lot as a child, but everything is very foggy when I try to remember them.  But this one, this one stands out as one of my faves.  I went back and read it a few years ago not really expecting it to hold up well, but it still gave me the same eerie feeling I had the first time I read it.

7.  Bunnicula by James Howe

I actually adore ALL of the Bunnicula books, especially Howliday Inn, but I have to go with the original.  I adore the friendship between Chester the cat and Harold the dog.

6.  Frindle by Andrew Clements

I adore Andrew Clements, and Frindle is an example of the perfect school story.  It is funny, and it manages to disguise a lot of knowledge in with the laughs.  I also really love the fact that the teacher is the “bad guy” who isn’t really bad.  The ending to this book is pitch perfect and always brings a tear to my eye.

5.  Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I recently went back and read this again and it wasn’t quite as awesome as I remember, but I honestly cannot help putting it on my list.  I loved Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny and I totally wanted to live in a Boxcar after I read it as a child.  There is just something so great about kids being on their own and doing it well.  I still think it would be kind of awesome to live in an old boxcar.

4.  Buffalo Gal by Bill Wallace

This book is a very personal choice.  I have honestly read it about 8 or 9 times.  This is a book that I read now and KNOW that it is not a great book.  The main character is an annoying spoiled brat, and the main guy David, has no personality whatsoever.  But I Don’t Care!  I still get the same happy smiley feeling I did when I read this as a little girl, so it makes the list.

3.  The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Aaaaaah, I adore this book!  It’s got everything you could ever want: a character who really grows, murder, a mutiny, and a big ship!!!  I think this would make a fantastic movie (and I think it might be happening) but I would want to make the movie MYSELF in order to make sure it is done right.

2.  MacDonald Hall Goes Hollywood by Gordon Korman

When I was a kid, I could not get enough of Gordon Korman.  I like his more recent books okay, but his early books…..oh his early books are hilarious beyond your wildest imagination.  The Bruno and Boots books are so amazing that it is hard to pick my favorite one.  But looking at my copies, it is obvious that this title is the one that has been read so many times that it is falling apart in every possible way.  This is another very personal choice, and I don’t expect any of Korman’s books will make the list, and in my mind that is a crime.

1.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Obviously, all the Harry Potter books could be on this list, but that would end up being kind of boring and anticlimactic.  The Harry Potter books changed my life in so many ways (I know, we’ve all heard this before….).  I didn’t really read at all for fun from high school through the beginning of college.  Then I picked up these books and remembered how awesome books can make you feel.  They also helped introduce me to some very awesome people (ahem, fellow nerdgirls, ahem).  The reason I picked PoA over the others in the series is because of the last few chapters of the book.  The big reveal!  The way everything is explained perfectly and rationally in an amazingly simple way.  There are also two moments that stand out as my favorites.  Sirius’ letter at the end gives me the happy goosebumps every time I read it.  Also, there is one part in the middle of the book when Ron screams and wakes up Gryffindor tower.  Fred comes down to the common room and says “Excellent, are we carrying on?”  I don’t know why I love that moment so much, but it seems to sum up the whole essence of the Weasley twins in that one little line.  Considering they are my favorite characters in the books, that is probably why I love it so much.

Well, that’s my list.  Make sure you go and check out the countdown that is still ongoing over at Fuse 8.  (This link takes you to 100-91, then there are links at the bottom to take you to the rest.)  One of the most fun things is trying to guess what is going to come next.  Will all 7 Harry Potter books make it?  How many Sharon Creech titles will show up?  How many Judy Blume?  (If Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great shows up I will be so pissed!  That book is awful!!!!!!)  Also, what will be #1???  It was pretty obvious to guess the #1 and #2 for the picture book poll, but this is a little more tricky.  I want to say it will be something like The Giver or Holes.  Hmmmm, I will have to wait and see.

The thing that throws a curve ball into this list as opposed to the picture book list is that it sounds like a bunch of teachers sent in lists that their students made.  So this is not a list made by moldy oldy librarians like you and me……actual kids took part in it!!!  I think that might have a lot to do with how #77 ended up on the list.  Anyway…..what are YOUR favorite chapter books?

Jen

UPDATE: I am so pumped that Jeremy Thatcher made it on the list at # 67!!!!  I can’t believe it was higher than Walk Two Moons, which I was sure would be in the top 20.  It’s just getting interesting…

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This One’s For The Ladies!

I will admit that I did not catch many of the Super Bowl commercials last weekend.  I was too depressed over my Colts losing, and I heard they were pretty crappy anyway.  I did hear a lot about how most of the commercials kind of dumped on women….like a lot.  Here is one in particular.

Interesting concept…..boo hoo, men have it so bad.  Well, thankfully, there is now a response to that ad, that I find both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

After seeing both of them, I don’t think the men really have too much to cry about.

Jen

P.S.  I did really love the Google ad, it made me feel like I feel at the end of Love Actually.  Now Hank Green has come up with his own Harry Potter themed one that is just as awesome.