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The Greatest Books for Kids

I love Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White’s 60-year-old novel about a determined farm girl and her partnership with a vocabulary-building spider to save a rather naïve runt of a pig.
 
As a result, I have no problem with Scholastic Parent & Child magazine naming it to their new list of the “100 Greatest Books for Kids.”
 
Even naming it No. 1.
 
But according to Nick Friedman, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, the rankings were clearly aimed at “generating controversy and conversation.”
 
Mission accomplished.
 
Designed to be “culturally representative” – which should be fair warning in itself – the omissions border on the scandalous.
 
They get kudos for including Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, as well as C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And I can understand leaving off Stephanie Meyer’s best-selling Twilight series (apologies to both team Jacob and Edward).
 
But leaving off Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
 
Absurd.
 
Instead, you have Zen Shorts where a panda introduces three children to the Taoist tradition. But then again, it’s published by Scholastic, the maker of the list. In all, (surprise!) 14 titles from Scholastic made the cut.
 
Where is Mrs. Piggle Wiggle when you need her.
 
James Emery White
 
 
Sources
 
“'Charlotte's Web' and 99 more 'great' kids books” by Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today, February 14, 2012. Read online.
 
The full list of “The 100 'Greatest Books for Kids' on Scholastic.

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