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Newbery Books

Traveling through the forest I came upon a sign that read "CHILDREN'S LITERATURE" in huge red letters. It was either a warning or an invitation, and from the doorway over which it hung I gathered it was the former. There were no walls to speak of, but the other side of the doorframe was black like lost memories.

Having nowhere else to turn I walked through. On the other side was a hallway, and along it on both sides were rows of doors that were as colorful as the doors in an Irish coastal village. Each door had a sign over it. The hall stretched on seemingly forever, the far end not even a hope or a tiny speck of light or even a black spot. There was no end to the hallway.

I tried to leave, but there was no going back. So I began the long walk down the corridor, reading each sign over each door as I came to it. One door was painted like a rainbow and its sign read "The Works of Roald Dahl" in a cheery if weird script. The next was soft pink and labeled "The Works of Frances Hodgson Burnett." Further down was a door of red, black and green, with a sign that declared "The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson Are Housed Within."

There were many doors. Too many doors, in fact. Without even entering the rooms, there were too many doors. One door was painted a sickly green and labeled "The Works of R. L. Stine." Another was very small and crooked; its sign said simply "Twilight" in letters the color of nothing I ever want to see.

After a long time I came to a door that was a simple brown with a sign over it that said "The Newbery Medal Winners." I'd heard a lot about the Newbery books, especially in grade school, and had always been curious about them. Also, I was getting tired of reading signs, so I turned the knob and walked into a room of moderate size with one large bookshelf in the center.

It was filled with books (as you might imagine). Some I'd heard of, some I'd read, and some were unfamiliar. Many titles I expected to find weren't there, and some I was suprised to see on the shelf. There was a comfy chair and a lamp in the room, and beside it a table with black coffee in a pot and a coffee mug. I sat down and began reading the first book.

The title was The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon, a sort of humorous history of the whole world till the 20th century for kids. Parts of it were amusing, but there was a lot wrong with the book, including a number of historical errors that anyone could expose with access to a good encyclopedia (preferably not one with "wiki" in its name).

Next was The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. This was a book I'd read many times before and loved, and reading it again was an enjoyable and nostalgic experience. After that I read The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes, which was a pirate story with lots of swordfights and adventure. It was pretty good, but it wasn't Treasure Island.

I read and read. The black coffee proved very useful, sustaining me through exciting passages and boring parts alike. Much of what I read was surprisingly bland, like cookies with little sugar and no vanilla extract; some of it was just plain nasty, like soup made from melted ice cream and Worcestershire sauce; some (but less) was delicious, like pancakes or fried chicken.

By the time I'd read the last page of the last book in the shelf I was ready to be done (though the last book was very good and very funny). There had been a lot of good material, but there'd also been so many historical inaccuracies, so many flat characters, so many pointless stories, and so much blatant propaganda that I felt weak and unsure if I could make it back down the hallway outside.

Fortunately, the air in the corridor was cooler and fresher. I walked back the way I'd come (noticing for the first time an ugly door labeled "Derivative and Plagiarized Works" with what looked like a mockingjay or some other bird emblazoned just above the knob), but not all the way to the door leading back into the forest (I hoped).

Instead, I opened the door that read "The Works of Roald Dahl." I found the interior much like that of the room I'd just been in, except that the chair was a pile of pillows and the drink was Double-Bubble-Burple-Cola instead of coffee. I read each book in the shelf as fast as I could, and enjoyed every second.

However, I found the air getting pretty warm and stuffy by the end of my sojourn. It wasn't as bad as the quality of the air after reading all the Newbery Medal Winners, but it was bad enough. I vowed that, should I ever enter one of these rooms again, I wouldn't stay till I'd finished every book. I'd go from one room to another, and not give the air a chance to suffocate me.

After all that reading I was ready to resume my journey in the forest outside. I went to the entrance and walked through the doorway into the darkening woods, looking over my shoulder to make sure the entrance was still there—it was. I vowed to return someday. But presently I had a journey to finish, and now I was a little better prepared to do so. I marked the spot on my map (thinking oddly that I'd been there years before) and lost myself in the trees.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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222 Items found
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ABC Bunny
by Wanda Gág
from University of Minnesota
Word Books for 1st-3rd grade
1934 Newbery Honor Book
$12.71
Abel's Island
by William Steig
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94
Abel's Island
by William Steig
from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln
by Clara Ingram Judson
from Sterling Publishing Co.
Biography for 3rd-7th grade
1951 Newbery Honor Book
$5.91
Abraham Lincoln's World
by Genevieve Foster
from Beautiful Feet Books
Historical Non-fiction for 7th-10th grade
1945 Newbery Honor Book
$17.95
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
from Berkley Books
Historical Fiction for 6th-9th grade
1965 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
from Berkley Books
Historical Fiction for 6th-9th grade
1965 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94
Adam of the Road
Puffin Newbery Library
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
$6.79 $3.60 (2 in stock)
Adam of the Road
Puffin Modern Classics
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 3rd-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
$5.94
After the Rain
by Norma Fox Mazer
from HarperTeen
for 6th-8th grade
1988 Newbery Honor Book
$2.40 (1 in stock)
All Sail Set
by Armstrong Sperry
from David R. Godine
Nautical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1936 Newbery Honor Book
$12.71 $8.00 (2 in stock)
Along Came a Dog
by Meindert DeJong & Maurice Sendak
from HarperCollins
Realistic Animal Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1959 Newbery Honor Book
$5.06
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
$5.94 $3.60 (1 in stock)
And Now Miguel
by Joseph Krumgold
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1954 Newbery Medal winner
$5.09 $3.20 (2 in stock)
Apple and the Arrow
by Conrad & Mary Buff
from Sandpiper Books
Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction for 4th-6th grade
1952 Newbery Honor Book
$7.61 $4.80 (1 in stock)
Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1955 Newbery Honor Book
$7.64
Bears on Hemlock Mountain
by Alice Dalgliesh
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for Kindergarten-2nd grade
1953 Newbery Honor Book
$4.24 $2.80 (1 in stock)
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
from Candlewick Press
Realistic Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
2001 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94 $3.20 (1 in stock)
Birthdays of Freedom (Book One)
by Genevieve Foster
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 3rd-6th grade
1953 Newbery Honor Book
Black Cauldron
Prydain Chronicles #2
by Lloyd Alexander
from Henry Holt and Company
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
1966 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Black Cauldron
Prydain Chronicles #2
by Lloyd Alexander
from Yearling
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
1966 Newbery Honor Book
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Blue Willow
Puffin Newbery Library
by Doris Gates
from Puffin Books
for 4th-7th grade
1941 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94
Bomb
by Steve Sheinkin
First Edition from Flash Point
for 5th-9th grade
2013 Newbery Honor Book
$19.99
Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin
from Square Fish Publishing
for 4th-7th grade
2012 Newbery Honor Book
$6.79
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
from HarperCollins
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
1978 Newbery Medal winner
$5.94
Bronze Bow
by Elizabeth George Speare
from Houghton Mifflin
Historical Fiction for 5th-9th grade
1962 Newbery Medal winner
$5.91 $3.60 (3 in stock)
By the Shores of Silver Lake
Little House Series #5
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction/Pioneers for 3rd-6th grade
1940 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94 $3.20 (2 in stock)
Caddie Woodlawn
by Carol Ryrie Brink
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Family Fiction for 3rd-7th grade
1936 Newbery Medal winner
$5.94
Calico Bush
by Rachel Field
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1932 Newbery Honor Book
$6.79 $3.20 (1 in stock)
Calico Bush
by Rachel Field
from Dell Publishing
Realistic Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1932 Newbery Honor Book
$1.60 (1 in stock)
Call it Courage
by Armstrong Sperry
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for 2nd-6th grade
1941 Newbery Medal winner
$4.24 $2.40 (1 in stock)
Call it Courage
by Armstrong Sperry
from Macmillan
for 2nd-6th grade
1941 Newbery Medal winner
$5.20 (1 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
$5.91
Cat Who Went to Heaven
by Elizabeth Coatsworth
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Eastern Fairy Tale for 3rd-6th grade
1931 Newbery Medal winner
$2.00 (2 in stock)
Cat Who Went to Heaven
by Elizabeth Coatsworth
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Eastern Fairy Tale for 3rd-6th grade
1931 Newbery Medal winner
$5.09 $2.80 (2 in stock)
Charlotte's Web
by E. B. White
from HarperCollins
for 2nd-6th grade
1953 Newbery Honor Book
$6.79
Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
by Rhoda Blumberg
from HarperCollins
Historical Non-Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1986 Newbery Honor Book
$9.99 $7.00 (2 in stock)
Corn Grows Ripe
Puffin Newbery Library
by Dorothy Rhoads
from Puffin Books
for 4th-6th grade
$5.09
Courage of Sarah Noble
by Alice Dalgliesh
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for Kindergarten-6th grade
1955 Newbery Honor Book
$4.24
Cricket in Times Square
by George Selden
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-6th grade
1961 Newbery Honor Book
$5.94
Crispin
by Avi
from Hyperion/Madison Press
for 4th-8th grade
$6.79 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Criss Cross
by Lynne Rae Perkins
1st edition from Greenwillow Books
for 6th-9th grade
2006 Newbery Medal Winner
$4.80 (1 in stock)
Dark Frigate
by Charles Boardman Hawes
from Little, Brown and Co.
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1924 Newbery Medal winner
$6.79 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Day on Skates
by Hilda van Stockum
from Bethlehem Books
for Nursery-2nd grade
1935 Newbery Honor Book
$17.00
Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos
from Square Fish Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
2012 Newbery Medal Winner
Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 5th-7th grade
Newbery Medal
$3.20 (3 in stock)
Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary
from Scholastic Inc.
Realistic Fiction for 5th-7th grade
Newbery Medal
$1.60 (2 in stock)
Dobry
by Monica Shannon
from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
1935 Newbery Medal winner
Doctor De Soto
by William Steig
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for Kindergarten-3rd grade
1983 Newbery Honor Book
$6.79
Door in the Wall
by Marguerite de Angeli
from Yearling
Realistic Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
1950 Newbery Medal winner
$5.94 $3.60 (1 in stock)
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