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  • Jen Harper 4:00 pm on 2019/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , fetch-22, karen's witch, Kid Stuff, , , ,   

    December’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Young Readers 

    The holiday season is upon us, which means decking those halls, wrapping presents, baking cookies, and making sure the kids have enough reading material to make it through all those days off school. We’ve rounded up the best new releases for young readers this month, including new installments to favorite Dav Pilkey series Captain Underpants and Dog Man, the first Baby-Sitters Club Little Sister book to get the graphic novel treatment, the kick-off in a new series for unicorn lovers, and more. Check out our top picks and let us know what books your kids will be curling up by the fire to read over the break.

    Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (Captain Underpants Series #9—Color Edition), by Dav Pilkey
    In this brand-new color edition of the ninth book in Dav Pilkey’s hilarious Captain Underpants series, George and Harold are in jail even though they’re totally innocent—of the crime they’re being accused of, anyway. And now time-traveling tyrant Tippy Tinkletrousers is pulling them from behind bars and back into their carefree kindergarten days, where they’ll have to face sixth-grade bully Kipper Krupp, who just happens to be the nephew of Principal Krupp. But this time, George and Harold don’t have Captain Underpants to bail them out, so the boys will have to rely on their wits alone in this fun read.

    Fetch-22 (Dog Man Series #8), by Dav Pilkey
    He’s half-man, half-dog, and all-cop—and he’s back with the eighth book in Dav Pilkey’s hilarious graphic novel series. This time, Petey the Cat is out of the slammer and has a new leash, er, lease on life. But Li’l Petey has gone the other way entirely—he can’t seem to find the bright side of anything anymore. Can Dog Man and Petey put their differences aside to help Li’l Petey go fetch his bright spirit once again? Find out in this exciting and funny new installment. Bonus for super-fans: This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition includes an awesome colorable pull-out poster.

    Karen’s Witch (Baby-Sitters Little Sister Graphix Series #1), by Katy Farina and Ann M. Martin
    First Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club books got the graphic novel treatment, and now her Little Sister series is getting in on the fun. For younger readers or for BSC fans looking to soak up even more of Martin’s Stoneybrook magic, Karen’s Witch is an awesome read starring Kristy Thomas’s 6-year-old stepsister Karen Brewer, who has a wild imagination and believes that the woman who lives next door to her father is actually a witch. With full-color illustrations and a fast-paced story, the first book in the new Baby-Sitters Little Sister Graphix series definitely falls into the category of dibbly fresh.

    Eva’s Campfire Adventure (Owl Diaries Series #12), by Rebecca Elliott
    The 12th book in this popular early chapter book series finds young owl Eva Wingdale prepping for a fun camping trip with her friends at school. Young readers can join the wilderness-venturing crew as they pitch tents, enjoy treats around the campfire, and even go on an exciting treasure hunt in the forest. Will Eva and her pals locate the treasure before their camping trip is over? Find out in this fun new book filled with illustrations, easy-to-read text, and large type to keep early readers motivated and confident.

    The Bad Guys in the Baddest Day Ever (The Bad Guys Series #10), by Aaron Blabey
    Fans of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants will love the 10th installment in Aaron Blabey’s hilarious and action-packed The Bad Guys series. In it, the Bad Guys and even Badder Girls are in a battle to the finish against Crown Prince Marmalade to see who is really the baddest of them all. Yes, the Bad Guys—our group of wannabe heroes out there doing good deeds whether you like it or not—are in for their baddest day ever in this new illustrated novel sure to entertain and enthrall fans of the series.

    Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries Series #1), by Rebecca Elliott
    From the creator of the bestselling Owl Diaries early chapter books comes a brand-new series for helping young readers grow their reading confidence and stamina. In this first installment in the Unicorn Diaries books, young unicorn Bo Tinseltail attends Sparklegrove with all of the other magical unicorns—Bo’s magical power is the ability to grant wishes. And what Bo wishes for most of all is a best friend. And when a new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to school, it looks like Bo’s wish might just come true in this delightful story of friendship.

    Bad Kitty Joins the Team, by Nick Bruel
    The hilariously high maintenance Bad Kitty is back for another illustrated tale sure to keep fans of the series entertained. In the latest story, Kitty’s owner realizes it’s time for this cat to get in shape and start exercising—much to Kitty’s chagrin. Will Kitty be able to get in touch with her sporty side and get into the game? It may take some serious convincing, but surely Kitty’s competitive spirit will pop out in a flash. Kids will love Kitty’s hilarious antics and the accompanying illustrations in this new read.

    What are your young readers into this month?

    The post December’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Young Readers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jen Harper 4:00 pm on 2019/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: , bo's magical new friend, , , , fetch-22, karen's witch, Kid Stuff, , , ,   

    December’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Young Readers 

    The holiday season is upon us, which means decking those halls, wrapping presents, baking cookies, and making sure the kids have enough reading material to make it through all those days off school. We’ve rounded up the best new releases for young readers this month, including new installments to favorite Dav Pilkey series Captain Underpants and Dog Man, the first Baby-Sitters Club Little Sister book to get the graphic novel treatment, the kick-off in a new series for unicorn lovers, and more. Check out our top picks and let us know what books your kids will be curling up by the fire to read over the break.

    Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (Captain Underpants Series #9—Color Edition), by Dav Pilkey
    In this brand-new color edition of the ninth book in Dav Pilkey’s hilarious Captain Underpants series, George and Harold are in jail even though they’re totally innocent—of the crime they’re being accused of, anyway. And now time-traveling tyrant Tippy Tinkletrousers is pulling them from behind bars and back into their carefree kindergarten days, where they’ll have to face sixth-grade bully Kipper Krupp, who just happens to be the nephew of Principal Krupp. But this time, George and Harold don’t have Captain Underpants to bail them out, so the boys will have to rely on their wits alone in this fun read.

    Fetch-22 (Dog Man Series #8), by Dav Pilkey
    He’s half-man, half-dog, and all-cop—and he’s back with the eighth book in Dav Pilkey’s hilarious graphic novel series. This time, Petey the Cat is out of the slammer and has a new leash, er, lease on life. But Li’l Petey has gone the other way entirely—he can’t seem to find the bright side of anything anymore. Can Dog Man and Petey put their differences aside to help Li’l Petey go fetch his bright spirit once again? Find out in this exciting and funny new installment. Bonus for super-fans: This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition includes an awesome colorable pull-out poster.

    Karen’s Witch (Baby-Sitters Little Sister Graphix Series #1), by Katy Farina and Ann M. Martin
    First Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club books got the graphic novel treatment, and now her Little Sister series is getting in on the fun. For younger readers or for BSC fans looking to soak up even more of Martin’s Stoneybrook magic, Karen’s Witch is an awesome read starring Kristy Thomas’s 6-year-old stepsister Karen Brewer, who has a wild imagination and believes that the woman who lives next door to her father is actually a witch. With full-color illustrations and a fast-paced story, the first book in the new Baby-Sitters Little Sister Graphix series definitely falls into the category of dibbly fresh.

    Eva’s Campfire Adventure (Owl Diaries Series #12), by Rebecca Elliott
    The 12th book in this popular early chapter book series finds young owl Eva Wingdale prepping for a fun camping trip with her friends at school. Young readers can join the wilderness-venturing crew as they pitch tents, enjoy treats around the campfire, and even go on an exciting treasure hunt in the forest. Will Eva and her pals locate the treasure before their camping trip is over? Find out in this fun new book filled with illustrations, easy-to-read text, and large type to keep early readers motivated and confident.

    The Bad Guys in the Baddest Day Ever (The Bad Guys Series #10), by Aaron Blabey
    Fans of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants will love the 10th installment in Aaron Blabey’s hilarious and action-packed The Bad Guys series. In it, the Bad Guys and even Badder Girls are in a battle to the finish against Crown Prince Marmalade to see who is really the baddest of them all. Yes, the Bad Guys—our group of wannabe heroes out there doing good deeds whether you like it or not—are in for their baddest day ever in this new illustrated novel sure to entertain and enthrall fans of the series.

    Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries Series #1), by Rebecca Elliott
    From the creator of the bestselling Owl Diaries early chapter books comes a brand-new series for helping young readers grow their reading confidence and stamina. In this first installment in the Unicorn Diaries books, young unicorn Bo Tinseltail attends Sparklegrove with all of the other magical unicorns—Bo’s magical power is the ability to grant wishes. And what Bo wishes for most of all is a best friend. And when a new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to school, it looks like Bo’s wish might just come true in this delightful story of friendship.

    Bad Kitty Joins the Team, by Nick Bruel
    The hilariously high maintenance Bad Kitty is back for another illustrated tale sure to keep fans of the series entertained. In the latest story, Kitty’s owner realizes it’s time for this cat to get in shape and start exercising—much to Kitty’s chagrin. Will Kitty be able to get in touch with her sporty side and get into the game? It may take some serious convincing, but surely Kitty’s competitive spirit will pop out in a flash. Kids will love Kitty’s hilarious antics and the accompanying illustrations in this new read.

    What are your young readers into this month?

    The post December’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Young Readers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2019/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: cool beans, Kid Stuff, serious goose,   

    December’s Can’t-Miss Picture Book New Releases 

    The days are getting shorter, frost is on your windowpanes, and everybody’s missing a mitten. We know you’ve anticipated this moment all year, and finally it’s here—it’s SNUGGLE SEASON! Celebrate the arrival of earlier, longer storytimes with some of our favorite cozy tales this month—they’ll keep your bundled-up readers engaged and entertained as you prepare for your long winter’s nap!

    Serious Goose, by Jimmy Kimmel
    Written, illustrated and lettered by beloved late-night comedian Kimmel, this interactive picture book debut provides an open invitation for silliness. Readers of all ages will be compelled to make this very misanthropic, Serious Goose smile, and delightfully clever text will keep the story fresh for every repeat performance.

    The Cool Bean, by Jory John and Pete Oswald
    The latest tale from one of our favorite duos is filled with humor and heart, and though we hear it a lot, the message that “kindness is cool” is anything but refried, thanks to snappy text and fresh, fun illustrations.

    Love from the Crayons, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
    The Crayons are back, and they have a message that we’re sure you never tire of sharing with your little readers: LOVE! Sometimes love is bright, at other moments it’s quieter shade—turn every page to find another hue that’s straight from the heart.

    Jack Frost vs. the Abominable Snowman, by Sourcebooks
    It’s Race Day in Winter Wonderland, and Jack and Abe are primed for their thrilling head-to-head match-up. If you thought you had no power in this story, think again—the outcome of this race is up to YOU! Your young reader will squeal with delight choosing a different path during each exciting reading—add this frosty crowd-pleaser to your storytime shelf today!

    Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (Questioneers Collection Series), by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
    If you have a discerning Questioneer in your storytime audience, then you’ll definitely want to introduce him or her to Sofia Valdez, the newest activist character from the team responsible for Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere! When Abuelo injures himself at the landfill and can no longer walk Sofia to school every morning, she cooks up a plan to transform Mount Trashmore once and for all. You and your young community activists will be rooting for Sofia all the way to City Hall—and this inspiring tale will quickly become a favorite!

    Sisters First, by Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Ramona Kaulitzki
    An earnest young girl wishes fervently for a little sister, but once the baby arrives, the tiny little bundle isn’t much fun! Once she’s a little older though, the adventures start, and the magic doesn’t stop! This loving tribute to sisterhood and the magnificently unconditional friendship found therein shouldn’t be missed!

    Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship, by Marie Kondo and Salina Yoon
    If Marie Kondo inspired you to transform your life and create extra room for joy, there’s a strong likelihood that she can work her magic on your young reader too! This tidying tale of true friendship will warm your heart and clear space for snuggles!

    My Book With No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
    This witty follow-up to The Book with No Pictures brings a whole new dimension to storytime—your young raconteur will develop a personalized book of their very own for YOU to read! Simple fill-in-the-blanks (and plenty of nonsense stickers) will lead to hours of raucous storytelling—and create a hilarious moment in time that you’ll love sharing with your young reader over and over again.

    The Dinky Donkey, by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley
    If your little readers couldn’t get enough of The Wonky Donkey, we’re certain Wonky’s daughter, Dinky Donkey, will be just what the doctor ordered. As for you, start those tongue-twisting exercises now – get ready for wild rhymes and A LOT of repeat readings of this spirited tale!

    What new picture books are you excited to read this month?

    The post December’s Can’t-Miss Picture Book New Releases appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 4:00 pm on 2019/06/20 Permalink
    Tags: Kid Stuff, montessori philosophy, montessori schools, parenting books, simone davies, the montessori toddler   

    15 Easy, Reassuring Montessori Practices FromThe Montessori Toddler You Can Try at Home 

    Simone Davies is a Montessori educator based in Amsterdam. She works with toddlers every day and has come to appreciate their energy, curiosity, and delight, but she’s mindful that not all parents feel quite the same way about this age. Her new book, The Montessori Toddler, is designed to empower parents who might be drawn to the idea of Montessori while also feeling intimidated by trying to implement the philosophy at home. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the book offers ways to set up the house to make the space more child-friendly, but the focus is on mindset, creating a calm environment, and understanding how toddlers see the world. Below are some easy ways you bring Montessori into your home, whether your kids attend a Montessori school or not. Hopefully you’ll find these practices as enjoyable as they will!

    1. Use the acronym SHOW when teaching children something new. It’s a reminder to use Slow Hands and Omit Words. When we’re talking and pointing out details, toddlers can get confused about whether they should listen or watch, so it helps to keep any demonstrations simple and quiet.
    2. Approach daily life as a chance to build practical skills. Pouring water, carrying dirty clothes to the hamper, taking off socks, nose blowing, and cleaning windows are all activities that engage young children’s senses and test their skills.
    3. Find ways to make each room accessible. In the bathroom, this might mean adding a low step, so your toddler can reach the sink. Or try adding an extender to the light switch.
    4. Make time to go outside every day. Try bringing indoor activities outside when the weather is nice.
    5. Grow a garden. It’s ok to start small! Welcome questions and digging in the dirt.
    6. Set up a cozy place for reading. Place books face-out on a bookshelf or in a basket. Let your toddler choose the books. Add a beanbag or cushion to encourage lounging.
    7. Step back and observe your child every day. Notice how they grasp objects. Watch what they eat. Observe preferences and interests. Listen as they communicate. Avoid judging or analyzing. Notice your own reactions. Use these to make small changes that can make daily life easier and more engaging for your family.
    8. Give your child a sense of belonging by trying to see the world from their perspective and avoiding labels like “the naughty one” or “the athletic one” and offering neutral feedback instead of praise.
    9. After you ask your child to do something, silently count to 10 before asking again or doing something else. That’s about how long it takes for toddlers to process a request.
    10. Acknowledge feelings even if they’re difficult feelings like being mean or hurt. Use phrases like “It looks like you…” or “I’m guessing you might feel…” Know that in a tantrum, the first thing you must do is help them calm down. Offer a cuddle if they’re receptive. Attempt to reason or explain only once the storm has passed.
    11. Try singing to add a bit of lightness to tough transitions or unpopular moments like brushing teeth or changing diapers.
    12. Let your child take the lead to see what activities they choose. It builds independence and can help you get to know your child better.
    13. Use positive language. Let your child know what to do, rather than saying what not to do. Try “We are gentle with the baby,” instead of “Don’t touch the baby!”
    14. Teach your child to share by taking turns. Give them the words if they need support. Toddlers can learn to say “My turn. It will be your turn soon.”
    15. Celebrate wherever you are. Trust that whatever your family looks like, it’s enough and you’re doing your best. Remember you’re a human. You might never stop learning or growing, but you can still enjoy who you are today. The same goes for your perfectly imperfect toddler too!

    The Montessori Toddler is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 15 Easy, Reassuring Montessori Practices From<i>The Montessori Toddler</i> You Can Try at Home appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Brian Boone 2:30 pm on 2018/04/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , Kid Stuff, ranking roald, , , the classics   

    A Definitive Ranking of the Children’s Books of Roald Dahl 

    When it comes to novels written for kids featuring characters who are kids, Roald Dahl ranks among the best of the best, sharing the status of all-time great with the likes of Beverly Clearly, Judy Blume, and J.K. Rowling. The British author (1916–1990) wrote enough classics to keep a fifth grader busy for months, specializing in tales of often absurd adventure peopled with appealing characters dealing with extraordinary circumstances in believable ways. Dahl knew his audience so very well, and gave them what they wanted without ever patronizing them: a mixture of heart, action, drama, scariness, humor, and, of course, the fantastical. Here then is our highly scientific ranking, of Roald Dahl’s many books for children, from least best (but still wonderful) to most wonderful of all. (We didn’t include any of those silly ones he wrote for grownups here.)

    The Magic Finger (1964)
    Sometimes it takes a writer a while to find their voice. That’s certainly the case with Dahl’s The Magic Finger. It’s a well-meaning if didactic morality tale that serves as a sweet taste of the fun that’s to come. It concerns the Greggs, a family of duck hunters, and the girl next door who simply won’t have that. Unfortunately for the family of hunters, the girl has a magic finger, and when she gets fed up after one of their hunting trips, it acts up and turns the Greggs into ducks themselves.

    George’s Marvelous Medicine (1981)
    A sharp kid named George tries to get revenge on his mean grandmother by replacing her medicine with a concoction of his own making, a mixture of toiletries, floor polish, horseradish, gin, pet meds, antifreeze, and brown paint. He gives it to his grandma, and instead of, you know, killing her, it makes her grow into a giant. George’s parents get so excited, they have him feed it to their chickens. Another medicine shrinks the grandmother into nothingness, and…yeah, kids, don’t try this at home.

    Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972)
    Did you know that there’s a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the best novels ever written (which not surprisingly ranks very high on this list; see below)? It’s not quite as indelible as its predecessor—which relies heavily on the elements of surprises and the wonder of discovery, which are hard to hit twice in one world—but it’s definitely a curiosity and worth a read to get just a little more Willy Wonka in your life. It’s basically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in space, which is…pretty darn hard to resist, now that we think about it.

    The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)
    Dahl always knew what kids wanted, from both life and books: candy. Lots and lots of candy. The story of Charlie and his Golden Ticket isn’t the only sweet tale Dahl ever wrote. This story is about a little boy who teams up with a giraffe and a pelican (the pelly) to start a window-cleaning company, which he parlays—along with some bouts of heroism—into a shot at running his own candy store. (And yes, the book itself is actually quite delicious.)

    Danny, the Champion of the World (1975)
    Probably Dahl’s most personal work is this tender and touching story of a boy and his widowed father that mixes in Dahl’s beloved “us vs. them” sensibility. Also, Dahl seems to have changed his tune about hunting, because the plot mostly concerns Danny and his dad hunting pheasants on land explicitly owned by someone who doesn’t allow it. There’s a lot of bird drugging and killing in this book, but also a lot of parental bonding, and it takes a fascinating look into life in a Roma caravan.

    The Twits (1980)
    Reportedly inspired by his deep hatred and mistrust of beards—Dahl would’ve despised Portland—The Twits is about one of those old couples who have been together so long they both hate each other and couldn’t live without each other. They’re gross, disgusting, ugly people filled with ugly thoughts and feelings who spend their time playing cruel pranks on each other and tormenting birds, until one day they’re finally outwitted by Muggle-Wump, a kind monkey and his family. It’s a gritty, almost Seussian fairy tale in which the good guys and bad guys are clearly defined, and all that’s supposed to happen does.

    The Enormous Crocodile (1978)
    While Dahl usually eschewed the traditional children’s book conceit of anthropomorphized animals to tell parables about human nature in favor of peopling his stories with people, he occasionally used animals, with all of their brutality and bluntness, to get his point across. Take The Enormous Crocodile, essentially a book about standing up to bullies and giving them a taste of their own medicine. The titular animal is a right nasty fellow, the kind of guy who eats children and brags about it. But his tormenting ways are about to be over, when the other animals conspire to trap him and then literally throw him into the sun. Yeah, that’s what you get, Enormous Crocodile!

    The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (1991)
    Has anything ever had a more British-sounding title than The Vicar of Nibbleswicke? Published in 1991, after Dahl’s death, the book had a noble purpose: to raise awareness and sympathy for people with dyslexia, and proceeds benefitted dyslexia-related charities. That said, the story itself is a sweet one, about a small-town reverend named Robert Lee who has a (fictional) kind of dyslexia that makes him say the most important word in every sentence backward, which leads to amusing comical misunderstandings. There’s a cure, however: walking backward.

    The Minpins (1991)
    This marks Dahl’s final published children’s book, going to print a few months after his death in November 1990. And it’s the book Dahl should have published long earlier, because it’s a straight-up fairy forest adventure we all knew he had in him. A proto-Spiderwick Chronicles, it’s about a little boy named Billy who is forbidden from hanging out in the Forest of Sin, which just so happens to be in the backyard, what with all of the Hornswogglers, Snozzwanglers, Whangdoodles, and other Dahltastically named creatures said to live back there. Billy goes, of course, especially since the actual Devil tricks him into it, promising scores of wild strawberries. What boy can say no to forest adventures and wild strawberries? Or an alliance with the fantastical Minpins?

    The BFG (1982)
    This book is as friendly, gentle, and playful as its title character—“BFG” stands for “big friendly giant.” It’s about how the things we ought to fear at first sight are nothing to fear at all, and how everybody has a bit of humanity in them, as well as a story to tell. Sophie is an orphan who late one night spots a giant, and follows him to his giant cave. She fears she’ll be eaten, but the BFG explains that he’s, like, the only giant who doesn’t eat people. A fast, tender, and unlikely friendship develops, one that fuels a story turn nobody saw coming: Sophie and the BFG get the Queen on board for a huge plan to catch all the bad giants.

    Esio Trot (1990)
    It’s like a romantic comedy meets Three’s Company…for kids! A tenant of a normal-seeming contemporary apartment building, lonely old Mr. Hoppy, is in love with downstairs neighbor Mrs. Silver, but she’s too focused on her pet tortoise, Alfie, for romance. Alfie won’t grow, and Mrs. Silver doesn’t know why…so Mr. Hoppy buys a series of tortoises of increasingly larger size to make Mrs. Silver happy. And, because this is a romance, these bizarre, outsized gestures actually work. Take note, kids: If you love somebody, buy them turtles. (BTW: “Esio Trot” is an anagram of “tortoise.”)

    James and the Giant Peach (1961)
    Where would children’s literature, especially British literature, be without the gift of orphans? So many orphans! It’s a nice literary device that gets a kid away from the confines of home and safety and on to doing things like, well, traveling the world inside a giant peach. After rhinos eat his parents (it happens), James goes to live with his mean aunts, until a Jack and the Beanstalk–type situation emerges, producing a house-sized peach. James foils the aunts’ plans to make a buck off the thing (as adults do) and heads inside it, where he meets a bunch of friendly insects. One of them cuts the peach away, and the whole gang is off and running, inside the peach, on a fantastical adventure.

    Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970)
    A story so cool, stylish, and timeless it was adapted smoothly into a cool, stylish, and timeless Wes Anderson movie. We humans may have an affinity for foxes because while they look like a cross between our beloved dogs and cats, and they’re as clever and crafty as we like to think we are. None is more clever and charismatic than Mr. Fox himself, a family man who provides by stealing from local farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. The farmers devise a plan to starve him out, but Mr. Fox, like you, young reader, is far too clever to just give up.

    Matilda (1988)
    This is perhaps the most definitive Roald Dahl novel in that it’s about a pure-hearted, special child whose gifts go unnoticed by the evil and wretchedly awful adults around her…until she rises up in rebellion. Matilda Wormwood uses her superpowers to take on wicked headmistress Miss Trunchbull (not to mention her horrible family), finding the parental love she so needs and wants from an unlikely source.

    The Witches (1983)
    Part of Dahl’s enormous, enduring appeal to children is that he doesn’t shield them from the world—he doesn’t sugar-coat its evils, but rather uses metaphors to help kids understand all the bad that’s out to get them, which they of course find irresistible. Of course, it helps when his protagonists are tough, brave kids who get things done. This is the kind of story Dahl excels at telling, and The Witches is a perfect example. With some obvious parallels to history and politics, it focuses on one boy’s attempts to take down a truly evil international syndicate of child-hating, child-killing witches. Unlike other kids vs. adults tales in the Dahl canon, however, The Witches has a shocking, unfair ending. Hey, sometimes life is like that, kids.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
    Like Matilda, this one features a child in peril whose patience, perseverance, and steadfast commitment to being his true self serves allows him to get justice and rewards in the end. But Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is just a little bit better than Matilda because it’s such a feast for the brain. It’s one set piece after another when Charlie finally ditches his gray London life for the technicolor world of pure imagination of Willy Wonka’s mysterious, bizarre, and vaguely menacing chocolate factory. Both film adaptations do a good job visualizing the factory, but nothing can do it as well as the eye of a child’s mind.

    The post A Definitive Ranking of the Children’s Books of Roald Dahl appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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