Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Trip Back in Time: 15 books from 30 years ago that are still great today.

Do you remember 1984?  I hate to admit it, but yeah, I do, too.

Realizing for the first time that my kid is turning 20 this year (a “duh” moment, because he turned 19 last year!), I decided to do something “historical.”  But then I did the math wrong and pulled together a quick roundup of kids’ books from 1984 that are still great today.  That’s 30, mom, not 20. 

But never mind!  I’m happy I did… it’s been a great chance to rediscover some old favourites.

These are not in any kind of order.  Just… kinda random.   Sort of like the last 20 (or 30) years! 

The Best-15 of 1984

I’ve made the list clickable so you can explore each of these titles for yourself.  There are also Amazon links at the bottom.  As I’ve said before, I don’t get paid for writing this blog, but I do get a small kickback if you click my links, and even more if you buy something once you’re there.  So… thanks!

Here’s the list:

  1. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
  2. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear by Don Wood
  3. Toons for Our Times by Berke Breathed
  4. Aesop's Fables by Milo Winter (this is the edition we have, along with the CD)
  5. The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  6. The Far Side Gallery by Gary Larson
  7. Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
  8. The Napping House by Audrey Wood (and illustrated by Don Wood of Little Mouse fame (see above)!)
  9. Bambi (Disney Little Golden Book)
  10. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV by Stan Berenstain
  11. The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky
  12. The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend
  13. The Three Bears (Little Golden Book)
  14. Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
  15. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton (after nearly 20 years designing greeting cards, she released a few other kids’ books that year as well, including Doggies and A to Z)

What about the comics??? 

Two of these picks are comic books that were probably aimed more at adults than at kids, but we all know kids pick up and browse through imagecomics.  Sadly, Bloom County has aged more than I hoped it would  I’m including it anyway because the illustration style is still striking and some are still relevant and even poignant today.  And Far Side never gets old!  It’s a perennial a favourite among budding geeks and science nerds!  Also, though the strip was still super-popular, there were no Calvin & Hobbes books published in 1984, so I couldn’t include any here.  Drat!

Is there a theme?

What stands out for me in this list are the names – not the books themselves, but the names of the authors and in some cases, illustrators. 

Some of these authors were or became very well-known; in other cases, they’re more obscure today.  Some are gone now and very much missed in the world of kidlit.  Two of the books are “authorless” Little Golden books that were particularly well done, so they got thrown in, too.

All are well worth reading.

Fine out more or buy them here:

Can you spot any kind of theme in the 1984 “Best 15”?  Which of these books have “lasted” the best, in your opinion?


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