100 Important Children's Books: From (Struwel) Peter to (Harry) Potter

100 Important Children's Books: From (Struwel) Peter to (Harry) Potter

Children’s books continue to be one of the most popular categories of collectible books. Twenty years have gone by since I wrote 100 Years / 100 Books: High Spots of Collectible Children’s Books (What's a High Spot?), and much has changed. First, The customer demographic is trending younger. With new collectors nostalgic for books they read or were read to as children, more books published after 1950 have gained popularity. Currently, the demands of the marketplace influence what books are offered whereas formerly it was the reverse; what dealers offered in their catalogues had more influence on what would be collected.

With this in mind, I’ve updated the list, removing some titles that are not as well known today. The current list of High Spots is not meant to be a scholarly list inclusive of every important book that would deserve mention, but rather it includes the rare and collectible books that I’ve observed are consistently sought after from both my interactions with customers and colleagues. I also include rare books from authors or illustrators whose work has been critically acclaimed, such as Harry Potter.

Some of these classic children’s books are listed twice, first in year of appearance and later in the year that the most collectible edition was published. For instance, Charles Kingsley’s fantasy tale of the Water Babies was first published in 1863, but the first edition illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith and published in 1916 is the most sought edition. (Side note: my favorite is Warwick Goble’s 1909 edition).

With further ado, here is the list:

1848 - English Struwwelpeter or Pretty Stories by Heinrich Hoffmann (Slovenly Peter first English language edition. 1st German edition was 1845)

1852 - Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. 2 volumes Boston: John P. Jewett

1855 - Little Red Riding Hood (pop-up). London: Dean & Son. (Number 1 of Dean’s New Scenic Books. An early pop-up with 8 pop-up plates).

1863 - Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. London: Macmillan

1865[6] - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by LewisCarroll. London: Macmillan

1865 - Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge. New York: James O'Kane (Thomas Nast illustrator)

1868 9 - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. 2 Volumes. Boston: Roberts

1869 - A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Moore. NY: McLoughlin Bros.

1870 - In Fairyland Illustrated by Richard Doyle. London: Longmans, Green & Co.

1871 - At the Back of the North Wind by George Macdonald. London: Strahan & Co. (First Edition in Book Form)

1874 - Beauty & the Beast illustrated by Walter Crane. London: George Routledge (plus his numerous other toy books published from 1865 -1876)

1876 - Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens. Hartford: American Pub. Co

1877 - Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. London; Jarrold and Sons. 2 volumes (First American edition published in 1890)

1878 - House That Jack Built by Randolph Caldecott [Plus] the 15 Books in the Set. London: George Routledge

1878 - Under the Window Illustrated by Kate Greenaway. London: George Routledge

1881 - Uncle Remus His Songs and Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris. New York: D. Appleton

1883 - Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons

1883 - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Cassell & Co.

1884 - Heidiby Johanna Spyri. 1st English Ed. 2 Vols. (Heidi's Early Experiences and Heidi's Further Experiences). (1st German ed. 1880-1881)

1885 - A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Longmans Green

1885 - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). NY: Charles L. Webster and Co.

1886 - Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons

1887 - Brownies: Their Book by Palmer Cox. New York: Century

1888 - Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. London: David Nutt [Also Issued in Deluxe Edition]

1889 - Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. London: Longmans Green (plus the 10 Other "Color Fairy" Books 1890 – 1910)

1892 - Story of a Puppet, or The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. London: T. Fisher Unwin. First edition of Pinocchio in English.

1893 - Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. 1st Ed. With the Illustrations by Laurence Housman. London: Macmillan [Also Issued in Deluxe Edition] [1st Is 1862]

1894 - Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. London: Macmillan [with its sequel the Second Jungle Book published in 1895]

1896 - Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson Illus. By Charles Robinson. London: John Lane, the Bodley Head (this is the first illustrated edition, also issued in a deluxe edition. See 1885 for first edition)

1896 - Jeanne D'Arc by M. Boutet De Monvel. Paris: Plon Nourrit [Also Issued in Deluxe Edition]

1897 - Mother Goose in Prose by L. Frank Baum. Chicago: Way & Williams, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish

1899 - Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman. London: Grant Richards

1900 - Goops and How to Be Them by Gelett Burgess. New York: Frederick Stokes

1900 - Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter Privately Printed Ed. (Trade Edition First Published in 1902. London: Warne)

1900 - Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Chicago: George M. Hill

1901 - Denslow's Mother Goose by W.W. Denslow. New York: McClure Phillips

1902 - Adventures of Uncle Lubin by W. Heath Robinson. London: Grant Richards

1904 - Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field Illus. By Maxfield Parrish. New York: Scribner

1904 - Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith by E. Boyd Smith. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

1906 - Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: Hodder & Stoughton [Also Issued in Deluxe Edition]

1906 - Roosevelt Bears Their Travels and Adventures by Seymour Eaton. Philadelphia: Stern

1908 - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Boston: L.C. Page

1908 - Hole Book by Peter Newell. New York: Harper Bros

1908 - Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. London: Methuen

1910 - Sleeping Beauty Illustrated by Edmund Dulac. London: Hodder & Stoughton (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1911 - Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie. London: Hodder & Stoughton

1911 - Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Both 1911 editions - NY: Frederick Stokes illustrated by Maria Kirk and London: Heinemann illustrated by Charles Robinson

1911 - Treasure Island Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons (see 1884 for original first edition)

1914 - East of the Sun and West of the Moon Illustrated by Kay Nielsen. London: Hodder & Stoughton [Also Issued in Deluxe Edition]

1914 - Jessie Willcox Smith Mother Goose. New York: Dodd Mead

1915 - House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde Illus. By Jessie King. London: Methuen

1916 - Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen Illustrated by Harry Clarke. London: George Harrap (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1916 - Water Babies illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. BY: Dodd Mead (See 1863 for original first edition)

1918 Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle. Chicago: Volland

1920 - Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. New York: Frederick Stokes

1922 - Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Bianco. London: Heinemann

1922 - Wonderful Adventures of Little Prince Toofat illustrated by Robert Lawson. New York: James McCann

1923 - ABC by C.B. Falls. New York: Doubleday Page (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1923 - Ship That Sailed to Mars by William Timlin. London: George Harrap

1924 Poppy Seed Cakes Illustrated by Maud & Miska Petersham. New York: Doubleday Page & Co.

1925 - Knave of Hearts Illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons

1926 - Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. London: Methuen (Also issued in Deluxe Edition)

1926 - Fairyland by Ida Outhwaite. Melbourne: Ramsay Pub. (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1928 - Bambi by Felix Salten. NY: Simon & Schuster 1st U.S. Ed.

1928 - Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. NY: Coward McCann (Also Issued In Deluxe Edition)

1928 - Willy Pogany's Mother Goose. New York: Nelson (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1929 - Pirate Twins by William Nicholson. London: Faber & Faber (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition)

1930 - First Picture Book by Edward Steichen. New York: Harcourt Brace

1930 - Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. NY: Platt & Munk

1931 - Adventures of Mickey Mouse Book 1 by the Disney Studios. Philadelphia: McKay

1932 - Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. New York: Harper Bros.

1933 - Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. NY: Smith & Haas (First edition of L'Histoire De Babar was first published in Paris by Jardin Des Modes in 1931)

1933 - Story about Ping by Margery Flack illus. Kurt Wiese. New York: Viking

1934 - Mary Poppins by P.l. Travers. London: Gerald Howe

1936 - Giant Otto & Otto at Sea by William Pene du Bois. New York: Viking

1936 - Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. New York: Viking

1936 - Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain. London: Oxford University Press

1937 - And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. New York: Vanguard

1937 - Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. London: George Allen & Unwin

1937 - Animals of the Bible Illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop. New York: Stokes

1938 - Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. New York: Simon & Schuster

1938 - Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor. New York: Oxford Univ. Press

1939 - Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

1939 - Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky. NY: Putnam

1939 - World Is Round by Gertrude Stein. New York: William Scott (Also Issued in Limited Edition)

1939 - Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons. (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition in 1940)

1940 - Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. New York: Simon & Schuster

1940 - Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar D’Aulaire. NY: Doubleday Doran

1941 - Curious George by H.A. Rey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

1941 - Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. New York: Viking

1942 - Little House by Virgina Lee Burton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

1942 - Little Golden Books. A set of the first 12 books published simultaneously. NY: Simon & Schuster

1943 - Little Prince by A. St. Exupery. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock (Also Issued in Deluxe Edition. 1st edition in French appeared the same year)

1945 - Stuart Little by E.B. White. NY: Harper and Brothers

1947 - Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. New York: Harper Brothers

1949 - Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader. NY: Macmillan

1950 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. London: Bles

1950 - Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. NY: Viking (First edition of the Swedish Pippi Langstrump appeared in 1945)

1952 - Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. New York: Harper Bros.

1952 - The Borrowers by Mary Norton. London: Dent

1955 - Eloise by Kay Thompson. New York: Simon & Schuster

1955 - Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. NY: Harper & Bros.

1957 - The Cat in the Cat by Dr. Seuss. NY: Random House

1958 - A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond. London: Collins

1961 - James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. NY: Harper and Bros.

1962 - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. New York: Ariel

1962 - A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. NY: Viking Press

1963 - Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. New York: Harper & Row

1964 - The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. NY: Harper & Row

1969 - Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. NY: Putnam

1972 - Watership Down by Richard Adams. London: Rex Collins. (Also 1976 Limited Edition which is the first edition with illustrations -illustrated by John Lawrence)

1985 - Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

1997 - Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling. London: Bloomsbury