Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to welcome blogger Théa Rosenburg [Little Book, Big Story] as a guest contributor with us today.
I sat down to write a list of my ten favorite adventure stories and found book titles crowding around me like toddlers around a popsicle. How could I leave off Wildwood or say nothing of Lemony Snicket? And Tolkien—is any list of adventure stories complete without a nod in his direction? What about Mark Twain? Treasure Island?
I set out to write a list of ten books, though—not thirty—so I pared it down to a mix of classics and recent releases that will, I hope, send you and your family off on some adventures of your own:
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
What better place to start a list of adventures than with The Chronicles of Narnia? This series has children all over the world tapping at the back of closets, hoping—just hoping—to reach Narnia. C.S. Lewis was adept at writing in a half dozen different literary genres, but he shines when writing for children. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
Half Magic, by Edward Eager
Siblings find a magic coin that grants wishes, but it only grants wishes by half. A wish for a fire produces a small fire; a wish for a ride home produces a ride halfway home. A wish for a trip to Camelot produces the sort of story that had me laughing aloud in an empty room. I can’t wait to read this one to my kids. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson
I am, at present, halfway through this series. But I recognize a kindred spirit in Andrew Peterson, who peppers the tale of Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby with pitch-perfect humor and fictional footnotes. If you pick these up, prepare to meet, love, appreciate, and/or cower before any of the following: cheesy chowder, toothy cows, the Dark Sea of Darkness, and Eezak Fencher’s Comprehensive History of Sad, Sad Songs.
The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
C.S. Lewis revered George MacDonald, and it’s not hard to see why. The Princess and the Goblin is a classic fairy tale about the Princess Irene, the miner boy Curdie, some goblins, and a great-great-great-great grandmother. My daughter loved the characters; I loved MacDonald’s imagery. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
The Abhorsen Trilogy, by Garth Nix
This is my favorite series that no one seems to know about. I find the story hard to explain: there’s magic and necromancy and stuff that sounds pretty generic when summarized, and there is also a cat. But though I cannot explain this trilogy’s appeal, I have yet to recommend these books to anyone who didn’t succumb to it.
The Green Ember, by S.D. Smith
In a few short pages, Heather and Picket (both young bunnies) lose everything and find themselves adrift in a wood corrupted by war. Where will they go next? What will become of them? Debut author S.D. Smith tells a story that reads like a modern novel, but is, at its heart, an old-fashioned tale of honor, courage, and hope. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
The Adventures of Robin Hood, by Roger Lancelyn Green
This, my friends, is adventure at its best. Outlaws and archery, heroism and chivalry—Roger Lancelyn Green, a student of C.S. Lewis, draws these elements into a delightful harmony as he tells the tale of Robin Hood. My house was peopled with small Maid Marians for weeks after reading this to my two oldest daughters. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
Henry York discovers ninety-nine cupboards of varying sizes and shapes hidden under the plaster of his bedroom wall. Each door leads to a different place, including (but not limited to) Endor, Byzanthamum, Arizona. The first book in this trilogy is fun (and delightfully creepy); the second and third books are unforgettable. (Read my full review on Little Book, Big Story.)
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
Milo finds a tollbooth—a phantom tollbooth—in his room one day, complete with a tiny car. He drives through and encounters the Spelling Bee, that infernal Dynne, Tock the Watchdog, and more. Word play, puns, and inventive plot lines make Norton Juster’s classic one that’s fun to read as a child and as an adult.
Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
If a list of adventure stories must begin with The Chronicles of Narnia, then I suppose it should end with Harry Potter. You know what they’re about, so I won’t bore you with that. But I will say this: I am not allowed to reread these books (by my own decree) until my children are old enough to read them, too. Why? Imagine my toddler decorating the walls with Sharpie while I stand at the stove, stirring blackened soup, reading not from my cookbook but from Harry Potter. That’s why.
About Théa Rosenburg
Théa Rosenburg has books in every room of her house—except the laundry room. She also has laundry in every room of the house—even the laundry room. Make of it what you will. She writes about children’s books at Little Book, Big Story and is a regular contributor to Deeply Rooted Magazine.