BBC names 100 greatest children’s books of all time

Where The Wild Things Are has been named the greatest children’s book of all time, according to a poll by the BBC.

Voted for by children’s authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, academics, librarians, writers and readers from across the world, the top 100 were unveiled on Tuesday (23 May) afternoon.

Maurice Sendak’s 1963 adventure took the top spot in BBC Culture’s list, with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pippi Longstocking, The Little Prince and The Hobbit making up the top five.

Respondents were able to choose from more than 1000 different books, with each picking and ranking their 10 favourite children’s books. More than a fifth of respondents included Where The Wild Things Are in their top 10, with seven per cent choosing it as their top-ranked book.

Notable authors CS Lewis and Roald Dahl featured in the top 10, with JK Rowling placing in 13th for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Philip Pullman is the highest-ranked living author on the list, for his 1995 book Northern Lights from the His Dark Materials series.

The 76-year-old writer said: “I’m delighted to hear the result of this poll, it has taken me completely by surprise, and I’m not entirely sure I can find the words to respond to it.

Phillip Pullman is the highest-ranked living author on the list (Getty Images)
Phillip Pullman is the highest-ranked living author on the list (Getty Images)

“Children’s books are important because we still think about them when we’re grown up, because they have an effect on our way of seeing the world and our way of thinking about other people… That’s why they’re important to grown-ups as well as to children, and that’s why the best grown-up books are important, for the same sorts of reasons I think.”

You can find the full list below.

  1. Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak, 1963)

  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)

  3. Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren, 1945)

  4. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)

  5. The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien, 1937)

  6. Northern Lights (Philip Pullman, 1995)

  7. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis, 1950)

  8. Winnie-the-Pooh (AA Milne and EH Shepard, 1926)

  9. Charlotte’s Web (EB White and Garth Williams, 1952)

  10. Matilda (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1988)

  11. Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery, 1908)

  12. Fairy Tales (Hans Christian Andersen, 1827)

  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling, 1997)

  14. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle, 1969)

  15. The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper, 1973)

  16. The Arrival (Shaun Tan, 2006)

  17. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868)

  18. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl, 1964)

  19. Heidi (Johanna Spyri, 1880)

  20. Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, 1947)

  21. The Adventures of Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi, 1883)

  22. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K Le Guin, 1968)

  23. Moominland Midwinter (Tove Jansson, 1957)

  24. I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen, 2011)

  25. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911)

  26. Duck, Death and the Tulip (Wolf Erlbruch, 2007)

  27. The Brothers Lionheart (Astrid Lindgren, 1973)

  28. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling, 1999)

  29. Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson, 2014)

  30. The Three Robbers (Tomi Ungerer, 1961)

  31. The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats, 1962)

  32. The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr, 1968)

  33. Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones, 1986)

  34. A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle, 1962)

  35. Watership Down (Richard Adams, 1972)

  36. Tom’s Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce, 1958)

  37. Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Brothers Grimm, 1812)

  38. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter, 1902)

  39. The Railway Children (Edith Nesbit, 1906)

  40. Noughts and Crosses (Malorie Blackman, 2001)

  41. The BFG (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1982)

  42. Rules of Summer (Shaun Tan, 2013)

  43. Momo (Michael Ende, 1973)

  44. The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, 1936)

  45. The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien, 1954)

  46. The Owl Service (Alan Garner, 1967)

  47. Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (Astrid Lindgren, 1981)

  48. The Neverending Story (Michael Ende, 1979)

  49. The Panchatantra (Anonymous / folk, -200)

  50. Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883)

  51. Mary Poppins (PL Travers, 1934)

  52. Ballet Shoes (Noel Streafield, 1936)

  53. So Much! (Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury, 1994)

  54. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, 1989)

  55. The Adventures of Cipollino (Gianni Rodari, 1951)

  56. The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein, 1964)

  57. The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, 1999)

  58. Julián Is a Mermaid (Jessica Love, 2018)

  59. Comet in Moominland (Tove Jansson, 1946)

  60. Finn Family Moomintroll (Tove Jansson, 1948)

  61. The Witches (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1983)

  62. A Bear Called Paddington (Michael Bond, 1958)

  63. The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 1908)

  64. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D Taylor, 1977)

  65. Karlsson-on-the-Roof (Astrid Lindgren, 1955)

  66. The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, 1961)

  67. The Cat in the Hat (Dr Seuss, 1957)

  68. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline, 2006)

  69. Peter and Wendy (JM Barrie, 1911)

  70. One Thousand and One Nights (Anonymous / folk)

  71. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler (EL Konigsburg, 1967)

  72. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Judith Kerr, 1971)

  73. Shum bola (G’afur G’ulоm, 1936)

  74. Ernest and Celestine (Gabrielle Vincent, 1981)

  75. A Kind of Spark (Elle McNicoll, 2020)

  76. Little Nicholas (René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé, 1959)

  77. Black Beauty (Anna Sewell, 1877)

  78. Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster, 1912)

  79. No Kiss for Mother (Tomi Ungerer, 1973)

  80. My Family and Other Animals (Gerald Durrell, 1956)

  81. Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson, 1980)

  82. The Lorax (Dr Seuss, 1971)

  83. Fairy Tales/The Tales of Mother Goose (Charles Perrault, 1697)

  84. The Moomins and the Great Flood (Tove Jansson, 1945)

  85. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L Frank Baum, 1900)

  86. Just William (Richmal Crompton, 1922)

  87. The Twits (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1980)

  88. The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban, 1967)

  89. Out of My Mind (Sharon M Draper, 2010)

  90. Moominvalley in November (Tove Jansson, 1970)

  91. Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1932)

  92. Danny the Champion of the World (Roald Dahl, 1975)

  93. The Snowman (Raymond Briggs, 1978)

  94. Wave (Suzy Lee, 2008)

  95. The Black Brothers (Lisa Tetzner, 1940)

  96. The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams, 1921)

  97. The Bad Beginning (Lemony Snicket, 1999)

  98. The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman, 2008)

  99. American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien, 2006)

  100. Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Salman Rushdie, 1990)