Weird and wonderful children's books that pushed boundaries
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It would’ve been Roald Dahl’s 102nd birthday today, so in celebration of the weird and wonderful worlds and characters he created over his lifetime including, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Willy Wonka, we’re going to take a look at other children’s books that used imagination over actuality.
Image courtesy of Oast House Archive1) Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak This picture book from 1963 was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and a live-action film adaptation was made in 2009. The book has sold over 19 million copies, following a little boy named Max whose bedroom turns into a mystical jungle, where he comes into contact with the notorious beasts, the “wild things”. This book is truly mystical and definitely deserved of a place in our top ten. 2) The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat focuses on a talking cat adorned in a large red and white striped hat and a red bow tie. He appears in the home of two children while their mother is away and wreaks havoc throughout the household with the help of Thing One and Thing Two. We would be remise not to mention this delightful rhyming entry into the kids book canon. 3) Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis When one thinks of childhood fantasy, C. S. Lewis’s magical world in the wardrobe, Narnia, comes to mind. The book is the first in The Chronicle of Narnia series, which was first published in 1950. It has everything: a fantastical, wintery land hidden in the back of a wardrobe; a talking lion; a snow queen and a group of children ready to save the day. 4) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll Most children will have seen, heard or read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book has been adapted hundreds of times, most famously by Disney in 1951, but it has also been adapted into a ballet and even for stage. With a crazy plot and cast of characters such as the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts, this is truly something that ignites the imagination and is a milestone of quirky and clever child book writing. 5) The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
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