101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up by Bianca Schulze (Quarto Children’s Books) PB RRP $17.99
Reviewed by Daniela Andrews
There’s no shortage of online lists of the ‘best children’s books’ to read -- but it is just so nice to see the titles celebrated in this full-colour, kid-friendly guide!
Founder of the successful website ‘The Children’s Book Review’ (https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/), author Bianca Schulze has compiled a great collection of modern and classical children’s fiction from around the globe. There are stories like The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are, Bridge to Terabithia, The Graveyard Book … about 101 stories, to be exact! (More if you count the books listed in the complementary ‘What to read next?’ list against each title.) I was also pleased to see some Australian fiction in there – Whoever You Are, Hating Alison Ashley, The Magic Pudding and The 13-Storey Treehouse.
The design of this book is sure to appeal to the age group (8–12 years). The layout is magazine-style, with full colour pages. There are breakout boxes with quotes from the books or with fun facts. The icons down the side of the page note basic info – target age, genre, publisher, publication date and page count. There is a brief description of each book, written in a friendly, non-condescending voice -- with just enough of the plot to pique one’s interest! Each book entry includes an empty journal space for readers to mark whether they’ve read the book, give it a rating, list their favourite character and write notes.
The colourful, cartoon-like illustrations by Shaw Nielsen are delightful and literary figures (such as Harry Potter, Pippi Longstocking and Peter Pan) are immediately recognisable. The book includes a double-sided, pull-out poster of most of the characters also. Kids will have fun matching up the Nielsen drawings in the poster against the book entries in the guide.
The books are presented by age (though there’s an author note explaining that they can be enjoyed by readers of any age). It is also possible to search for the books by genre, making this a great reference for kids and parents who aren’t sure what to read next.