Some of the classic children’s books that families will thoroughly enjoy have recently been reissued. If you haven’t read them, you’re truly missing out on some of the best literature ever written for, and about, children. All of these outstanding books would be perfect to read out-loud for all ages, except for Lois Lowry’s books.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Flemming, and illustrated by John Burningham, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This delightful storyline is such great fun that kids and adults will see why it was made into a movie. But it begs to be read to others because this adventure reads almost like a conversation. The ingenious father of the Pott family has just invented the flying car. Frank Cottrell Boyce has two new authorized books to go along with this great book and both books are just as fun to read as Flemming’s book. They are Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again and The Race Against Time.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1884 and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, was published first in 1876. Both books have richly drawn illustrations by Iacapo Bruno that add to the adventures of both of these classics. I like the story about Huckleberry Finn a little better because there’s more action, humor and tension built into the storyline, but both books are excellent.
The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, by Jessica Lawson, showcases Becky by spinning a tale about her adventures. There are some fun adventures waiting to be read here.
A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond, was first published back in 1958 and since then there have been fourteen novels and a variety of picture books and other items that showcase this accident-prone and unpredictable bear.
The Paddington Treasury is the size of a picture book with colorful illustrations on every page, by R. W. Alley, but there are six bedtime stories included making it thicker than the traditional picture book.
There’s also Paddington, also illustrated by Alley, which is actually one of the stories in the Treasury book. A live-action film based on Paddington comes out on Christmas day.
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, and with original illustrations by William Nicholson, was published in 1922. This classic is about a discarded toy that is saved by a magical fairy where she ultimately makes him real. This beautifully remastered larger-size book has a cloth binding, along with gold accents.
Bambi: A Life in the Woods, by Felix Salten, and gorgeously painted with oil by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, is a collectible edition that was originally published in 1928. This story is much more extensive and wonderfully told than the well known Disney version. The Hound of Florence, The City Jungle, A Forest World and Renni the Rescuer are other books by this same author that have recently been reissued.
Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers, and wonderfully illustrated by Mary Shepard, includes the first four tales about this magical nanny: Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door and Mary Poppins in the Park. This edition celebrates 80 years with an extra-thick book featuring a gilded cover and an essay by the author about writing these stories. The only problem with this beautiful book is that it eventually ends.
The Giver Quartet, by Lois Lowry, is another extra-thick book because it includes the complete series about this dystopian future world. Also included in this unabridged edition is Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. There is also a recent publication of this series in a boxed set. The Giver was a Newbery winner in 1993. All four of these books are geared for teen-age and older.
Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery, was first published back in 1908 but still reads with great anticipation about the adventures of the feisty, flame-haired Anne. Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams and Rainbow Valley have also been reissued that takes you through Anne’s life.
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and beautifully illustrated with painted pictures sprinkled throughout by Lauren Child, has a gorgeous colorful hardcover and was first published back in 1911. The relationship and friendship between orphan Mary and sickly Colin still resonates today in this timeless classic.
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, and painted with rich color throughout by David Roberts, was first published in 1908 and has never been out of print since! This particular book is part of the Sterling Illustrated Classic series and this is the one to purchase. There have been a few more recent books published, but this has the best and most vivid illustrations.
Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie, and illustrated by Caldecott winner Trina Schart Hyman, is perhaps one of the best bedtime stories for youngsters, young and old. This beautiful edition is part of the Scribbner Illustrated Classic series with a gold foil cover. The art seems to float with imagination making it a perfect match with the story! Barrie’s book was first published in 1911.
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and illustrated by several award-winning artists, includes some of the most famous fairy tales. The stories include Tom Thumb, The Frog-Prince and Snow-Drop, (which was the original name for Snow White). These stories were first published in Great Britain in 1823. The cover is foil-stamped fabric with colorful pictures that fill the pages sprinkled throughout.