20 Children’s books to read in 2020

At Junior we love books - and these classic children's books are each celebrating a special birthday milestone this year. How many have you and your children read?

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20 Children's books to read in 2020

10th ANNIVERSARY – Zog

Published: 2010

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Zog is a children’s picture book by the force that is  Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, about a young accident-prone dragon, named Zog, who wants to be the best student in dragon school. Zog meets a mysterious little girl – who always comes by and patches up his bumps and bruises – but, will she be able to help him with his toughest test: capturing a princess? A wonderfully funny book that has captured our hearts like many of Donaldsons’ titles. It was also made into a half-hour television adaptation, broadcast on Christmas Day 2018.

BUY HERE >> Zog by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

20 Children's books to read in 2020

10th ANNIVERSARY – Billionaire Boy

Published: 2010

While we may know David Walliams, as an English comedian, actor, writer and television personality, to kids worldwide he is the author of over 13 best-selling books that have been translated into 53 languages and many titles have been adapted into television films. Phew… Billionaire Boy tells the hilarious, touching and extraordinary story of 12 year-old  Joe Spud, who is the richest boy in the country and has everything he could ever want, except the one thing he really wants and needs – a best friend.

BUY HERE>> Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

20 Children's books to read in 2020

20th ANNIVERSARY – I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)

Published: 2000

The first book in the Charlie and Lola series created by English writer and illustrator Lauren Child in 2000. Lola is an energetic, imaginative little girl and Charlie is her patient and kind older brother who is always willing to help Lola learn and grow. In I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato we are introduced to Childs’ unique collage style illustrations and is an enjoyable, light-hearted book about trying new foods. The books were adapted into a popular animation in 2005 and ran for 3 series and 80 episodes in total.

BUY HERE >> I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

20 Children's books to read in 2020

40th ANNIVERSARY – The Twits

Published: 1980

The Twits is one of three Roald Dahl titles celebrating a book anniversary this year. (It’s Danny Champion of the World 45th and the 50th anniversary of the Fantastic Mr. Fox). The Twits written by legendary Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, is the story of a hideous, vindictive, spiteful pair who live together in a brick house without windows. They continuously play nasty practical jokes on each other out of hatred for one another, ranging from Mr. Twit hiding a frog in his wife’s bed that he claims is a monster, to Mrs. Twit tricking her husband into eating worms in his spaghetti. Basically, the nastiest couple you could ever hope not to meet. But, we haven’t stopped reading it since 1980 with more than 350,000 copies sold to date.

BUY HERE >> The Twits by Roald Dahl

20 Children's books to read in 2020

50th ANNIVERSARY – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Published: 1970

Who didn’t grow up reading Judy Blume? And, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is one many of us remember from our teen years. The novel introduces us to Margaret, a sixth-grade girl who has grown up without a religious affiliation, due to her parents’ interfaith marriage and her quest for a single religion. Alongside this, Margaret has moved away from her childhood home, she’s starting a new school, finding new friends – and she’s convinced she’s not normal. In typical Blume style  – and controversial at the time –  the book explores typical issues faced by early adolescent girls: such as going through puberty, buying your first bra, having your first period, and feeling attracted to certain boys – all things Margaret finds too embarrassing to talk to her parents about, so she talks to God. The perfect young adult novel then, now and always. Another, Blume title Superfudge is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year too.

BUY HERE >> Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

20 Children's books to read in 2020
50th ANNIVERSARY – Mog the Forgetful Cat

Published: 1970

Who doesn’t love Mog? Everyone’s favourite family cat that gets into trouble with her forgetfulness and her enduring funny and warm-hearted escapades. This special anniversary edition of Mog the Forgetful Cat celebrates this unforgettable cat’s very first adventure. Judith Kerr, the bestselling author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea based the illustrations of the house in which Mog and the Thomas family live on her own family home in Barnes, London. The two children in the books were named after the middle names of her own son and daughter, Matthew and Tracy. The family name “Thomas” is from the first name of her husband, Nigel Kneale, upon whom the appearance of Mr Thomas was based also.

There has been 17 Mog titles since where Mog (“Mog” is a short form of moggy, this is a word for cat that is not a specific breed) gets into a different conundrum with a new character or event. Mog dies in the final book, 2002’s Goodbye, Mog. But in November 2015, Mog returned as a CGI character for the Christmas advert for supermarket Sainsbury’s In Mog’s Christmas Calamity Kerr herself appears in this advert as a neighbour of the Thomas family. A special plush Mog and book version of the story were sold exclusively through Sainsbury’s, with all profits being donated to Save the Children’s child literacy work. 

BUY HERE >> Mog The Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

20 Children's books to read in 2020
60th ANNIVERSARY – Green Eggs & Ham

Published: 1970

It’s the 60th birthday of Green Eggs and Ham – and you’re invited to the party! With this very special slipcase edition of the original Dr. Seuss classic that inspired the new Netflix series. Written using only fifty words, this is the perfect book to introduce children to the joy of words, reading, and of course to the genius that is Dr. Seuss. The story revolves around Sam-I-am who pesters a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham – and, we soon find out we can’t really know what we like, until we try it! As of 2019, the book has sold 8 million copies worldwide.

BUY HERE >> Green Eggs and Ham (Slipcase 60th Anniversary Edition) by Dr. Seuss

20 Children's books to read in 2020
60th ANNIVERSARY – Topsy and Tim: On the Farm 

Published: 1960

Topsy and Tim is a series of children’s books written by husband and wife, Jean Adamson and Gareth Adamson about a set of lovable twins and their fun adventures. Topsy and Tim continue to entertain, guide and delight children with engaging and reassuring stories that small children can relate to such as those all important first experiences like staring school, going on a train and meeting the dentist. Since 1960 more than 130 Topsy and Tim titles have been published with sales of more than 21 million. To celebrate the 60th anniversary Ladybird has republished Topsy and Tim: On the Farm in a gorgeous new hardback edition complete with the original artwork.

BUY HERE>> Topsy and Tim: On the Farm anniversary edition by Jean Adamson and Gareth Adams-on

20 Children's books to read in 2020

60th ANNIVERSARY – Are You My Mother?

Published: 1960

A baby bird goes in search of his mother in this hilarious story by American screenwriter, children’s author, and illustrator, P.D. Eastman. As the hatchling bird asks everyone and everything it meets along the way ‘Are You My Mother?’ it’s a simple and timeless tale of a mother and child’s bond that is the perfect first book babies and toddlers.

BUY HERE >> Are you my Mother? by P.D. Eastman

20 Children's books to read in 2020

65th ANNIVERSARY – Miffy 

Published: 1955

Who doesn’t love Miffy? The small female rabbit who appeared after Dutch artist and writer Dick Bruna created her in 1955 after he’d been telling stories to his one-year-old son, about a little rabbit they had seen earlier in the dunes whilst on a recent holiday. Her original Dutch name is ‘Nijntje’ (a shortening of the diminutive konijntje, “little rabbit”).

Since then, there has been over 30 Miffy titles and in recent years award-winning UK poet, Tony Mitton, has worked closely with Dick Bruna’s Dutch publisher to create new translations for the classic Miffy stories that are true to the books’ original voice, and yet have a contemporary feel to the language that makes them appealing to the modern young audience. The translations beautifully convey the warmth and friendliness of the original Dutch whilst maintaining a style that is inimitably Miffy. In total Miffy books  have sold over 85 million copies, and led to two separate television series as well as items such as clothes, interiors and toys featuring the character. A feature-length film, Miffy the Movie, was released on 30 January 2013.

BUY HERE >> Miffy by Dick Bruna

20 Children's books to read in 2020

65th ANNIVERSARY – Eloise

Published: 1955

Eloise is a cult series of children’s books written in the 1950s by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. Eloise lives with her nanny in the “room on the tippy-top floor” at The Plaza Hotel in New York her pug dog, Weenie, and her turtle, Skipperdee. The daughter of extremely rich parents, she is left daily to her own devices often to hilarious and chaotic consequences. The character was developed by the author based on her childhood imaginary friend and alter ego, with a voice in which Thompson spoke throughout her life – although Thompson’s goddaughter, Liza Minnelli, was often speculated as a possible model for Eloise.

Thompson and Knight followed up the original Eloise book with four sequels – but, there has been recent books published in the style of the originals and various made for TV movies starring Julie Andrews as Nanny. Also, you can ‘live’ like Eloise too, at the Eloise suite at The Plaza in NYC for nearly one thousand dollars this pink ‘homage’ room designed by fashion designer Betsey Johnson is yours for the night. Surely every little (and big girls dream!)

BUY HERE >> Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight

20 Children's books to read in 2020
65th ANNIVERSARY – Harold and the Purple Crayon

Published: 1955

Harold and the Purple Crayon is the now classic story of a curious four-year-old boy who, with his oversized purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. Written by American cartoonist and children’s book illustrator David Johnson Leisk under the pen name of Crockett Johnson. Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost care, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while. This magical journey gives us the wondrous sense that anything is possible and has been loved by children since its publication in the fifties, and led to a series of other books, and inspired many adaptations.

BUY HERE >> Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

20 Children's books to read in 2020

70th ANNIVERSARY – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – The Chronicles of Narnia

Published: 1950

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis and, the best known of  the seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series (1950–1956). The story revolves around four English children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie) who are relocated to live with old professor in a large, old country house following a wartime evacuation. While exploring the professor’s house, Lucy enters a wardrobe that leads her into a snowy wooded area of Naria – a land of talking animals and mythical creatures that is ruled by the evil White Witch – and, the rest as they say is history. The story has been adapted three times for television, for stage and in 2005 as a fantasy movie starting Tilda Swinton as the White Witch.

BUY HERE>> The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

20 Children's books to read in 2020

75th ANNIVERSARY – Stuart Little 

Published: 1945

As a contributor to The New Yorker magazine, American author E. B. White wrote his first children’s book in 1945, that book was Stuart Little. He followed this with another classic Charlotte’s Web in 1952. Stuart Little is an enchanting tale about a mouse-like human boy who is born to an ordinary family in New York City. Small in size but enormous in spirit – and, brought beautifully to life in the first of three live-action (with computer animation) movies in 1999, starring Hugh Laurie as Mr. Little, Geena Davis as Mrs. Little, and Michael J. Fox as the voice of Stuart Little.

BUY HERE >> Stuart Little by E. B. White 

20 Children's books to read in 2020

75th ANNIVERSARY – Pippi Longstocking 

Published: 1945

Crazy red-haired pigtails, freckles, unconventional, superhumanly strong and striped stockings – there is no mistaking Pippi Longstocking. Pippi was created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and named by Lindgren’s daughter Karin, who asked her mother for a get-well story when she was off school. Pippi, is the daughter of a buccaneer captain and has adventurous stories to share with her four best friends: her horse and monkey, and the neighbours’ children, Tommy and Annika. Pippi much like Peter Pan, does not want to grow up – and will bring out the playful and unpredictable in every little reader.  Having been translated into 76 languages as of 2018, made into several films and television series and, with a theme park in Sweden dedicated to her  – Pippi shows no shows of growing old.

BUY HERE >> Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

20 Children's books to read in 2020

80th ANNIVERSARY – Pat the Bunny

Published: 1940

Pat the Bunny is a “touch and feel” book for small children and babies that was written and illustrated by Dorothy Kunhardt, a successful children’s author partly as an experiment in using interactive elements in a book, for her 3-year-old daughter, Edith. This style of book was unusual for 1940, as it’s more a collection of things to do, such as pat the fake fur of a rabbit on one page, feel a bit of sandpaper that stands for “daddy’s scratchy face” on another, and look in a mirror on yet another than a traditional story book. And, clearly paved the way for books we know and love today like Dear Zoo and the That’s Not My.. series.

BUY HERE >>> Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

20 Children's books to read in 2020

85th ANNIVERSARY – The Little House on the Prairie

Published: 1935

Little House on the Prairie is an autobiographical children’s novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder and, the third novel published in her Little House series. The novel based on her childhood and adolescence in a settler and pioneer family, in the American Midwest (Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri) between 1870 and 1894, when they built their one-room log house in Indian Territory, having heard that the government planned to open the territory to white settlers soon. This title also inspired the American television series of the same name which ran from 1974 to 1983.

BUY HERE >> Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

20 Children's books to read in 2020

90th ANNIVERSARY – Swallows and Amazons

Published: 1930

The first book in the Swallows and Amazons series by English author Arthur Ransome set in the summer of 1929 in the Lake District. We are introduced to the main protagonists, The Walker children: John, Susan, Titty and Roger also known as, Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship’s Boy Roger (The Swallows) as they set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. Here they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But, their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, also known as the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a story of an unforgettable summer full of discoveries and incredible adventures.

BUY HERE >> Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

20 Children's books to read in 2020

100th ANNIVERSARY – Doctor Dolittle

Published: 1920

The Doctor Dolittle books by English author Hugh Lofting tell the adventures of a kind-hearted physician, who shuns human patients in favour of animals – whom he understands and can speak to them in their own languages. When the Doctor hears of a terrible sickness among the monkeys in Africa, soon he and his animal friends are setting off on the most unforgettable trip and that’s when the adventure really begins. Dr. Dolittle has ben made in to 3 movies over its 100 years – and portrayed by Rex Harrison in 1967, Eddie Murphy from 1998–2001 and, most recently by Robert Downey Jr. in the 2020 movie Dolittle.

BUY HERE >> Doctor Dolittle: The Complete Collection: (100th Anniversary Edition) by Hugh Lofting (with original Illustrations)

20 Children's books to read in 2020

120th ANNIVERSARY – The Wizard of Oz 

Published: 1900

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an American novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow,  that was originally published in Chicago in 1900. It has since seen several reprints, most often under the title The Wizard of Oz, most notably as the iconic 1939 live-action film starring Judy Garland. Following the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz, after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone – and then who doesn’t know the rest? It’s one of the best known and loved stories ever – and has been declared “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.” Baum went on to write thirteen additional Oz books that serve as official sequels to the first story.

This beautiful gift book edition celebrates the classic story of friendship, kindness and the power of belief, retold for a new generation of young readers with illustrations by renowned illustrator Júlia Sardà, and is out later this year for any collectors. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with illustrious by Júlia Sardà Portabella (out 15 Oct 2020)  

BUY HERE >> The Wizard of Oz (Puffin Clothbound Classic) by L. Frank Baum

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