The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I read these books back when I was 13 from my school library and I loved every minute of it. Tales spun from magic & love and scenes filled with adventure & courage. The story revolves around 4 siblings, a legendary lion named Aslan and the magic land of Narnia. Although the recommended reading age for these books is from 9-12, I think this collection is suitable for all ages and make an excellent bedtime reading for sweet dreams and a healthy imagination.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The start of a heartwarming family tale trilogy which appeals to the goodness of a child's soul. A family of women are left to brave everything thrown at them when their father goes off to fight a war & their experiences, blunders & search for true love among friends is enough to bring tears to one's eyes. Watch Jo as she engages in the tomboyish antics of a little girl growing into a woman with bravery & courage in her mind. Sigh as sweet Beth takes her last breath with Jo by her side. Ache with saddness as the young Lawerence falls in love & tries to woo Jo to no success. This is one of the definate reads for young female readers out there with a romantic heart.
Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott
Alcott's "Little Women" continues their life story in Good Wives, a tale that follows the family into adulthood. Jo, Beth & the assortment of well-loved characters first seen in 'Little Women' are brought back to life older & wiser in life's trials & tribulations. Follow each of the girls as they learn so much more about being adults, becoming mothers to their sons and wives to their husbands and sisters to each other.
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Jo and her dear professor have set up a special school for boys in their home. These boys are the focus of this book: their journey of honour, justice & brotherhood despite their different backgrounds. Who cares if these boys cry when they are hurt & forced to beat their own teacher for being naughty?! Who cares if the spoilt roughneck finally gives into the love & care at the home Jo and the professor provide for him? In the end, no matter how rough the edges are, love and patience always find a way to smooth everything out and make them shiny & new.
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Jody lives on a ranch as the only son to a disciplined & stern father, who loves him enough to buy him his own pony. Jody falls instantly in love with the beast and does his utter best to care for it & train it, so that he might someday ride it proudly to show off to the other boys at school. Alas, despite all his best efforts, the pony dies a heart-wrenching death. Heartbroken, Jody goes on a rampage of anger & bitterness....only to be once again softened by a colt. C'est la vie! This story really puts into perspective what life is like: bitter with the sweet. It does not matter how old you are or how innocent. Life will teach everyone hard lessons.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Throughout my childhood, Roald Dahl has been one of my constant companions. His wit & utter disregard for what some adults might find too revolting among the stiff-necked adults pours out through the pages of the BFG aka The Big Friendly Giant. This thin-as-a-beanpole character is one of his kind, since the rest of his kind are content with roaming the earth come sundown and guzzling children from their bedrooms. A little orphan girl accidentally catches a glimpse of the BFG during one of his job trips, forcing him to kidnap her & bring her home to prevent her from alerting humankind. Thus a relationship is born & a thick plot to rid the world of disgusting giants was underway.
Boy : Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl penned down what memories he had of his childhood and reading them made me appreciate my childhood world all the more. His was a world of boarding schools, strict teachers and horrid schoolmasters, who whacked students to almost fainting with a cane for the smallest petty reason. His adventures as a boy should not be missed and if ever a child starts misbehaving, read out his experiences with the schoolmasters. Those tales are bound to make any kids' butt tingle with fear.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is the first book of a 2 part adventure story. Charlie Bucket is a boy from a poor family, who loves chocolate so much but only can get cabbage soup, gets a golden ticket to visit the Willy Wonka factory & see for himself the secrets of the chocolate genius. He wins one of the 5 exclusive tickets for a tour in the chocolate factory when he accidentally finds some money & buys himself 2 chocolate bars to ease his rumbling tummy. Along with the other 4 obnoxious winners, Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Augustus Gloop, Charlie embarks on the most fantastic journey in the young lad's life.
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Charlie and Willy Wonka are back, this time in a fantastic journey to outer space in their giant glass elevator. Follow them as they take the entire bed of grandparents and Charlie's parents into the enormous glass elevator and up into outer space. Cheer as they combat aliens to save the planets, save a space shuttle & get back to the factory more or less in one piece.
The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
Unleashed again is the ebullient tale of an exceptional crocodile that lived in the biggest brownest muddiest river in Africa and had secret plans and clever tricks to feast on a fat, juicy little child. The Enormous Crocodile has enough disguises and tricks to catch plenty of tasty children, but little does he know that the other jungle animals are on to his schemes.
Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
Mr. Hoppu's love for the flowers he grows on his balcony is exceeded only by his love for Mrs. Silver, the lady who lives in the apartment right below his. Mr. Hoppy plots to impress his secret love, who only has eyes for her pet tortoise Alfie; he gives her a special backward chant which he claims will help her pet grow bigger. His plan involves stealing her animal and replacing it with larger tortoises until Mrs. Silver is convinced of his cleverness and agrees to marry him. But it's going to take one hundred and forty tortoises, an ancient spell, and a little bit of magic.
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Mr Fox & his family (not to mention many of the other forest animals) live in terror of the 3 horrid chicken farmers: Fat Boggis who eats chicken non-stop, Bean who is only skin and bones and Bunce, who is short and fat. Mr Fox gets shot and loses his lovely tail in an attempt to steal a chicken to feed his starving family. He hears of a plot by the 3 farmers to plow them out of their home & kill them all, but Mr Fox comes up with a fantastic plan to dig his family all out of harms' way and into a great feast, courtesy of the farmers.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
This book teaches so many lessons, like that of patience and of the willingness to work hard. Black Beauty's life is filled with good and bad times, kind and cruel masters. Black Beauty loves and tries to do his best for all his masters, despite how they treat him reveal his humble spirit and his need to be loved. He goes through whatever hardship comes his way and his trust in his grooms and masters is heartwarming. Although he is a horse, there is a human spirit living within him.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
This novel was a spectacular adventure in the icy wilderness, something I cannot imagine very well since I come from a tropical island and have never seen snow yet. The tale centers around a pet dog who was sold to work during the gold rush madness in the icy throes of Alaska. His journey takes him through conflicting human relationships, hunger, fights of power within the dog pack & finally freedom into the wild among the wolves, who accept him among their brethern. This is a true classic for all times.