O.K., I didn't really read it, cover to cover. But I did kind of devour it. And it truly was amazing. I could hardly believe it when the librarian insO.K., I didn't really read it, cover to cover. But I did kind of devour it. And it truly was amazing. I could hardly believe it when the librarian insisted that I could take this home for three weeks (I kept it for six), that it wasn't a book that had to stay in the library. This reference book is filled with hundreds (I don't think I'm exaggerating) of books that I read and loved as a child, or as a reading-aloud teacher and parent, and many more that I never encountered. Each book listed is accompanied by a brief review; about half include the book jacket or an illustration, in full color. Other scrumptious details include the date of publication and publisher, the author's and illustrators' nationalities and birthdates, and the original title, in the original language the book was published in.
Astonishing to me was the number of books included here published in other countries besides the U.S.A. and England. While some made their way to the libraries in which I grew up, many did not. I'm hungry to track these books down. (Food metaphors seem to keep coming up, but this book really is a feast!) Disappointing to me was how few books appeared to include characters of African descent and other children of color. This may be more a reflection of what has been published than of the editors' taste.
The book is divided into sections by age, although the ages chosen don't seem right for every book. However, there's an index by title and an index by author/illustrator. The span of years covered by this volume is just one more astonishment. The age 8+ section begins with Aesop's fables (c. 550 B.C.E.) and Arabian Nights (c. 1400) and ends soon after The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007). 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow UP is a treat to savor and return to, and a good reason not to ever grow up.