help me avoid disappointment

My good friend over at Sanity and the Solo Mom has a great post up tonight about the books she wants to make sure her daughters own–not just check out from the library. Obviously, the topic of kids’ books is one I have a lot of strong feelings about. One of my all-time favorite things about parenting is introducing the kids to books that I loved as a child, and I absolutely have a similar list of books that my kids must own. In fact, there’s a fair amount of overlap between her list and mine.

I’ve spent the last seven years trying to catch up on what happened in children’s lit after I grew up. There are a lot of really wonderful books that came out. A whole lot transpired in Ramona’s life after I stopped paying attention to her, for instance. Then of course, there’s Cornelia Funke, who followed a great tradition of writing books where readers are the heroes. Philip Pullman–the Dark Materials series is brilliant. Eoin Colfer–I love the Artemis Fowl series. And of course, J.K. Rowling, the god-mother of 21st century children’s fantasy.

And on the picture book side, there is great work being done by Tomie DePaola, Ian Falconer, and Doreen Cronin, just to name a few.

But there’s also been some stuff that I’ve considered tremendously overrated. To wit? Lemony Sn*cket. Also? Christopher Pa*lini.

Over. Rated.

What about you? What kids books have you found over-hyped, under-written, and just basically all-around disappointing? I’m particularly interested in hearing from those of you with middle schoolers, and the children’s librarians in the house. It seems like there is a fair amount of pap being put out daily to feed the ravening maw of the tween set, and I want to know what to avoid. Or at least what to insist should be checked out, not paid for.


January 28, 2007. books for kids. 7 comments.