best children's books

Booktrust, “an independent charity set up in 1921 to encourage people of all ages to read,” has recently polled British readers and come up with a list of the fifty best children’s books. The top twenty:

1 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C S Lewis
2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
3 Famous Five series, Enid Blyton
4 Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
5 The BFG, Roald Dahl
6 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, J K Rowling
7 The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
8 The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
9 Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
10 The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson
11 The Tales of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
12 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
13 Matilda, Roald Dahl
14 The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
15 The Cat in the Hat, Dr Suess
16 The Twits, Roald Dahl
17 Mr Men, Roger Hargreaves
18 A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
19 The Malory Towers Series, Enid Blyton
20 Peter Pan, J M Barrie

The best news, as far as I am concerned, is that there are six Roald Dahl books among the fifty. Good taste is not yet eradicated. And I am in absolute agreement with the list that The BFG is the best of them.

Further thoughts: first, books for younger readers shouldn’t be mixed with books for teenagers (The Very Hungry Caterpillar seems an outlier here, even though it really is great of its kind; Peter Rabbit too). Second, I wouldn’t have thought Enid Blyton would go so high: Ahead of Pooh? Ahead of Alice? Ahead of The Wind in the Willows? (I personally would have put Willows at the very top, but then, of all “children’s classics” it’s the one most loved by adults.) And third: I wonder what an equivalent American list would look like?