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15 Timeless Classics

15 Timeless Classics

by Lucy McNamara October 02, 2021

I love to read, since I was a child I have always loved the feeling a good book can create. The transportation to other worlds, the understanding of the array of characters I came across sometimes seeing glimpses of myself or who I'd like to be, or simply wishing that I too could climb a tree to faraway lands or have talking toys to go on adventures with. We are talking classics here that have stood the test of time. Books read and loved across the generations, by grandparents, parents, sons and daughters. Books that now I have read to my own daughter, and some to my son (with many more to come!). Books are something I will always find time for, for myself or for my children. Sitting and reading to them is one of my favourite things about being their mum!


In chronological order, starting with most recent:

1. The Lion in the Meadow - Margaret Mahy (1965) - Mahy first published ' A Lion in the Meadow', in the New Zealand School Journal in 1965 before it was published, in its own right, in 1969. A story loved by Kiwis and children all over the world. If your child loves to tell tall tales this one is for them!

2. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak (1963). Another 60's classic. A boy named Max sails to an island inhabited by the "Wild Things." We love this book in our home, "Let the WILD RUMPUS begin!'

3. James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl (1961). Dahl obviously makes the list. An author that was a firm favourite growing up for me. His classic tales create worlds filled with wonder and will fuel any child's imagination. James and the Giant Peach is Dahl at his best.

4. Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss (1960). A wacky, wonderful, nonsensical rhyme. This work by the zany Dr. Seuss encapsulates all the goofy fun that should fill a childhood.

5. Charlotte’s Web - E B White (1952). An enchanting tale about a spider and a pig That will continue to charm children for generations to come. This is my daughters favourite, she owns both the paperback and the audio book.

6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C S Lewis (1950). This book made me secretly check the back of other people's wardrobes throughout my childhood (I still have a little peep now if I'm honest, you never know . . .) I can't wait to introduce this much loved classic to my own children.

7. Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown (1947). This slow, safe, calming bedtime book continues to soothe sleepy wee ones into the land of nod, despite the fact it was first published over seventy years ago. 

8. Thomas the Tank Engine - Rev W, Awdry (1946). I found this surprising, this beloved little engine first made an appearance in the 1940's and is still chugging along as popular as ever. My son was given some Thomas books and he is obsessed with trains, so this has opened up yet more books to add to his ever growing list of favourites.

9. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren (1945). A book that had been so integral to the fabric of people's childhoods that this little orphan is now part of our everyday language.

10. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943). The Little Prince falls to Earth to meet the author, who has crashed his plane. Loved by kids and adults.

11. The Famous Five - Enid Blyton (the first book of this series was published in 1942). While I find it so hard to pick just one of any of Blyton's books, another of my favourite childhood authors, this series with all its adventure was always so much fun to read, and even more so now I'm reading it to my daughter. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children - Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (George) and her dog Timmy. Most of the stories take place during the children's school holidays, each time they meet getting caught up in an adventure, often involving criminals or lost treasure. 

12. Winnie the Pooh - A A Milne (1926). Needs no introduction! We all love the classic tales of Pooh bear and his friends.

13. The Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams (1922) - I always found this one rather sad as a child, and so have been reluctant to read it to my own children if I'm honest. But I think it deserves a spot on the list as it is a moving tale with themes of becoming one's self, developing positive relationships and coping with a dynamic changing world.

14. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911) This book I'm convinced is what gave me a love and appreciation for beautiful garden spaces, even more so if they were hidden ones! Although this story is again centered around quite sad themes, it also shows the journey of a child that grows and softens as she discovers the secret garden and the joy it brings her and eventually others. It also shows that when things are neglected they can wither and die, but when worked on and cared for, it thrives, just as the two young characters in the story do.

15. The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter (1902). Follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. 


Have you read them all? Are you inspired to read those you haven't? Or maybe feeling that childlike excitement to re-read a classic that you so dearly loved. There are many more that could be added to this list, and I hope to revisit the idea with another list of classics so we can once again enjoy more adventures of talking toys, lost treasure and secret worlds.


Lucy McNamara
Lucy McNamara


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