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The 100 Best Children's Books
The 100 Best Children’s Books is an invaluable guide for parents and young readers in search of the crème de la crème of children’s fiction. The selection, made by eminent critic and writer, Brian Alderson, is arranged chronologically, beginning with The Pilgrim’s Progress — which is still told to children in one form or another. The reader is then taken through a mini- history of the most outstanding stories whose words have appealed to the child’s imagination. The selection ends with J. K. Rowling.
The chosen books (many with examples of their illustrations) include not just the classics of the genre, but many neglected masterpieces which may not be so familiar to the general reader. As a bonus, the author provides an additional list of recommended works drawn entirely from the 20th century.
The author’s opinions are often outspoken but always entertaining. The 100 Best Children’s Books books will doubtless become a classic volume in itself, providing a unique and indispensable reference guide to the books that have inspired and entertained countless generations.
Brian Alderson accidentally found himself among children’s books when he began working for a specialist bookseller in 1954. He was initially employed on a two-week job which turned into a lifetime occupation involving him in various
other, often accidental, activities: editing, translating, lecturing, and even occasionally writing for children ... while somewhat more often engaging in the despicable trade of being a critic. In 1969 he founded the Children’s Books History Society and in 2004 became President of the Beatrix Potter Society.
Brian is also a collector of children’s books, an interest which has led him to the study of their history and bibliography and to the organisation and cataloguing of extensive exhibitions both in Britain and the United States. At present he has an informal connection with Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books at Newcastle upon Tyne and with the Children’s Literature Unit at Newcastle University.
Richard Jefferies: A Miscellany
Richard Jefferies Ed, Andrew Rossabi
John Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 – 14 August 1887) was an English nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. Jefferies was often compared with the great English nature writer, Gilbert White.
To some people he is more familiar as the author of the children’s classic Bevis or the strange futuristic fantasy (and now a cult book) After London while he also has some reputation as a mystic worthy of serious study. Since his death his books have enjoyed intermittent spells of popularity, but he is still largely unknown. Jefferies, however, has been an inspiration to a number of more prominent writers and W.H. Hudson, Edward Thomas, Henry Williamson and John Fowles are among those who have acknowledged their debt to him. Interestingly, when Robert Macfarlane asked Guardian readers in 2005 whom they would nominate to form a ‘library of British nature writers’, Jefferies was by far the most nominated.
A collection of his writing to introduce him to the wider public is well overdue, and the editor of this Miscellany, Andrew Rossabi, is by far the best placed to undertake this work. Although the most famous biography of Jefferies is that written by Edward Thomas and published in 1909, Rossabi has recently (2017) published the first volume (of 3) of what will surely be the definitive biography of Jefferies: A Peculiarly English Genius: A biography of Richard Jefferies. The selection of Jefferies’ work that he has collected in this volume will surely help re-establish Jefferies as one of the greatest writers in this genre.