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The Swiss Family Robinson, The Catcher in the Rye and A Kestrel for a Knave on Bishop's Stortford College librarian Lizzie Hall's list of classic children's books




Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...

Dear Reader. A classic is a book that has stood the test of time and is still thoroughly enjoyed by children today.

By turning the pages, they will discover bygone eras, time-honoured tales and exciting escapades.

Here's a selection of kids' classics...

Younger readers

Encyclopedia Brown; Boy Detective by Donald J Sobel

Leroy Brown, AKA Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville neighbourhood's 10-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighbourhood kids through his own detective agency.

But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department and, every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes.

With 10 confounding mysteries in each book, not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well.

Interactive and full of interesting bits of information, it's classic Encyclopedia Brown!

Encyclopedia Brown; Boy Detective by Donald J Sobel (45964718)
Encyclopedia Brown; Boy Detective by Donald J Sobel (45964718)

Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle

When Raggedy Ann arrived in Marcella's nursery, she quickly became the leader of all the dolls.

Raggedy Ann always strives to be good - and she usually succeeds!

Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle (45964703)
Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle (45964703)

Join Raggedy Ann on adventures from rescuing Fido, the family dog, to getting her famous "I Love You" heart, to flying in a kite and much more!

Mr Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater

The loveable Mr Popper dreams of being an intrepid Antarctic explorer, living life among the penguins alongside his hero, Admiral Drake.

So he is shocked one day when the admiral responds to his fan letter by sending him a real, live penguin!

Soon, this penguin is joined by another and, before long, Mr Popper has an ice rink in the basement and a dozen delightful penguins living in his house.

With barely enough money to feed his family and an increasing demand for raw fish and canned shrimp, what can the wonderfully imaginative Mr Popper do but train his penguins and then take the show on the road!

Mr Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (45964735)
Mr Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (45964735)

Older readers

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them.

Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (45964697)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (45964697)

Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell

Everyone in the village where Lizzie lives thinks that she's a dreamer - so it's no wonder that they don't believe her when she says she's seen a witch.

But Lizzie doesn't care because she knows it's true and having a witch for a friend makes life much more exciting.

Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell (45964733)
Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell (45964733)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves.

But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home.

Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found.

Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (45964706)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (45964706)

Teenagers and YA readers

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

It's Christmas time and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school.

Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters - shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends.

The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness.

Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning.

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger (45964690)
The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger (45964690)

The Outsiders by S E Hinton

Teenagers in a small Oklahoma town have split into two gangs, divided by money, tastes and attitude.

The Socs' idea of having a good time is beating up Greasers like Ponyboy Curtis.

Ponyboy knows what to expect and knows he can count on his brothers and friends - until the night someone takes things too far and life is changed forever.

The Outsiders by S E Hinton (45964701)
The Outsiders by S E Hinton (45964701)

A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines

Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley.

Treated as a failure at school and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk.

Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life.

Barry Hines' acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world.

A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines (45964699)
A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines (45964699)


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