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Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Top 100 Children’s Novels (#1)

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)
(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2) (#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2) (#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2) (#2)(#2)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3) (#3)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3) (#3)(#3)(#4)(#4)(#4)(#4) (#4)(#4)(#4)(#5)(#5)(#5) (#5)(#5)(#5)(#5)(#6)(#6) (#6)(#6)(#6)(#6)(#6)(#6) (#7)(#7)(#7)(#7)(#8)(#8) (#8)(#8)(#8)(#9)(#9)(#9) (#9)(#10)(#10)(#10)(#10) – 751 points

I have no idea how the rest of the results will go, but I’ll be shocked if this isn’t number one. – Steven Engelfried, Raising A Reader Coordinator, 2010 Newbery Award Committee Member, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Some book. (Though interesting for writers to know that Fern didn’t appear as a character until the eighth draft.) – Susan Ramsey

I reread this umpteem times. My parents couldn’t understand why I loved it so when I’m deathly afraid of spiders. I finally pointed out there is no picture of Charlotte in the book. It introduced kids to the concept that animals deserve dignity and kindness. – Joan L. Raphael, Youth Collections Librarian, San Diego Public Library

And yet, has there ever been a better book? One of my personal criteria for great stories is fresh, off-the-wall plots, and to this day, I challenge you to find an odder premise than the spider who saves a young pig by spinning words into her web. That’s not even getting into the strength of the characterization, from patient Charlotte and immature Wilbur to secondary delights such as the geese with their repetitive vocal patterns or surly Templeton and his smelly hoard. Did I mention well written? Such clean, sure language! – Kate Coombs (Book Aunt)

This is here because I know it will be in the top three once all is counted up and recognized, also I do adore this story of friendship and farm smells. This is the first chapter book I remember my mother reading to me. I still own that copy. Regardless if a child has never seen a porcine anything outside the meat department of the local grocery store, they will immediately identify with Fern’s desire to rescue Wilber and put doll clothes on him. As a rule I am not drawn to, indeed actively shun, talking animal books but when it comes to geese with speech impediments I’m putty-utty in the masterful E. B. Whites hands. – DaNae (The Librariest)

Read to me by my otherwise frightening second grade teacher Mrs. Prough. I remember sitting “Indian style” on the green carpet, desperate that Charlotte find a way to keep Wilbur alive. Then, I identified with Fern and Wilbur. Now I read this as Charlotte. No wonder generations love this book.Linda Urban

Not just the greatest children’s book of all time…THE GREATEST BOOK OF ANY GENRE, ANY TIME (excluding the Bible, Torah, and Koran)Mary Ann Rodman – Beth Maddigan, Provincial Children’s Librarian, Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries, St. John’s, NL

I still cry every time I read it. The most elegant writing in the world! – Jody Sitts, Children’s Librarian, Field Library, Peekskill, NY

E.B. White’s classic has incredibly memorable first and last lines, and everything in between feels golden. Every time I re-read it I’m so moved by its simple beauty. I was also astonished by how my daughter took it from such a young age. The first time she heard it read aloud, she was really “too young” to comprehend the story fully, and yet when I got to the last page and shut the book, she cried and wanted “more Wilbur.” – Beth Priest (Endless Books)

Timeless, appeals to so many diverse groups. – Chris Vollmer, Librarian/ITL/Lit. First Coordinator, Browning School, Milwaukee, WI

Ironically, I never read it as a kid, although it was my sister’s favorite. I fell in love with it when I read it to my sons. – Brenda Kahn, School Library Media Specialist, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

I had a little trouble ranking the other nine books, but there was no question which one would top my list. I can still remember being in first grade and listening to our teacher read this aloud to us—laughing at the talkative geese, praying Charlotte’s plan to save poor Wilbur’s bacon would succeed, and crying over the final paragraphs. White’s farmyard tale of friendship, loss, and the power of the written word has stayed with me to this very day—and isn’t that what all great literature aspires to? – Christi Esterle, Youth Librarian, Douglas County Libraries, Parker CO

First read aloud to me by my beloved second grade teacher in 1968, I immediately demanded my own copy for at home. I’ve read it many times since then, including out loud to my own children. This slim volume, with its nostalgic black and white illustrations by Garth Williams, hits so many of the major themes in children’s books–friendship, love, death, loss, coming of age–while maintaining a sense of humor.  And who among us doesn’t crave a friend like Charlotte? – Margo Tanenbaum

A classic chapter book that I have enjoyed reading every year to groups of students and to my own daughters.  I remember reading it myself when I was in second grade. – Tina (Tina Says . . . )

Almost everyone who reads this one ends up in tears or at least with a lump in the throat. And the whole story is just so Real, even though it’s about talking animals. – Sherry Early

Enduring classic (as opposed to the other classics that teachers continue to make kids read but that kids really don’t like). – Brenda Ferber

Irresistible characters, great dialogue, and a fantastic plot make this book a true classic. – Heidi Grange, School Library Media Teacher, Summit Elementary, Smithfield, UT

This one is the classic story of love and friendship and even loss. The animal personalities are well thought out and the story moves at a good pace. – Kristen M. (We Be Reading)

WHY? Because you think you know it and you don’t. Read it again. It is the finest novel about friendship ever written. – Walter M. Mayes

Wilbur is "some pig" and this story is "something special". – David Ziegler

A celebration of language. – Priscilla Cordero, Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ

When he discovers that he is destined to be someone’s dinner, Wilbur the pig is desolate until his spider friend Charlotte decides to help him. (Another one I first heard–my mom read a chapter a night. Then I read it, and read it, and read it.) – Laurel Sharp, Liverpool Public Library, Liverpool, NY

This is by far my favorite fiction book for kids. I loved it as a child and have reread it as an adult. I rarely reread any book. – Martha Sherod, LAPL

(The second best book that everyone still reads and remembers–and possibly your winner) – Ed Spicer

I read this book for the first time during the summer between 3rd and 4th grades. It was then that I decided it was more interesting to lay in bed and read rather than watch cartoons. I was hooked from the very start, and I could barely put the book down long enough to eat or sleep. I distinctively remember waking up early to read the last chapters, all while crying buckets of tears and eating trying to eat Rice Krispies that were getting soggy by the minute. – Jennifer Sauls

A children’s book that has stood the test of time and never grows old. – Pam W. Coughlan (Mother Reader)

This is my favorite for a number of reasons, but the absolute TOP is that it was the first chapter book I read on my own. I was seven. I’m 39 now, and I’ve still not managed to surpass the feeling of pride and liberation I felt when I realized I had crossed the threshold from kiddie books to grown-up books (obviously equating chapters with being a grown-up!) – Kara Dean

A storyteller’s story that begs to be read aloud right through to the heart-wrenching death scene and on to the very end. – Faith Brautigam, Director of Youth Services, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

I am 48 and I STILL cry when Charlotte dies. In college I began reading White’s collected essays. This is not simply my favorite book: he is my favorite author. AND can you believe this book won a Newbery HONOR in 1953, not the Medal. The Medalist was Secret of the Andes. Does anyone remember Secret of the Andes? Is it in print?Maria Padian

This one changes the landscape for chapter books in mid-century. It’s a perfect readaloud, but also a great book for a relatively new reader to take on. It’s got humor and pathos, and the best retelling of the Easter story I’ve ever read in secular form. I can’t read the end without crying, even after all these years. – Libby Gruner

No stronger image is created in all of children’s literature to represent the “circle of life” than Charlotte’s death and the birth of all those babies. Again the prose and imagery close on perfection. – Janice E. Bojda, Head of Children’s Services, Evanston Public Library

Including the award for the best all time first line.Jacqui Robbins

It was not actually my favorite as a child, but watching my seven-year-old read through it, utterly entranced, has reminded me how lovely it is. – Lisa Gordis, Barnard College

Every time I read this masterpiece, I’m moved by the poetry and simplicity of E.B.White’s writing — every word is perfect — and by the lovely, bittersweet ending, which teaches better than any other book that death is a natural part of life. – Joanne R. Fritz

" ‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."

Under normal circumstances I edit down the responses that people have to the books, but I figured that for the number one children’s novel as decided by this poll, I would allow EVERYBODY to have their say.  And so they have.  This is every comment I received from folks who voted this book onto the list.  Their votes have paid off as well.  Charlotte’s Web, you will always be number one to American children and adults everywhere.

Anita Silvey has a lovely explanation of how E.B. White’s book came to be in 100 Best Books for Children.  "His love of nature inspired all three of his children’s books.  The first of these, Stuart Little, took White about eighteen years to write.  Charlotte’s Web emerged after a relatively short two-year gestation process.  It began as an essay for the Atlantic Monthly entitled ‘Death of a Pig,’ which told how White tended to an ailing pig, only to have it die.  The idea for the book came to White while he was carrying a pail of slops to his pig and thinking about writing a children’s book.  He wanted a way to save a pig’s life, and then he started watching a large spider."

For a truly good time you should make a point to read editor Ursula Nordstrom’s letters on the book in Dear Genius (collected by Leonard Marcus).  Prior to CW‘s publication there are some great notes.  Like this one to Mr. White himself.  "No, I have never encountered any story plot like Charlotte’s Web.  I do not believe that any other writer has ever told about a spider writing words in its web.  Perhaps I should ask some of the children’s book ladies who go back even further in time than I do, but I am sure nothing even remotely like this has been written.  I believe Charlotte is the first spider since Miss Muffet’s."  The notes on the changes made to the illustrations are particularly telling as well.  Good stuff.

The book won a Newbery Honor in 1952, losing out the gold to The Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark.  To determine why this might be, the blog Heavy Medals decided to conduct a formal reading of Clark’s book.  In Part One they simply discuss the decision to read it.  In Part Two and Part Three they really pick it apart and thoroughly consider it.  From my own point of view, and as I understand it, the simplified reason for why Clark beat White may have something to do with the fact that the librarians on the Newbery committee were tired of handing out medals to books about middle American white kids.  The Secret of the Andes took place in Peru!  It was new and exciting.  And to steal from Nina Lindsay, this is what Clark said in her Newbery acceptance speech, "I have worked with Spanish children from New Mexico to Central and South America, with Indian children from Canada to Peru. I have worked with them because I like them. I write about them because their stories need to be told. All children need understanding, but children of segregated racial groups need even more. All children need someone to make a bridge from their world to the world of the adults who surround them."  They wanted to open children’s eyes to the greater world out there.  To get past their own back yards.  You can understand their decision better in that context.

It seems apropos that fellow Top Ten Poll author Louis Sachar discusses his love of this book in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book.  Says he, "My fourth-grade teacher read a chapter of Charlotte’s Web every day after lunch; her reading out loud surprised me because a teacher hadn’t done this since we were in kindergarten or maybe first grade.  I remember very little about fourth grade except the teacher reading us that book."

Author/illustrator Eric Rohmann agrees. His teacher also read the book to him.  ". . . on its deepest level Charlotte’s Web demonstrates how words, with their power, create reality.  Of course, everyone sees Charlotte’s words – they are displayed in her spider webs.  Wilbur’s life is saved by what he and everyone else sees.  It was the same with me.  In that classroom I learned that a book becomes the person who is reading it.  Charlotte’s Web, for me, has Ms. Cerny’s face on it."

  • Do you knit lace? (put your hand down, mom).  Well if so, why not use this pattern to create the world’s coolest lace knit scarf.  Such a good idea.

  • And, of course, there was this accompanying t-shirt.

Eudora Welty said of book in The New York Times, "
What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle, life and death, trust and treachery, pleasure and pain, and the passing of time. As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done. ‘At-at-at, at the risk of repeating myself,’ as the goose says, Charlotte’s Web is an adorable book."

In this world, there is only one true cover for this book and Garth Williams got it right the first time.  Even when the movie editions of the book come out they reference it.  See?:

Now I know that some of you have a real affection for the 1973 animated version of this story.  Can’t say as I share it with you, but I know it’s there.  I just find it interesting that Debbie Reynolds did the voice of Charlotte.

Then came the animated sequel Charlotte’s Web 2 . . . but I’ll spare you.

Regarding the live action version that came out a couple years ago.  First off I have two words for you: star studded.  You will rarely see Robert Redford and Andre 3000 in a film together.  This is one of the few times.  As I recall the reaction to the movie was modest and folks generally liked it, though everyone agreed that this is an impossible book to capture on film perfectly. 

The trailer gives you one sense of the film. The opening title sequence gives you another entirely.

And so we come to the last post on this poll.  Tomorrow I will release the full list from 1-100.  The day after that I’ll post the classics that didn’t make it onto the list (and the ones that appeared in numbers 101-120).  And the day after that (and this is the big one) every single book that was voted on that didn’t make it.  Phew!

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Thanks once again Madame Fuse VIII for a wonderful, wonderful list! A Herculean effort on your part. It was my first stop every morning, and the reading of each post was infused with excitement and joy. Thank’ee!

  2. Kara Dean says

    Called it! Although, as one one commenter said, it hardly comes as a surprise. Absolutely perfect in every way, and the bestest way to top off a truly stellar list. Well done to all who voted, and ‘Huzzah!’ to you for putting it all together.

  3. Brenda Kahn (proseandkahn) says

    Betsy, you are truly a wonder! Thank you so very much for this treasure trove of information on some damn fine books. Just this weekend, I was wondering where Charlotte’s Web was.


  4. Rocco Staino says

    What a couple of great days it has been for E.B. White. He has his book Charlotee’s Web as number 1 on this great list and on Friday evening he was inducted into the NYS Writers Hall of Fame. Congrats E.B. on both counts!

  5. Ed Spicer says

    Some BLOG! Nice work, Betsy.

    What? You mean Boy in the Striped Pajamas didn’t make the list? I’m still pleased to know that I can still be gullible.

  6. A couple of years ago the library at which I was working walked in the town’s Fourth of July parade and the librarians all wore sandwich signs with book covers. I got to be Charlotte’s Web and you should have heard the appreciative squeals from kids of all ages as I walked down the road. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for this series, Betsy! You’re amazing!

  7. Thanks so much for doing this! It has been great fun for all of us in our house!
    So did anyone win the prize?
    And did you ever tell us the chapter book equivalent of Love You Forever that you mentioned months ago?

  8. That would be the April Fool’s post book.

    Someone did win the prize! I’ll try to announce it tomorrow. Good reminder.

  9. ONce again, thanks Betsy.

    I wonder how many vegitarians this book can claim responsiblity for? As I seem to remember at least one Madeline L’Engle character swore off pork after reading this book.

    Now what am I going to do tommorrow? At least there will be some post game wrap up to detox us slowly.

  10. Leslie Muir says

    Certainly enjoyed your labor of love. Thanks for treating us to this fantastic blow-by-blow.

  11. rockinlibrarian says

    All weekend I was thinking, “there’s really no REASON I have to get on the computer first thing monday morning anymore, we all know what it’s going to be,” and yet here I am anyway! Looking forward to the detox posts, indeed.

  12. leda schubert says

    I’m with Mary Ann Rodman (and everyone else) on this–there’s no book I love more, even though there are books I love very very much. It had to be number one.

  13. Melissa (Book Nut) says

    A wonderful, amazing, terrific list. (And a wonderful, amazing terrific book…) Thanks for putting it together and entertaining us all for the last month or two. ๐Ÿ™‚ Is there going to be a print-worthy version anytime soon?

  14. Wow – what a satisfying poll. Betsy, thanks so much for doing this! It was a great list – lots of old favorites, as well as a bunch of new books to be added to my TBR pile. I’m thrilled to see that 9 out my 10 choices made the top 100. Looking forward to the wrap up posts.

  15. Betsy, thanks so much for this! It’s been a great ride. I’m looking forward to the follow-up posts as well, but 100-1 has been especially delightful, reminding me of old favorites and adding more titles than I care to admit to my reading list.

    Also! Congratulations to whoever won the prize! As I was lamenting this morning the fact that I got all the titles, but I didn’t get them in order, my husband informed me there there was an 1 in 3 million-ish chance of getting them in the right order, providing you had all the correct titles. Very impressive, mystery winner.

  16. MotherReader says

    In awe of the incredible amount of thoughtful work that went into this venture. You are amazing.

  17. Jennifer Schultz says

    Yay! A satisfying ending. It wasn’t my #1 choice, but it’s a favorite. Looking forward to seeing the “runners up” lists.

  18. Tricia (MissRumphius) says

    Bravo! Take a bow, Betsy. You’ve done magnificent work. Thanks for taking us on this ride.

  19. Tricia (MissRumphius) says

    Bravo! Take a bow, Betsy. You’ve done magnificent work. Thanks for taking us on this ride.

  20. Congrats on a great job!

  21. Thank you for doing the work to put together this wonderful list. The collective wisdom can produce great things but it was your work that made it special.

  22. All the best versions of books available on the web (Alice, Little Women, etc) in on convenient pack:

  23. Thank you, Betsy!

  24. I’m with DaNae. What am I going to do now? Thank goodness you are letting us down slowly. I was sure this would be #1, but I held my breath the entire time it took me to click my way to the official winner. Fuse#8, Some Poll! Let me add my thanks for all the work on this and the picture book poll! And keep us posted on when this comes out as a book! Oh boy, now I have a new excuse to go read Charlotte’s Web again!

  25. Kate Coombs says

    Happy sigh! Thanks, Betsy!

    Note: There are two things I remember about that animated CW movie: 1) how much my dad hated it, which became family legend; he would never go to another animated movie with us again because of how corny it was, and 2) Paul Lind as Templeton = perfect!

  26. Oh, DaNae, yeah, I’m a vegetarian. And yes, I am sure that this book influenced that decision, if not consciously.

  27. JMyersbook says

    Glorious list — and a couple of totally unfamiliar (to me) titles that I can now explore. Blissful.

    But now I’m scratching my head and feeling foolish because I can’t identify the eerie, lovely, tiptoe-y music at the beginning of the Charlotte’s Web trailer. Anybody out there able to enlighten me? Seems like I’ve heard it a zillion times but I can’t place it.

  28. Hurray! What a fun list, it has been great reading about old favorites and new (to me) titles, even some forgotten ones!

  29. I’ve read this book aloud to my 7 yr old daughter twice now–the first time was a few months before she turned 5, the second time was when she was about 6. She was home sick, recovering from a stomach bug, and needed something comforting. The perfect book. The only thing we’ve read more (3 times) is “Little House in the Big Woods.”

  30. I forgot to mention–she likes the movie (but thinks the book is better)–but the closing song, by Sarah McLachlan, is one of her favorites. And I don’t know why, but Julia Roberts as Charlotte just seems wrong to me…

  31. Connie Rockman says

    Satisfying indeed! I always teach Charlotte’s Web in Children’s Lit. classes as a ‘perfect book.’ And every year when we go to the Goshen Fair in upstate CT, I feel I’m stepping into the pages of the book.

    Ironically, Goshen, the little town that holds that great agricultural fair every year, is also the town where Madeleine L’Engle lived in the 1950s when she was writing Wrinkle in Time … Love those connections.

  32. Genevieve says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Betsy!! What a marvelous ride it’s been – how much pleasure and knowledge you’ve given all of us.

    Yes, Paul Lynde was just right as Templeton. And that “Oh, wow, look at him now, Zuckerman’s famous pig” song is awfully catchy (there’s your earworm for the day). But no, not a great film, though my childhood self enjoyed it.

    “It is not often someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

  33. Chris in NY says

    Thanks for a great ride!

  34. Betsy, thanks for this amazing list! I just finished reading Charlotte’s Web to my daughter on the eve of her third birthday. Now she pretends she’s Charlotte or Wilbur all day long. She’s even named her piggy banks her “Money Wilbur”!

    @JMyersbook I believe the music for the Charlotte’s Web trailer is Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens.

  35. Three cheers for Charlotte! I just finished a re-read of it with my seven year old, in anticipation. We loved it all over again.

    And I just want to add my thanks to you for all your hard work and this wonderful list. It’s been such a delight to read these posts!

  36. Jennifer Schultz says

    Genevieve, another song I remember from the animated Charlotte’s Web was Charlotte’s song. “Chin up, chin up, put a little laughter in your eyes” or something like that.

  37. I love “Charlotte’s Web”. Emotions start pouring out just thinking about it!
    1 in 3 million certainly is high odds. Do we know if someone actually got them all perfectly placed, or did someone win by the point system mentioned in the contest blog comments? My mother, my husband and I had our own little contest going with the TOP 10 lists we submitted,and my mother won( our contest )!!! She got all 10 titles and 4 in the correct spot. I don’t know if I’m proud or jealous.

  38. The title was no surprise but the points and vote totals sure were.
    While not a blow out by of Where the Wild Things Are proportions. CWeb’s point total did surprise me. With 751 points CWeb earned 158 points more than Wrinkle, which is a 27% jump from 2nd to 1st. Last year WTWTA earned 245 more points than Goodnight Moon, a 94% jump!

    Charlotte’s Web made it onto 101 top ten lists (over 25% of the lists submitted). WTWTA was on 63 lists last year, 40% of the lists.

    Not only did CWeb appear on lots of lists, it appeared high on those lists! 75% of those listing CWeb had it in their top 5 and 61% had it in their top 3! Not surprisingly these were the highest percentages of all 100 titles.

    Now that spring break is over I’m going to do some more blogging. Lots of final breakdowns (with accompanying charts) to come tonight or tomorrow. I’ll also put up some what if lists as well. (what if only top 3s or top 5s were submitted, what if scoring was done differently) These lists might make some people happy (Anne fans and Percy haters especially).

  39. David Ziegler says

    Truly terrific work, Betsy! Thank you and thanks for all the post-game posts to come. Looking forward to seeing the stats from Eric too! I’ve been reading and re-reading books on this list and am appreciating the new discoveries. Seeing 8 of my origianl ten in the top 45 was fun too!

  40. Kristen M. ( says

    This was “Some List”! (insert groans here) Thanks for all of your hard work! Now I need to start the work of reading all of the new-to-me books on the list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Els Kushner says

    Yes, Some List for sure! And a blogging feat of heroic proportions. Thank you!

  42. Erin Cannon says

    Thank you for this wonderful resource! I have checked it first every day as well. I received CW for Christmas in the second grade. I’ve loved it ever since.

    Our family has been introduced to so many new books because of this list (currently reading Phanton Toll Both and The Mysterious Benedict Society)that I know we will be referencing it for years.

    Count me as your newest regular blog reader.

    Thanks again!!

  43. Eric,
    Based on your earlier stats, I too was following the jumps in points for the top ten and was surprised at the size of the leap from #2 to #1. Certainly didn’t expect the same leap as WTWTA but didn’t expect 27%.

    From a different perspective, with the outpouring of love here, and the broad appeal for readers of all ages, the jump is not a surprise and maybe we should be suprised it was not higher. Hmmm.

    Interesting note about 75% listing in their top 5 and 61% top 3. Since you were already reviewing nearly every conceivable stat, I checked just one – Average Score per Vote (Points/Votes). The high % of top 5 votes gave CWeb the highest score per vote of the top ten.

    However, the highest rating on that stat is 8.18 for #46 Where the Red Fern Grows. 91% of its votes were top 4 and 73% were top 3. Of course it only had 11 votes. I’m not sure what any of this means in context but it’s fun to review. I’m looking forward to more of your analysis.

    And, Ms. Bird, thank you for bringing this list together. What a pleasure to read each morning. But the greatest joy from the list is in discovering the books that I have totally missed out on through the years but that I will now get to read in the coming months. Many thanks.

  44. Jennifer in GA says

    Eric, make sure you post a link to all your stats!

  45. Gene: Your comments on Where the Red Fern Grows are dead on. One way I found to weigh both votes and points/vote was to rescore the votes with a modified Borda system. Instead of 10 points for first, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc. I used 1 point for first, 0.5 for second, 0.333 for third, etc (basically rank ^-1) . This means that a 1st place vote is worth 2 second place votes, 5 fifth place votes, or 10 tenth place votes, etc.

    With this scoring Red Fern Grows jumps from 46th place to 30th place. The top 4 remain the same but three books are knocked out of the top 25, with Percy Jackson slipping all the way to 33! Eventually I’ll post this list and lots more.

  46. I loved this book so much, I named my daughter after the spider….and my aunt. And Charlotte Bronte.

    Thank you for doing this list. It’s been great fun!

  47. For those that had an issue with a corrupt file in the book pack, there is a way to repair the damage posted in the folder now.

  48. Jules, 7-Imp says

    Thank you thank you for this poll!

  49. Eric, I’ll need to study up on that. Truly interesting! Thank you.

  50. Many, many thanks for doing this!

  51. Thanks for compiling this very entertaining list, Betsy!

    While Charlotte’s Web was not in my top ten, I am very fond of it. I don’t think I ever appreciated it as much as when I read portions to an Animal Rights class in law school (what a cool professor to let me write about Animal Rights in Children’s Literature). Nary an eye was dry, and that included those who knew the book and those who did not…

  52. Genevieve says

    Julia Roberts was not right for Charlotte – was Meryl Streep busy? someone with a little more gravitas and humor combined?

    But the tag on the movie, “From the Most Beloved Story of Our Time,” would seem to be correct.

  53. I read this in Latin in college. Besides “Tela Charlottae,” the only other children’s book in Latin (at that time, anyway) was “Winne Ille Pooh.” You can’t argue with the classics!

  54. The list is over and nary a “Wimpy Kid”.

  55. full breakdown is up here:

    Alternate scoring top 100s to come tomorrow!

  56. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see this book come in first! I was sure it would be something else, and here I’m delightfully surprised. This is a wonderful book to read on your own or out loud to a child. I was struck by its sheer perfection when I read the book to my daughter a few years ago.

    Thanks so much, Betsy, for providing such a thoughtful, complete and fascinating compilation for us. The only thing I regret now is that I no longer have this list to look forward to in the mornings when I check in here! Ah, well!
    Thanks again.

  57. I once polled over 400 high school students about which books they remember as favorites, books they would read even if no one forced them to read them. These students generated a list of about 3500 titles. There was a tie for the favorite book. Each book received 52 votes (I did not weight the ballot as Betsy did). One book was To Kill A Mockingbird. The other book was Where the Red Fern Grows. The most popular author, by a long shot, was (and may still be–I did this about 9 or 10 years ago) Stephen King. Also, there wasn’t any other title close to Mockingbird and Red Fern. Nonfiction was just as popular with girls as it was with boys (although the topics varied in some predictable ways–girls loved horse books, boys loved NASCAR).

  58. JMyersbook says

    Thank you to HOLLY!!! You’re exactly right — the music is “The Aquarium” from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. I’m really grateful to you for identifying it. ๐Ÿ˜€

  59. @JMyersbook – Glad I could help! I know how things like that bug me if I can’t remember them! Fortunately, my daughter’s music teacher plays that music during class, so it was on the tip of my brain!

  60. mary ann rodman says

    I discovered last year, after twenty years of marriage, that my husband had NEVER READ CW!!! He then added injury to insult by saying, “But I saw the cartoon.” Arggh! Had I known this twenty years ago….
    Thank you, Besty. Reading this blog was like taking History of Children’s Literature again…only funnier and more interesting.

  61. So many people have mentioned first hearing this when a teacher read it to them. I was one, with it read by Miss Kita in 3rd grade. I’m remembering now that when we moved in the middle of 3rd grade, I didn’t like my new teacher because she didn’t read to us. Miss Kita read lots of books, and Charlotte’s Web was one of the best. It’s not one of my personal top ten favorites, but I cheerfully acknowledge it as one of the best children’s books ever written.

  62. As promised.

    Change the scoring methods and the top 100 fluctuates, but title #1 stays the same!

  63. Debbie Reese says

    Hey… Clicking around today, I ended up on a video interview of you about the Top 100. Can you tell me where it is? I had to run out and didn’t bookmark it.


  64. Soitenly. Try this: