My Father’s Dragon , Ruth Stiles Gannett
This fantastical, whimsical series about the very resourceful Elmer Elevator, who sets off to rescue a baby dragon after a stray cat suggests it, was one of our favorites as children. Plus, it has the reboot built right in — all the stories are about the narrator’s father’s dragon, but maybe it’s time for him to find one for himself. On to Blueland!
Madeline , Ludwig Bemelmans
“In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.” We never quite got enough of spunky, mischievous Madeline, who leads her friends in adventures and says pooh pooh to wild beasts. In fact, we think we’d read a second series of an older Madeline, on her own in a Parisian (or New York) apartment, to see how that attitude has evolved.
Frog and Toad , Arnold Lobel
There’s something about this odd couple — the friendly Frog, the grumpy Toad — on their simple adventures (kite flying, house cleaning, making cookies) that is endlessly appealing. Though the books have already inspired a Broadway musical (and not a bad one — it was nominated for three Tony awards), we’d love to see a return to the story’s roots with a few more books full of Frog and Toad.
Winnie-the-Pooh , A.A. Milne
But of course. One of the most beloved — if not the actual most beloved — children’s series of all time, Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories could go on forever. In fact, an authorized sequel entitled Return to the Hundred Acre Wood was published in 2009, but we’re not satisfied — we can never have enough Pooh.
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle , Betty MacDonald
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a woman who lives in an upside down house in a town filled with misbehaving children. Luckily, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is the proud owner of a magical chest left to her by her pirate husband, which contains a variety of very strange (but very effective) cures for things like bad table manners and truancy. We need more books like this today. Maybe then we wouldn’t have things like Honey Boo Boo Child.
Doctor Dolittle , Hugh Lofting
Because modern children shouldn’t have to live with the Eddie Murphy movie as the most updated version of these excellent tales.
Moomin , Tove Jansson
The Moomin stories are some of the weirdest and most inventive children’s books out there, and much beloved, especially in the Moomin family’s native Finland, where there is an entire theme park called Moomin World. Something rational tells us that we might want to work on getting the entire existing oeuvre readily available in the states before we start clamoring for more, but we feel like clamoring nonetheless.
The Chronicles of Prydain , Lloyd Alexander
The Taran books are a little more advanced than most of the others on this list, but we’re still counting them. Based in Welsh mythology, we think the world and the characters are so rich that they could inspired many books to come.
Little House on the Prairie , Laura Ingalls Wilder
When we first considered these books, we pushed the idea away, thinking that the setting might be just too old-timey for a modern audience. But then we remembered just how much the books captured every young girl’s attention not very long ago, and the fact that there is still a booming Laura Ingalls Wilder tourism industry. We don’t know quite how these would be rebooted or adapted for a 2012 audience, but we’d definitely be interested to see it.
Pippi Longstocking , Astrid Lindgren
Someone needs to prove once and for all that the effervescent, mischievous Pippi does not grow up to be Lisbeth Salander.