Julia Glass gives her picks for favorite underrated books

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Novelist Julia Glass thinks children’s books deserve more love. Specifically, the ten she told us about below. Check out which children’s tales Glass chose, ranging from a Roald Dahl book to lesser-known fables:

Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man by Robert McCloskey: “Who doesn’t love Robert McCloskey’s traffic-stopping ducks or bear-baiting Sal? But Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man is McCloskey after happy hour down at The Dory: the tale of a Down East Jonah that involves Pollock-style painting, a whole lot of Band-Aids, and a giggling gull.”

Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson: “While that adorably pacifist bull, Ferdinand, will always charm the masses, I’m partial to a lesser-known collaboration by Leaf and Lawson: Wee Gillis, about a Scottish lad who must choose whether to live with deer-stalking kin in the Highlands or cow-herding rellies in the Lowlands (a perfect fable for the agonizers among us).”

Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel: (Pictured) “Frog and Toad can laugh at the Caldecotts; they’ve been on Broadway. Equally enchanting among Arnold Lobel’s characters, however, is Uncle Elephant, a perfect novel in miniature.”

The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown: “Bid goodnight to the moon all you like (and spare me the beleaguered runaway bunny), but don’t overlook The Important Book, Margaret Wise Brown’s mordant existential primer with Leonard Weisgard’s suitably eccentric pictures.”

The Minpins by Roald Dahl: “Another B-side book we nearly missed: Roald Dahl’s The Minpins, illustrated by Patrick Benson. It’s a don’t-go-into-the-woods tale, but more heroic than cautionary—a bit unexpectedly, considering Dahl’s typically twisted take on human nature.”

The Selkie Girl by Susan Cooper and Warwick Hutton: “This Irish folk tale demands to be read with a brogue — and definitely is a cautionary tale. (Don’t mess with mermaids.)”

Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton: “For the precocious science nerd, page past the can-do life lesson of Burton’s Mike Mulligan to Life Story, a proscenium-stage drama that travels through time from the birth of the sun to human existence the way it looked about fifty years ago.”

Yucka Drucka Droni by Eugenia and Vladimir Radunsky: “For a hit of extravagantly colorful absurdity, seek out Yucka Drucka Droni.

Roar and More by Karla Kuskin: “Dearest to me, because they date back to my own earliest years as a reader, are the late Karla Kuskin’s very first book (of close to a hundred), the typographically playful Roar and More, and the sibling volumes You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You.

The Man Who Sang The Sillies by John Ciardi: “On the Olympus of children’s verse, Seuss will always wield the thunderbolts… but if lesser gods dally with mere mortals, imagine the love child of Shel Silverstein and Dame Judi Dench. That would be John Ciardi.”

in_this_issueFor more criminally underrated entertainment, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.

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