1. Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by James and Deborah Howe -- Trouble arises when a cat and dog suspect their family's new pet bunny of being a vegetable-sucking vampire. I remember ordering this from the Scholastic book flyer in elementary school, and now it's G's favorite book ever.
2. Under Plum Lake by Lionel Davidson -- While exploring a sea cave, a boy is spirited away to a fantastic world under the water (but not in it). Mystical, dreamlike, and full of rich sensory descriptions.
3. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones -- Young Christopher has always been able to leave his body and visit other worlds. It turns out that he's a nine-lived enchanter who must grow up to be Chrestomanci, the person who controls the use of magic throughout all those worlds. Unfortunately, Christopher doesn't want the job.
4. Drummer Hoff by Barbara and Ed Emberly -- A psychedelic picture book about an army trying to fire a cannon. It was published in 1968; I owned it circa 1974.
5. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry -- The tale of a group of wild ponies living on an island off the coast of Virginia, and a boy and girl who fall in love with one of them. I nearly read this to pieces when I was about G's age.
6. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit -- While spending their summer holidays in the country, a family of Edwardian children find a cranky, furry sand-fairy -- the Psammead -- that can grant them one wish a day. They soon find out that it's best to be careful what you wish for.
7. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg -- A brother and sister run away to Manhattan and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they get mixed up in a mystery involving a statue that may be one of Michelangelo's. Great for any kid who's ever dreamt of running away, which is probably all of them.
8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl -- I don't think I've ever read a Dahl book I didn't like, but this is at the top of my list. The bit I liked best as a child was the evil Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker being smashed flat by the peach as it rolled away.
9. Half Magic by Edward Eager -- Four children living in the 1920s find a magic coin that grants wishes, but only by halves. Incidentally, Eager was a huge fan of E. Nesbit and mentioned her in nearly all his own books.
10. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum -- In the third Oz book, Dorothy is blown overboard during a storm at sea and ends up back in fairyland, this time with a talking chicken rather than her dog Toto. After meeting various odd characters, she ends up playing a guessing game to rescue a royal family from the evil Nome King.
11. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume -- Poor Peter Hatcher has a two-year-old terror of a brother named Fudge, who seems to be out to ruin his life. This also happened to be P's favorite book when he was in grade school; he read it to G two or three years ago, and she still says "Eat it or wear it!"
12. Choose Your Own Adventure by various authors -- Actually a series, not a single book, but I had to include it. These are the famous books that have various endings depending on choices you make throughout the story (e.g., "If you open the door, turn to page 38; if you try to fight the tiger, turn to page 43.") They've recently been re-released -- I saw them at Barnes and Noble.
13. The Great Cheese Conspiracy by Jean Van Leeuwen -- A gang of mice -- Fats the Fuse, Raymond the Rat and Merciless Marvin the Magnificent -- decide to knock over a cheese store by tunneling into it from the movie theater where they live. The dialogue is to die for.
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