To celebrate Children’s Book week, here I give a run down of my favourite 5 children’s books of all time, and the meaning you can find in them.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a 1969 children’s picture book, designed, illustrated, and written by Eric Carle. The book centres around a very hungry caterpillar eating everything in sight until it gets a stomach ache. He then eats a nice green leaf, feels better and emerges as a butterfly. The book has won many children’s literature awards and major graphic design awards. It addresses moral questions on the topics of well-being and happiness, self-control and growth and change.
The 1964 children’s novel by British author Roald Dahl was inspired by his experience of chocolate companies during his time as a pupil at Repton School in Derbyshire. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka. Charlie and four other children find golden tickets inside Wonka chocolate bars, an invite to tour Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory, where Charlie, due to his curious and kind nature, inherits the chocolate factory as his reward, showing kind character can reap rewards.
A book that fuels the imagination of children, this fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles, is the first published and best known of the seven novels that make up The Chronicles of Narnia. Among all the author’s books, it is believed to be the most widely held in libraries. The majority of the book takes place in a fictitious and magical land known as Narnia. Narnia is heavily symbolic of a perfect world, or heaven and home to an array of magical, mythical beasts and talking animals. The story is believed to be about redemption, religion, and choices and an example of a Christian allegory.
This most translated work, from its original French, is a story written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The author drew on his own experience of a crash in the Sahara desert, as it involves a pilot whose plane likewise crashes there. He meets a “little prince” who asks him to draw him a sheep. As the pilot tries to fix his plane, the prince shares the story of his life on his home planet, and his love for a rose, as well as his journeys beyond. It is a touching, honest and beautiful story with themes of sadness, loneliness, friendship and love.
More widely known as Alice in Wonderland, this English novel by Lewis Carroll details the story of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world of many anthropomorphic creatures. Amongst them are a talking rabbit, a grinning cat and a huge caterpillar. It is seen as an example of the literary nonsense genre, a genre of literature that uses language with no meaning paired with meaningful language. The story symbolises a child’s struggle to survive in the bewildering world of adults. To understand and navigate our adult world, Alice has to overcome the open-mindedness that is inbuilt in children.