As I said in my last post, I read the annotated edition of The Phantom Tollbooth, and loved it. That got me thinking about books I loved as a child. So here’s a list of five of my favorite books/series in my formative (mostly pre-high-school) years.
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. I read this series about 4 times through during grade school, with the exception of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” which only got 3 readings. (I didn’t appreciate it or “The Horse and His Boy” when I was growing up, but I learned to love them as an adult.) I loved the adventure, and I loved Aslan, whom I knew early on was a picture of Jesus. Only when I re-read the books as an adult did I realize just how theologically rich they are. While the eschatology of “The Last Battle” still makes me uncomfortable, I’m a huge fan of both Lewis and these books.
- The Magic Bicycle (The “Spirit Flyer” series), by John Bibee. Another Christian allegory, this time centered around a boy and his friends who discover a, well, magic bicycle. A bicycle with spiritual warfare powers, actually. And as evil forces begin infiltrating the town (under the guise of a toy store, or a town-wide contest with a creepy black scoreboard), the boy and his friends use the bikes to discover what’s going on and try to stop it. While the writing is a far cry from Narnia-standards, it was really entertaining for me when I was in fifth grade.
- Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. This is a survival story about a thirteen year old boy who is stranded in the woods with only a jacket and his hatchet, and he is forced to survive on his own. I think every boy goes through a phase when stories like this fascinate them. I was never the outdoorsy, adventurous type in real life, but I often found escapes in books and imagined how I would survive on my own. (I never read the other books in the series, but I loved this one.)
- Morris the Moose Goes to School, by Bernard Wiseman. This is the first book I ever remembered loving, and I still have my copy after all this time. This is one of those hardcover books that’s less than 20 pages–perfect for little ones. Here’s the story, if you’re curious: Morris the Moose goes to the store to buy candy, but he doesn’t know how to read or count. So he goes to school, learns to count, plays with the children, and has a great time. I credit this book with my life-long love of reading, education, and candy.
- (tie) The Cooper Kids stories / The Oath, by Frank Peretti. Frank Peretti fueled my teenaged love of both treasure-hunting adventure and supernatural-tinged horror, all the while keeping it within the faith. So before I was a fan of Indiana Jones and the writing of Stephen King, I was fully in the Peretti camp. I read the Cooper Kids adventures in 5th grade, and The Oath in high school, and loved them both. And the cover art for The Oath? Sweet.
So there you go. Sure, I read lots of things in my early years, but these stick out to me as some of my favorites.
What books/book-series did you love as a child/teenager? Comment below!