I think there was something in the water in Great Britain near the beginning of the last century. Fairy dust, perhaps, because that’s when so many of the great classic children’s fantasy books were written. There’s something about them, a style, a flavor, a spark, that marks them out as part of that group.
I doubt many titles or authors on this list are new to you–they are, after all, classics–but still, here’s my list of favorite writers of British children’s fantasy classics, noting their most famous books. Some books are earlier and some are later, but all have that particular flavor.
In no particular order:
- P. L. Travers – Mary Poppins series
- Edith Nesbit – Five Children and It, among others
- J. M. Barrie – Peter Pan
- Frances Hodgson Burnett – A Little Princess and The Secret Garden
- Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
- Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows
- Charles Kingsley – The Water Babies
- George MacDonald – The Princess and the Goblin and The Light Princess
- A. A. Milne – Winnie the Pooh
And #10, Honorary Mention, is L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Oz series (and many others that are just as good). He was American, not British, but somehow contrived to write books with that same magical flavor.
There must be classics I’m missing–what are some of your favorites? And are they sprinkled with the same fairy dust? 🙂 I hope so–I’d love to find more!