C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy Books
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the first book published in the Chronicles of Narnia series (although number two of the series in chronological order), is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. This classic fantasy book tells a captivating story of four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who enter the magic land of Narnia through a wardrobe in an old English house. It is Lucy who first looks inside a wardrobe and discovers the magical world of Narnia. She befriends a faun named Mr Tumnus who tells her that the land of Narnia is being ruled by the evil White Witch Jadis. The witch has cursed Narnia so it is always winter but never Christmas. Then Lucy's siblings also venture into the land of Narnia. They meet talking animals like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and help the Great Lion Aslan free Narnia from the witch's reign. Unfortunately, Edmund is seduced by the White Witch's false promises and betrays his siblings. The Great Lion sacrifices himself in order to save Edmund. The wicked witch is ultimately defeated and the four children become kings and queens of Narnia. This classic tale is filled with fantastic characters, exciting adventures and battles between good and evil. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a great chapter book for children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Fantasy Books, Humorous Stories
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl is a favorite children's fantasy book. In this classic chapter book, Charlie Bucket is one of five children who win golden tickets to visit Willy Wonka's magic chocolate factory. For Charlie, life will be changed forever. Author Roald Dahl produces a few very memorable characters, such as Willy Wonka, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Grandpa Joe. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a humorous story that has delighted children for decades.
Madeleine L'Engle (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Fantasy Books, Science Fiction
"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle is a truly great classic children's book and one of the best chapter books of the 20th century. Its literature awards include Newbery medal. The main characters of the story are three children: Meg Murray, her brilliant younger brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin. They travel through time and space to rescue Meg's father, who is held prisoner by dark forces on the planet of Camazotz. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a good read aloud book. Children in 4th grade through 7th grade can learn about the battle between good and evil and the power of love from this science fiction and fantasy book.
Richard Adams (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Adventure Books, Animal Fantasy; Book Theme: Animals
"Watership Down" by Richard Adams, one of the best novels of the 20th century, is a riveting animal fantasy book beloved by young adults and adults alike. A group of rabbits set out on a long journey to find a new home after a small rabbit named Fiver senses great danger to their warren. They go through many adventures before reaching Watership Down. Soon after the rabbits settle down at their home on the down, they go on another dangerous adventure to fetch female rabbits from Efrafa, a warren tightly controlled by a ruthless Chief Rabbit, General Woundwort.
Part of the attraction of this classic adventure story stems from its diverse and interesting characters. The talking animals have distinct personalities. Hazel the leader is fair, quick-minded and always looks out for the interests of the group. Bigwig the fighter is strong, brave and willing to stick out for the weak. Fiver the prophet is small and nervous. Woundwort the villain is intelligent, fearless and power-crazy. "Watership Down" also includes several chapters of short tales about El-ahrairah, the "Prince with a Thousand Enemies", who is cunning and clever.
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy; Book Theme: Animals
"Poppy" by Avi, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, is a fast-paced and suspense-filled animal fantasy book. Main characters are two talking animals: a deer mouse named Poppy and a great horned owl called Mr. Ocax. The owl claims to be the ruler of the Dimwood Forest and promises to protect the mice headed by Poppy's father Lungwort in exchange for their obedience. After the owl kills Poppy's best friend Ragweed and refuses the request by the Poppy's father to move half of the mice family to a new place, Poppy sets out to find the new home. Along the way, Poppy makes friends with Ereth, a porcupine. In the end, Poppy engages in a fierce battle with the owl. Children in 4th grade through 7th grade will enjoy this award-winning chapter book.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy; Book Theme: Animals
"Catwings" by Ursula K. Le Guin is a story about the adventures of four cats with wings as they leave the city and find a new home in the country. This easy-to-read animal fantasy book appeals to children in second and third grade. "Catwings" is a good chapter book to read aloud.
George Selden, Garth Williams (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden and Garth Williams is a charming animal fantasy book about Chester Cricket's adventure in New York City. At the start of this classic children' book, the country cricket arrives at the Times Square subway station by accident. Mario Bellini, whose parents own a newsstand, finds him and lets him stay in the newsstand. The cricket goes on to make friends with the boy, Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. With interesting characters and an imaginative story, The Cricket in Times Square is a great chapter book for children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
Robert C. O'Brien, Zena Bernstein (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Animal Fantasy, Science Fiction
"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Robert C. O'Brien, winner of the Newbery Medal, is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. Author Robert O'Brien effectively combines elements of animal fantasy and science fiction in this chapter book and tells a captivating story with believable characters and an interesting plot. A widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, needs to move her family to their summer home quickly before a farm's plow comes, but one of her children gets seriously ill and cannot go out in the cold. She seeks help from the rats of Nimh, highly intelligent rats who live under the rosebush. These animals have been captured by the scientists at the Nimh lab and given injections that have vastly boosted their intelligence. They can read and write. The rat leader Nicodemus tells Mrs. Frisby the story of their escape from Nimh. It turns out one of the escapees is Jonathan Frisby, Mrs. Frisby's late husband. The rats now have a plan to grow their own crop and form a self-sufficient colony in Thorn Valley. "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" appeals to children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
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