One of the most interesting things I've noted, as I've been reading and enjoying Fuse #8 (Betsy Bird) count down the 100 Top 100 Children's Novels, is just how deeply attached readers are to series books. Perhaps it's not surprising since series provide room for stories to obtain epic or multi-generational dimensions. They also give us more page-time with characters, making them feel like beloved friends we've seen not once, but on many return visits.
My own top ten, which I submitted, contained 4 clear series with 3 more that aren't always billed heavily as a series but have sequels that continue with the same characters...hence, they're series! My 7 out of 10 seems to be running just about exactly with the percentage of series books being listed in the overall poll results.
And it was hard to decide which book from the series to choose, something that's been discussed a good bit in the comments at Betsy's blog. If you can only choose one, which one do you choose? Do you go for the first book in the series (which she says she defaulted to if someone listed an entire series as their choice, or said they couldn't possibly choose only one) since that's where characters, setting and story are all introduced? Do you go for the final book of the series, where stories often come to a powerful and cathartic ending? Do you choose the book that drew you most deeply into the series in the first place, or hooked you so you knew you were definitely going to keep reading to the end? Or do you simply choose the one book in the series you ended up loving the most, the one you tend to go back to more than any other? (You know, the one whose binding fell apart first...)
It's a hard call. I found myself defaulting most often to the first book in the series, in part because it was "where it all started" but also sometimes because it was really my favorite. In one case only did I find myself going with the third book in a series.
Of course I've been especially fascinated to watch the poll for Harry Potter. It's interesting to note which books are coming in as "most beloved" and why ~ and there's an interesting mix of people, including teachers, parents, librarians, and yes, kids, who voted. With only the top 25 books left to count down, 3 HPs have made it so far, and comment speculation is keen regarding which of the others will make it or whether or not all 7 might. Care to guess which 3 have made it?
Chamber of Secrets came in at #86, Order of the Phoenix at #38, and Goblet of Fire at #35.
So what do you think? Will the other 4 Harry Potters show up in the top 25? I think Sorcerer's Stone and Azkaban definitely will; I'm less sure about Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows, which seem to work better in tandem than each on their own.
And if you were ranking your top 10 children's novels (defined here as mid-grade books for 8-12 year olds) of all time, would Harry make your list? And if so, which Harry?