With the near-infinite number of children’s books available (and the multitudes more published every year), picking out quality children’s books can be difficult. You can plough through hundreds looking for one with that special spark that marks it as a classis. To help you recognize a classic in the making when you read it, here are some elements to watch out for.
Above all, the story has to be enjoyable. The plot and the pacing must be inventive, memorable, and make you wish that you could it read it all again once you’ve finished. That isn’t to say that the story can’t cause a tear or two: Charlotte’s Web and Where the Red Fern Grows are both tearjerkers and classics. In fact, the books that can connect with you enough to make you cry are instant contenders for classic status.
A story becomes more memorable with truly good characters. How can we forget the endearing simplicity and faithfulness of Wilbur in Charlotteâ€™s Web, or the imagination and mischievousness of Max in Where the Wild Things Are? Characters that become our friends, about whom we think long after weâ€™ve finished the book, are the marks of classic.
For illustrated classics, the illustrations are an equally essential component of the story and how enjoyable it is. Any of Roald Dahl’s classic stories illustrated by Quentin Blake are delightful for both the stories and pictures. Some books are only illustrations, and can tell a story with few or no words. The book Tuesday is a great example of this, in which a group of frogs spend a Tuesday night flying around town and encountering adventures.
The Lasting Appeal
Above all, look for books that are rich enough to change a little every new time you read them, that open up before you as you grow up. Both you and your children will enjoy any book that can live up to that high standard.