The BBC, the U.K. broadcasting service, has revealed its list of the 100 greatest children’s books of all time. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are claimed the top spot.
Sendak’s book, published in 1963, has long held a special place in children’s imaginations. It won the Caldecott Medal and was adapted into a 2009 film written by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers and directed by Jonze.
In an essay for BBC Culture, journalist Imogen Carter wrote that the book “captures the very essence of the human condition: that, when all is said and done, when we need to rest from our adventuring, we all long to go home to where someone loves us best of all.”
Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland took the No. 2 spot, followed by Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Rounding out the top 10 were Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights; C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; A.A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard’s Winnie-the-Pooh; E.B. White and Garth Williams’ Charlotte’s Web; and Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake’s Matilda.
BBC Culture polled 177 children’s literature experts for the list. “The end result is a list that reflects the vast scope of children’s literature through the eras, standing as a tribute to its boundless imagination, thrilling storytelling, and profound themes,” the network said.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.