Monday, June 09, 2008

Truly Scrumptious Children's Books

We just rented Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for family movie night, and got to thinking. What other children's books could we think of, by authors who didn't write primarily for children? We decided it didn't count if the writer's juvenile efforts are well-known (C. S. Lewis, for instance, doesn't count). Likewise we didn't include books not originally intended for children, such as Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

Ian Fleming, the James Bond author of course, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dickens wrote The Magic Fishbone, beloved by Offspringen #1 and 2. Pearl S. Buck wrote The Story Bible and The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-Sen for the Landmark series of children's history books. Shirley Jackson likewise contributed the excellent Witchcraft of Salem Village to the Landmark series. Ian McEwan wrote The Daydreamer, also popular in the Opinionated household. Thackeray wrote The Ring and The Rose.

What else?


Blogger mrsdarwin said...

Rumer Godden wrote The Story of Holly and Ivy, which is a favorite with the ladies here. But then, Godden wrote several children's books, though I think of her primarily as an author for adults because I like her novels so much.

Now I'm going to go find Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and read it. "The name is Bang Bang. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

7:52 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

You should see the movie, too; Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay. The song-and-dance number in the candy factory seems especially familiar, and though it's not at all dark, attentive adult viewers will notice that the heroes leave the Balkans behind them in a politically upheaved state in what seems to be about 1914.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Yahmdallah said...

Mary Poppins herself wrote a book my wife cherishes (which she first read as a child): "The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles" by Julie Andrews Edwards. My eldest liked the book, too. The few times I perused it, I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Andrews could write.

Stephen King wrote "The Eyes of the Dragon" because his young daughter complained he hadn't written anything she could read. I think it demonstrates how much control he has over style, because if you didn't know he was the author, you wouldn't guess he was. His daughter ended up as a gay unitarian minister, though, so take that as you will.

9:40 AM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Thanks for those recommendations. I'm going to have to look for them.

Another one that occurred to me is Maria Montessori's book The Mass Explained to Children, which I'm using to help Offspring #2 understand the Latin Mass. While all of her work was with and for children, I believe it's the only book she wrote *for* children.

1:33 PM  

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