Favorite Classics for Book Lovers

We review primarily new books here on Redeemed Reader, not because we don’t love the old books, but because resources for the new books are sometimes hard to find. We’re reading ahead for you, as it were. But we know that many of you–like us–love the old books, too! Here are some of our very favorites, in some lovely giftable editions. Enjoy!

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Favorite Classics for Book Lovers

Young Adult/Adult

  1. Murder on the Orient Express and others by Agatha Christie (William Morrow publishing has nice paperbacks) See Betsy’s post and review of this classic.
  2.  The Puffin in Bloom Collection Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Little Women, and A Little Princess in lovely editions
  3. Anne of Green GablesTundra boxed paperback set
  4. Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Castle Book 1) —See Hayley’s reflection on Diana Wynne Jones
  5. They Loved to Laugh —Lovely coming of age story about a shy young orphan sent to live with a boisterous family of boys
  6. Miss Buncle’s Book —When Miss Buncle decides to write a book, she writes about what she knows, but the inhabitants of her small English town are none too pleased by the best-selling results.
  7. The Four Graces —By the same author as Miss Buncle, Little Women is creatively re-imagined in homefront England during the 1940s.
  8. The Complete James Herriot Box Set 1-8 —For younger readers, don’t miss the illustrated collection below!
  9. My Family and Other Animals —One consideration: this memoir is about an English family living abroad and includes a good dose of nature and humor as well as rather bohemian standards with some sensuality and language.  However, if you or your teen already enjoy James Herriot, this could be a new favorite.  
  10. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast —Excellent modern fantasy; see our review
  11. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief Book 1) —One of our very favorite recent series, see this review for more.
  12. The Great Tales of Middle-earth: Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin —For the Tolkien collectors  
  13. The Tolkien Treasury (shorter stories by Tolkien with illustrations by Pauline Baynes)
  14. Tales from the Perilous Realm, illustrated by Alan Lee. This is a new collection that includes some from both of the previous two listings in one, nice paperback volume.
  15. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (illustrated by Alan Lee) 

Middle Grade (these also make great read alouds)

  1. Betsy-Tacy Treasury —first four books in one, chronicling the adventures of a little girl and her friends growing up Minnesota.
  2. Caddie Woodlawn —Trina Schart Hyman cover, if you liked Little House, you really must read Caddie. See Betsy’s review for more.
  3. The Green Fairy Book (Dover Children’s Classics) and The Blue Fairy Book —For all the fairytale lovers, don’t miss Andrew Lang’s classic retellings.
  4. Freddy the Detective (The Freddy Books) —Meet Freddy, a pig detective, and all the Bean animals in this wonderful chapter book mystery.
  5. The Railway Children (Wordsworth Collector’s Editions) — E. Nesbit’s classic story about three children, their new home, and the railway that shapes their lives.
  6. Swallows and Amazons —Another classic British adventure, but this time its sailing across a lake and camping on an island
  7. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien —This illustrated edition by Jemma Caitlin could be a lovely addition to somebody’s shelf.
  8. Wolf Story —A father tells his son a bedtime story (naturally, one with a wolf!) Consideration: on one occasion the son uses the word “d___” but is quickly corrected by his father.
  9. Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers —Another wonderful classic, coming of age mixed with a western, see our review for more
  10. Doctor Doolittle —A whimsically illustrated set
  11. The Secret Garden —With gorgeous illustrations by Tasha Tudor
  12. The Book of Three, 50th Anniversary Edition —Journey into Lloyd Alexander’s fantasy world with Taran, assistant pig keeper and aspiring hero. See our review of the series for more about Prydain.
  13. Paddington Classic Adventures Box Set —Grab a pot of marmalade, and read all about the adventures and misadventures of Paddington bear.
  14. Olga da Polga Gift Edition —Not as well known, but by the same author as Paddington, here is a sweet and newly re-illustrated chapter book about a spunky guinea pig.
  15. The Door in the Wall —A medieval adventure, gorgeously illustrated
  16. Tales of Magic Boxed Set —Edward Eager’s magic stories are some of our favorites.
  17. Emil and the Great Escape —Astrid Lindgren, in addition to her famous Pippi, wrote a series of books about this high-spirited little boy.
  18. Marguerite Henry Stable of Classics (Boxed Set) —For the horse lover
  19. Album of Horses —Also by Marguerite Henry and beautifully illustrated
  20. Big Red —For the dog lover (Jim Kjelgaard wrote many excellent dog stories.)
  21. Rabbit Hill (Puffin Modern Classics) —Big folks coming! So begins the rumor that sends all the animals into a flurry of excitement.
  22. Seacrow Island —A family adventure, also by Astrid Lindgren
  23. Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes, and Dancing Shoes —For the aspiring ballerina or theater lover, here are sweet stories set in England
  24. The Princess and the Goblin and The Light Princess —two fantasy classics by George MacDonald
  25. Rascal —One boy and his raccoon
  26. The Borrowers —Why do things go missing? Could it be that you have borrowers?
  27. Dick King-smith Sophie Stories 6 Books Collection For the animal loving little-girl on your list, here are an excellent set of chapter books. Don’t mind the modern covers, or find an older edition, but definitely don’t miss Sophie.
  28. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH —Mrs. Frisby has a problem and it looks like the mysterious rats are her only hope; an excellent adventure well-suited for animal lovers.
  29. Brian Jacques Redwall Series 1-6 —Epic animal fantasy with short chapters, constant cliff-hangers, delectable feasts, friendship, loyalty, and dastardly villains
  30. The Phantom Tollbooth —One boy’s boredom turns into a magical fantasy adventure full of tongue-in-cheek wordplay
  31. E. B. White Box Set: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan —Need we say more?
  32. Homer Price —Small town American adventures, with great illustrations!
  33. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths —For the mythology lovers on your list
  34. The Golden Key by George MacDonald, with linocut illustrations by Ruth Sanderson

Picture Books 

  1. Shirley Hughes —Read more about why we love Shirley Hughes
    1. Alfie Gets in First —a sweet adventure
    2. Dogger —a beloved toy dog goes missing
    3. The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook
  2. The World of Peter Rabbit (The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-23, Presentation Box) —True to original size!
  3. Little Red Riding Hood, retold by Beatrix Potter and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
  4. The Story of Ferdinand —One gentle bull is shipped off to the bull-fighting ring
  5. Harry the Dirty Dog —One mischievous little dog refuses to take a bath with unexpected results!
  6. Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm —Told with humor and filled with illustrations, all the animals, inside and outside, are cataloged and lovingly described.
  7. Robert McClosky: Three Favorites for your Library Shelf
    1. Make Way for Ducklings
    2. One Morning in Maine
    3. Blueberries for Sal
  8. Little Red Riding Hood —Gorgeously illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
  9. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go —For the car and truck lovers
  10. Construction Zone —Again, perfect for car and truck lovers
  11. Tasha Tudor
    1. Corgiville Fair
    2. A Time to Keep: Time to Keep
  12. I Love Guinea Pigs —Charmingly illustrated by Anita Jeram, perfect for the animal lover or guinea pig owner
  13. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales —Again, perfect for the animal lovers on your list!
  14. A Baby’s Gift —Margaret Wise Brown’s Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon
  15. Peek-a-Boo —Beautifully illustrated board book by the Ahlbergs; one little baby goes through his day
  16. Each Peach Pear Plum —Also by the Ahlbergs, but this is I-Spy type of story is better for an older reader
  • Don’t miss our Audiobooks list which includes many of these titles narrated by our favorite narrators!
  • You can see all our recommended gifts for book lovers (including books, of course, but also stocking stuffers, games, and more) in one place: Gifts for Book Lovers

Any other ideas? What classics have we missed? What are YOUR favorites?

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Born in a library and raised by books, or rather, raised by a book-loving family, Hayley loves talking and writing about books. She lives in the middle of Wisconsin and works with children as well as with coffee.

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