Best Children's Books Most People Haven't Heard of...

Lesser known or forgotten children's books that are potential classics. Books should be older than five years.

Books should have less than 10,000 ratings. Books with more than 10,000 ratings will be removed.

Picture Books by Decade:
2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s and before
1

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4.26 avg rating — 7,495 ratings
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2

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4.02 avg rating — 8,394 ratings
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3

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4.16 avg rating — 8,631 ratings
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4

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4.22 avg rating — 532 ratings
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5

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4.06 avg rating — 8,916 ratings
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6

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4.20 avg rating — 3,131 ratings
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7

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4.05 avg rating — 8,703 ratings
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8

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3.98 avg rating — 8,024 ratings
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9

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4.26 avg rating — 5,452 ratings
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10

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4.04 avg rating — 2,318 ratings
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11

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3.84 avg rating — 7,632 ratings
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12

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3.96 avg rating — 3,730 ratings
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13

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3.98 avg rating — 124 ratings
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14

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4.58 avg rating — 2,218 ratings
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15

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4.35 avg rating — 4,344 ratings
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16

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4.12 avg rating — 4,003 ratings
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17

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4.42 avg rating — 2,236 ratings
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18

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4.03 avg rating — 6,727 ratings
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19

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3.98 avg rating — 4,157 ratings
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20

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4.13 avg rating — 7,050 ratings
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21

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4.23 avg rating — 2,435 ratings
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22

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4.06 avg rating — 6,432 ratings
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23

by
4.02 avg rating — 6,614 ratings
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24

by
4.27 avg rating — 4,515 ratings
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25

by
3.88 avg rating — 3,089 ratings
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26

by
4.16 avg rating — 508 ratings
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27

by
4.09 avg rating — 8,152 ratings
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28

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4.16 avg rating — 2,307 ratings
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29

by
3.93 avg rating — 8,678 ratings
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30

by
3.94 avg rating — 5,572 ratings
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31

by
3.96 avg rating — 1,890 ratings
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32

by
4.55 avg rating — 141 ratings
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33

by
3.98 avg rating — 6,012 ratings
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34

by
4.46 avg rating — 334 ratings
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35

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4.39 avg rating — 3,839 ratings
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36

by
3.86 avg rating — 7,513 ratings
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37

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3.99 avg rating — 3,850 ratings
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38

by
4.12 avg rating — 8,611 ratings
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39

by
4.74 avg rating — 113 ratings
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40

by
4.36 avg rating — 7,762 ratings
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40

by
3.95 avg rating — 1,906 ratings
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42

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3.41 avg rating — 7,892 ratings
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43

by
4.24 avg rating — 5,829 ratings
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44

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4.20 avg rating — 5,818 ratings
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45

by
4.56 avg rating — 39 ratings
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46

by
4.24 avg rating — 78 ratings
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47

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4.08 avg rating — 2,330 ratings
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48

by
4.26 avg rating — 2,209 ratings
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49

by
4.05 avg rating — 811 ratings
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49

by
3.83 avg rating — 1,060 ratings
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51

by
4.39 avg rating — 2,558 ratings
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51

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3.92 avg rating — 746 ratings
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53

by
4.05 avg rating — 693 ratings
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54

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4.34 avg rating — 1,319 ratings
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55

by
3.79 avg rating — 7,244 ratings
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56

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4.17 avg rating — 2,507 ratings
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57

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4.05 avg rating — 6,675 ratings
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58

by
4.18 avg rating — 962 ratings
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59

by
4.04 avg rating — 9,640 ratings
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60

by
3.97 avg rating — 1,390 ratings
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61

by
4.02 avg rating — 1,762 ratings
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62

by
4.14 avg rating — 6,579 ratings
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63

by
3.95 avg rating — 3,467 ratings
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64

by
4.15 avg rating — 8,236 ratings
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65

by
4.09 avg rating — 3,598 ratings
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66

by
4.21 avg rating — 76 ratings
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66

by
4.13 avg rating — 4,201 ratings
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68

by
4.26 avg rating — 258 ratings
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69

by
3.93 avg rating — 4,570 ratings
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69

by
4.07 avg rating — 2,696 ratings
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71

by
3.63 avg rating — 2,070 ratings
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72

by
3.74 avg rating — 7,744 ratings
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73

by
4.11 avg rating — 725 ratings
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74

by
4.36 avg rating — 1,977 ratings
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75

by
3.84 avg rating — 6,032 ratings
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76

by
3.93 avg rating — 4,141 ratings
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77

by
3.95 avg rating — 2,143 ratings
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78

by
4.11 avg rating — 628 ratings
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79

by
4.08 avg rating — 2,413 ratings
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80

by
4.20 avg rating — 5,594 ratings
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81

by
4.11 avg rating — 66 ratings
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82

by
3.79 avg rating — 2,471 ratings
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83

by
4.10 avg rating — 291 ratings
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84

by
3.97 avg rating — 6,862 ratings
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84

by
4.13 avg rating — 2,952 ratings
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86

by
4.44 avg rating — 354 ratings
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87

by
it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 29 ratings
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88

by
3.88 avg rating — 1,320 ratings
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89

by
4.25 avg rating — 481 ratings
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90

by
3.92 avg rating — 711 ratings
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91

by
4.06 avg rating — 408 ratings
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92

by
3.94 avg rating — 9,191 ratings
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93

by
3.94 avg rating — 645 ratings
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94

by
3.96 avg rating — 517 ratings
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95

by
4.18 avg rating — 7,527 ratings
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96

by
3.90 avg rating — 3,529 ratings
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97

by
4.17 avg rating — 2,814 ratings
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98

by
4.31 avg rating — 2,935 ratings
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99

by
4.40 avg rating — 3,237 ratings
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100

by
4.17 avg rating — 272 ratings
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flag this list (?)
1,440 books · 1,054 voters · list created May 12th, 2010 by Tom Leonard (votes) .
269 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Tom 350 books
0 friends
Barbara 2064 books
227 friends
Antoine 949 books
180 friends
Lana 1034 books
240 friends
Nancy 430 books
25 friends
Cheryl 10239 books
280 friends
Sam 569 books
91 friends
Ruby 4910 books
68 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom Leonard Great lesser known kid's books that should be classics.


message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom Leonard vote for the lesser known greats.


message 3: by Parker (new)

Parker J Sorry but in my opinion many of the books in the first 20 or so are not lesser known books. Also several others on the top 100 are not lesser known books. So many of them are on lists of the most popular and best children s books lists. But again that is my opinion


message 4: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah Heidi? Betsy-Tacy? Wind in the Willows? I have to agree with Parker ... people either are insistent upon throwing their favorites on the list regardless or have been living under a rock.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I am hesitant to remove books (unless something that is obviously not a children's book shows up), unless Tom wants me to do so.


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky B I removed the duplicates of Dragon Howl and The Silly Potty Book. This is the second children's list I've seen someone just repeatedly adding those titles (often only 2 books apart in the list and only with 1 vote, so they must be doing this deliberately). I'll also report this on the GoodReads Librarians area.

Also, agree with Sarrah and Parker about many of the top 100. I've seen other lists that remove books that have over a certain # of ratings. Perhaps that could be done here.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda I agree that the point of this list is supposed to be "Books People haven't heard of" so I can't understand titles like Heidi, 101 Dalmations, Pippi Longstocking, and Beatrix Potter's stories appearing here.


message 8: by Diana (new)

Diana Working in a classroom, I can say that my students have not heard of Heidi or Pipi Longstocking. I do not think that our school even has copies of these books. They are now considered "old" and are purged from the system.


message 9: by Ruth (new)

Ruth There are so many that I have not read. I must rectify that.


message 10: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Not a bad list. But I would add a rule of no books over 10,000 ratings. I think that a sufficiently high number that most everything would fit under it. And I am comfortable adding this to this list and removing books.


message 11: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell And it looks like the book must be 5 years old rule is being broken as well. Starting with 4 books by Linda Hale - these look pretty easy to fine - anything with less than 50 ratings is worth checking.


message 12: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Removing The Wind In The Willows, Guess How Much I Love You, Heidi, The Neverending Story, The Last Unicorn for being too well-known.

Removing The Insect Hotel, Thoughts to Die For, Lola Goes To Work, Activity Story Book Sunshine, Sunshine I'll Make You Smile, Sunshine and her Big Blarney Smile, Andy Roo for being too new.

Let me now what else I missed and I'll delete more.


message 13: by Tom (last edited Oct 25, 2013 02:58PM) (new)

Tom Leonard Here are more new books to remove...
one cat two cat new cat
Everwud the tree
mystic princesses and the whirlpool
what do you see when you look at me
the vikings apprentice
adventure pom
eliot and the pixie plot
chemistry the atom and elements
cellular biology
neverdark
fright flight
dingbat
son of hook
toby's tails
Pink is just a color
arlene the rebel queen
Rikk a mist
a place called perfect
the ghost shirt
foster fox
rona is moving
rosa SAT
Graham's magical changes
molly wonders how
be well be
wishingtree
pat a cake
olivia brave olive

there are more new books to delete, but this is as far down the list as I got.


message 14: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell deleted Everwud the tree
mystic princesses and the whirlpool
what do you see when you look at me
the vikings apprentice
adventure pom
for being too new


message 15: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell removed caps for sale, make way for ducklings, the borrowers, the boxcar children - for having too many ratings


message 16: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Diana wrote: "Working in a classroom, I can say that my students have not heard of Heidi or Pipi Longstocking. I do not think that our school even has copies of these books. They are now considered "old" and ..."

It's very, very sad those books are being purged from schools and libraries.

I can believe your students have not heard of these old classics. But adults have - and the list title is books most "people" haven't heard of.


message 17: by T.J. (new)

T.J. Leary Book no. 677 Mark and the Magic Apple Tree should be removed!


message 18: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Anderson Hello, I added my book, The Dalmatian Plantation, to the list and now it's not there. Any reason you can tell me why it was removed? I have been working on getting my reviews and ratings up and had friends, family and followers from facebook, etc. visiting and voting, etc. I had gotten to number 80 or 90. Very disappointing to not see it now.


message 19: by Tom (new)

Tom Leonard This list isn't for new books. Books published in 2010 or later will be removed. Author's please don't post your new book to promote it. It will just be removed.


message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne removed "Strega Nona" which had 50,000+ ratings.


message 21: by Shadowjac (last edited Nov 12, 2015 11:09AM) (new)

Shadowjac Removed My Fathers Dragon, which had 20,000+ ratings, and two Magic Treehouse books for 100,000 plus ratings.


message 22: by Shadowjac (new)

Shadowjac May I remove Ping?


message 23: by Sara (new)

Sara This list is useless as there are so many new books with one vote, by the writer. It needs to be thoroughly edited.


message 24: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell I haven't checked into this list in quite some time and I'm pretty surprised at how good a shape it is in. The first 3 pages are not bad - sure there are a bunch of books over 10,000 but the list description doesn't preclude them. And I didn't spot anything new. And I found a lot of odd obscure children's books - which is what this list is for.


message 25: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Page five on the other hand. This could use quite a bit of librarian love. Almost every book on that page was from 2015. I deleted a bunch so hopefully it gets better as it goes on.


message 26: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Newton I'm interested that no series books are included. Is this a policy or is no one else still interested in the Oz books, the Freddy The Pig books, the Thornton Burgess animal stories and many more. They were all joys of my childhood and apparently little read today.


The Book Crusader Beverly Cleary is one of the most famous children's authors of all time. No book that she's written belongs on a list of unknown books.

Several others, including—but not limited to, The Great Brain, Encyclopedia Brown, Pippi Longstocking, Winnie the Pooh, and Brer Rabbit—also don't belong,


message 28: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Heidi wrote: "Green Eggs and Ham has 456, 849 ratings.

Where the Sidewalk ends has 1,010,425 ratings.

These two should be removed.

I believe they are numbers 525 and 526."


removed


message 29: by Ejayen (new)

Ejayen I thought books had to be fifty years old to be classics


message 30: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I'd be more interested in this list if it were restricted to Under 4K ratings and Published Prior to 1969 (big changes in US society around then w/ the war in Vietnam, Summer of Love, etc.).

Does anyone know of a list with a narrower focus?

If not, does anyone want to help me create one?


message 31: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Currently, the top 8 books all have over 10,000 ratings!


message 33: by Sally (last edited May 19, 2019 06:37AM) (new)

Sally Removed for > 40,000 ratings.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Blueberries for Sal


message 34: by A Hoppy Reader (new)

A Hoppy Reader I removed books with over 10,000 ratings and a few self-promoted books (books added by their author).


message 35: by Liquidlasagna (new)

Liquidlasagna i find it very surreal that we have a Dr. Seuss book on the list, but the Phantom Tollbooth isn't up on this list anymore


message 36: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Liquidlasagna wrote: "i find it very surreal that we have a Dr. Seuss book on the list, but the Phantom Tollbooth isn't up on this list anymore"

The Phantom Tollbooth has 240,000 ratings.

Dr. Seuss has 15 pages of books. Sure Green Eggs and Ham has 615,000 ratings and is pretty darn well known. But Bartholomew and the Oobleck is worth remembering and has only 6400 ratings. And Gertrude McFuzz has only 71 ratings and I have no idea if it is worth remembering.


message 37: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Tom wrote: "This list isn't for new books. Books published in 2010 or later will be removed. Author's please don't post your new book to promote it. It will just be removed."

Should the list be changed to say 2010 or later will be removed rather than must be five years old or older?


message 38: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Cheryl wrote: "I'd be more interested in this list if it were restricted to Under 4K ratings and Published Prior to 1969 (big changes in US society around then w/ the war in Vietnam, Summer of Love, etc.).

Does ..."


There are a set of lists of picture books by decade. There might be other lists that would be helpful.

2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s and before


message 39: by A Hoppy Reader (last edited Oct 18, 2020 12:39PM) (new)

A Hoppy Reader The duck foot Seuss book did have over 10,000 rations so it has been removed. Working on cleaning this list up now. Will also be removing books added by their author since this list is not for self promotion, there are lists specifically for that purpose. Please do not clutter up lists by adding books you wrote to them. Librarian tip: if a book has 15 or fewer ratings and was voted on only once, check to see if it was added by the author.


message 40: by A Hoppy Reader (new)

A Hoppy Reader Mitchell wrote: "Liquidlasagna wrote: "i find it very surreal that we have a Dr. Seuss book on the list, but the Phantom Tollbooth isn't up on this list anymore"

The Phantom Tollbooth has 240,000 rating..."


Mitchell wrote: "Liquidlasagna wrote: "i find it very surreal that we have a Dr. Seuss book on the list, but the Phantom Tollbooth isn't up on this list anymore"

The Phantom Tollbooth has 240,000 rating..."

That's true, just because an author is well known doesn't mean all their books are. Even famous authors have obscure books.


message 41: by Liquidlasagna (new)

Liquidlasagna I just think that the Phantom Tollbooth has been getting a lot more popularity in the past 25 years, considering it's very precarious beginnings.

The New Yorker and Maurice Sendak saved the book from obscurity, but it's one of those books that children of the 60s knew much much better than children of the 70s...

I just think it's one of those books that was almost doomed for obscurity in much of the 70s and 80s, and very few knew about the animated film of it at one point in history. But now it's got a bit of a cult following.

You'd think Mulberry Street would be much more obscure than Oobleck though!


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