Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 3 of CHILDREN'S BOOK WEEK - With Margot Finke

Seven Authors
Guardian Angel Publishing

( affectionately known as GAP )

 Are still Blogging their Hearts Out

Children's Book Week

May 7th - 13th, 2012

(See list of other GAP bloggers below)


GAP Authors also offer 2x FREE GIFTS


A cool tote bag of books by GAP authors

a FREE Picture Book Critique - by me!

Don't forget to sign up to WIN!

( entry form at the end of this post ) 



So. . .  let's get to it, mates.

 My Topic for
 Wed, May 9th

Classic Children’s Books – Both Old and New

In Memory of a giant in the world of writing and illustrating books for kids:
Scary, funny, weird -  just the way kids liked it.
Maurice Sendak
 Of course.  Who else?

Every writer of children’s books wants their book to become a classic.  They want today’s kids to love and reread their books until they are tattered and dog-eared with use – right? Then, it’s handed on down to the kid’s kids, and so on, through the generations.  A classic book has been around for decades.  It is read, reread, and then handed down.  If it goes out of print tears are shed, and frustration mounts. Second-hand bookstores are rifled in panicked searches for

So, what makes them classics?  There are millions of books out there, but few are considered classics.  Classics are the ones we actually remember: the cover, some of the words, the way we felt when it was read to us. What mystic magic did the author and illustrator call on to infuse their writing and images with such long term evocative feelings?

Perhaps they did one or more of the following:

  • Dreamed up characters that all kids identify with.
  • Wrote a plot and characters that parents didn’t mind rereading every night – like the fun of Dr Seuss for instance.
  • Illustrations that drew you into the story, and glowed with life, fun or mystery.
  •  Developed a matchless instinct for using the right art and words in the right order.
  • Were themselves still kids at heart 
  • Loved weaving stories, and sprinkling characters with their own brand
    of fairy dust.
  • They had fantastic imaginations, PLUS the know-how to write it all downin unforgettable paragraphs, pages and verses.
  • Or simply wrote and drew what they wanted to have read to them when  they were small, or scared, or in need of comfort.
Who knows the mixture of alchemy and magic that helps someone concoct a classic story?  It simply happens over time.  The right tale, told with the right words, art and sentiments, printed with care, and bound with love.

This Video has me reading the beginning of my latest book
"Taconi and Claude Double Trouble." I chat about the
Aussie outback setting for this historical adventure,
and that I grew up in Australia. 
I hope it also becomes
a classic.

You can find wonderful classic book titles on PINTEREST:
  on my “HOOK KIDS on Reading” space, or on many other Pinterest pages.  OR - begin a Pinterest “classics” page of your own.

Here are a few of my all time favorite classic children's books:
Frog and Toad (any of them)
Roald Dahl – his all rock!
Willy the Wimp - Anthony Browne
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carrol
Winnie the Pooh
Beatrix Potter collection
Jungle Book, Ruyard Kipling - older kids.
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaimen - if old enough.
The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler
Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendek
Peter Pan, J M Barrie
Mother Goose - Rosemary Wells
The Dancing Tiger, Malanchy Doyle
 But Not The Hippopotamus
Time for bed by Mem Fox
Wow! Said the owl by Tim Hopgood
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Pizza the Size of the Sun
The Little Red Hen by Byron Barton
 Henry and Mudge (all)
Oh the Place You'll Go
Go Dog Go – great for beginning readers.
Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley
The Fox and the Hen by Eric Battut
No by Claudia Rueda
Is your mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino 

Read these and other classic books.  Imbue your conscious and unconscious mind with the  words, phrases, plots and characters that make up a classic book.  Let them marinate, and enrich your writing heart and soul. It takes time, experience and talent to produce a fine wine.  It also takes time, talent and experience to give birth to a classic book. But trust me, mates, the pain of the contractions are worth it!

And do please add YOUR favorites to the comments below.



Surf on over to some of the other
Guardian Angel Bloggers

and enjoy their Children's Book Week posts.


a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Entry during the Children's Book Week celebration by Guardian Angel Publishing does not guarantee winning the FREE tote bag of Guardian Angel Publishing books, or the FREE picture book manuscript critique by Margot Finke. Winner of the FREE picture book manuscript critique by Margot Finke shall not hold Ms. Finke liable in publication success of submitted picture book manuscript.


to see books.

CLICK to Download
Taconi and Claude's 21st Century Adventure

a FREE, fun, kid's (pdf) book


*Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
*Virtual School Visits – SKYPE makes it happen



  1. Loved the last variable of simply writing and drawing what they would have liked to have in their hands as kids!

    This is such a fitting post today, Margot, as we commemorate the loss to us all of a truly classic children's author/illustrator, Maurice Sendak.

    1. Joanna, thank you. Yes, Maurice Sendak was a giant in the world of children's books - fun, mystereious and a little scary sometimes.

      BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques

    2. That sounds like a terrific story, Mayra. One that is unfamiliar to me. I will have to read it - then we can compare notes, mate.

      BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques

  2. That's a great list, Margot!

    My favorite children's book isn't there, though: "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane." :-)

  3. Classics seem to resonate with the majority of readers. Find a common thread and pull it taught and pluck out a familiar tune that everyone wants to hum along with.

    Oh, to write a book that would become a classic...a girl can dream.

    1. You and me both, Kai. Dream on mate. . . You never know?

      BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques

  4. Wonderful post! As a child I was always drawn to endearing characters...animals mostly...Mimi the merry-go-round cat by Dorothy Haas, The Seven Wonderful Cats by Elizabeth Webbe...little known but so charming. The books you loved as a child seep into your soul and become part of who you are to be sure.

    1. Sharon, thanks for the added titles. We can never have too many classic book titles at our fingertips.

      BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques

  5. Thanks for the reminders, Margot. Many of my favorites are on your list. I also loved the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy books.

  6. Such memories. Here are my favorites!

    Norma Jean Jumping Bean, The Very Hungry Caterpiller, Beatrice Potter, Green Eggs and Ham

  7. I would add Nate the Great series and Olivia Sharp by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. So many and so good. And anything Dr. Seuss.

  8. Thanks for the great post, Margot! Such a wonderful group of classic books. I love Dr. Seuss especially, and Winnie the Pooh was a great favorite of my daughter. How special to be able to write something that is so enjoyed through the years!

  9. Oooh, I remember some warm times with those books. Raggedy Ann was a special one because one time when I was ill my older sister patched up her Ann and gave her to me to make me feel better. Beatrix Potter books...a gas station down the road from where I lived was giving away a free 'mini' version of her books with each fill-up, needless to say, I have the whole collection! Such wonderful books!

  10. Oh, my, how all the titles you ladies added stirred my own childhood reading memories. Thank you ALL so much for adding your own picks. They are wonderful classics, and deserve a place on every child's book shelf.

    BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques

  11. Hi Margot,
    I've always loved books, and remember the Little Golden books, Mother Goose from my childhood. With my daughter, we read Sendak, Dr. Seuss books, Beatrix Potter books, Are You my Mother, Katy & the Big Snow (Katy is her name), Berenstein Bears, Go Dog Go, Curious George, Milk and Cookies, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, Mother Goose, Pokey Little Puppy, Shy Little Kitten, Little Red Hen. And so many more. It's oh so good to read to kids.

  12. A Wrinkle in Time, My Father's Dragon, Island of the Blue Dolphins

  13. Thanks Alan and Penelope. Your classic titles are a wonderful addition to our children's Book Week book list.

    If only more parents would read to their children?

    BOOKS for KIDS - Manuscript Critiques