Totally Timeless Tales

Part II — 1931-1943

This annotated list of classics and favorites was compiled by Sally Epp, children's librarian at the Belle Isle Library (part of the Metropolitan Library System).

Every book listed is still in print and available for check out through Interlibrary Loan.

Please choose books for your children thoughtfully, as books for a wide range of ages, interests, and developmental levels have been included.

Key— E=Easy Reader - T=Tween - JF=Juvenile Fiction - YA=Young Adult - TNF=Tween Nonfiction - JNF=Juvenile Nonfiction


Field, Rachel

Calico Bush


Marguerite, a young French girl, is orphaned shortly after her family arrives in America, and she must exchange six years of work for food, clothing and shelter from another family.


Wilder, Laura Ingalls

Little House in the Big Woods


The autobiographical "Little House" stories begin in the big woods of Wisconsin where Laura recounts the adventures, hardships and joys of pioneer life in the 1870’s.


Gag, Wanda

ABC Bunny


Each stanza of this rhythmic story progresses through the alphabet, from A to Z, and tells the next step of a little bunny’s journey home.

Brunhoff, Jean de

The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant


In this well-known French children’s story, Babar the elephant loses his mother, makes his way to the city, and is crowned King of the Elephants.

Flack, Marjorie

The Story About Ping


The little duck Ping finds adventure on the Yangtze river when the houseboat where he lives with his huge family sails off, accidentally leaving him behind.


Travers, P. L.

Mary Poppins


When Mary Poppins arrives, the Banks children are swept up in some fantastic and magical adventures with the marvelous nanny who’s not as prim and proper as she seems.


Brink, Carol Ryrie

Caddie Woodlawn


Caddie, an irrepressible tomboy running wild in the woods of Wisconsin in the 1860’s, brings joy to her father and worry to her mother with her pranks and wild adventures.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls

Little House on the Prairie


Laura and the Ingalls family move to the frontier prairie of Kansas in Laura’s second volume of autobiographical stories about her pioneer family.


Anderson, C. W.

Billy and Blaze


Billy’s birthday present is the best thing he could imagine, a pony named Blaze who becomes Billy’s best friend, and together they share many adventures.

Sawyer, Ruth

Roller Skates


When Lucinda’s parents spend 1890 abroad, the unexpected arrival of a pair of roller skates give her the freedom to explore New York City for one glorious unsupervised year.

Leaf, Munro

The Story of Ferdinand


Ferdinand, a peaceful Spanish bull who prefers sitting under a cork tree and smelling the flowers to fighting, becomes a hero when a bee sting takes him to the bullfights in Madrid.


Seredy, Kate

White Stag


A white stag leads young Atilla the Hun across the Carpathian mountains in this epic story of the migration of the Huns and Magyars from Asia to Europe.

Tolkein, J. R. R.

The Hobbit


Bilbo Baggins just wants to live quietly in his hobbit hole, but is swept up in a fantastic journey with 13 fortune-seeking dwarfs and the powerful wizard, Gandalf the Grey.

Seuss, Dr.

And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street


Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book describes all of the wild and unbelievable things Marco sees on Mulberry Street on his way home from school.


Atwater, Richard

Mr. Popper's Penguins


Mr. Popper paints houses by day and dreams of the arctic by night, so imagine his surprise when an unexpected delivery contains a live penguin who turns his life upside-down.

Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan

The Yearling


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this book describes a boy’s love for his tame deer, Flag, and their encounters with the dangerous wildlife of rural Florida during Flag’s first year of life.

White, T. H.

The Sword in the Stone


Merlin changes Wart, the boy who will one day become King Arthur, into various wild animals so that he will learn to recognize human nature, a necessary skill for a good king.

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Bemelemans, Ludwig



Madeline, the smallest and most mischievous of "twelve little girls in two straight lines", gives Miss Clavel quite a fright when she goes to the hospital with a case of appendicitis.

Burton, Virginia Lee

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel


Mike Mulligan and his faithful steam shovel Mary Anne find themselves in a race against time and technological progress as they try to dig the cellar of the Popperville town hall.

Lawson, Robert

Ben and Me: A New and Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin As Written by His Good Mouse Amos


Benjamin Franklin was responsible for many amazing discoveries and inventions, but in this story readers learn who was really responsible for many of them — Amos the mouse.


Knight, Eric Mowbray

Lassie Come Home


When Lassie is sold because Joe’s family has no money to feed her, the loyal collie travels over 1000 miles, from Scotland to Yorkshire, over punishing terrain, to come home to Joe.

Slobodkina, Esphyr

Caps for Sale


"Caps, caps for sale," calls the peddler, but he’s in for a big surprise when he runs into a tree full of monkeys who steal his caps and then mimic his every action.

Lovelace, Maud Hart



In Deep Valley, Minnesota, at the turn-of-the-century, Betsy and Tacy are two five-year-old girls who are so close that they are often thought of as one little girl — Betsy-Tacy.


Farley, Walter

The Black Stallion


Alec and the wild Black Stallion are the only survivors of a shipwreck that leaves the two stranded on a desert island, and Alec is determined both to survive and to tame the stallion.

Rey, H. A.

Curious George


After the man in the yellow hat brings a very curious monkey named George home from the jungle, George manages to get into trouble when his curiosity leads him astray.

McCloskey, Robert

Make Way for Ducklings

Mother and Father Mallard set out across town with their ducklings in tow as they search for a better place in Boston to raise their family.

Edmonds, Walter Dumaux

The Matchlock Gun


When Edward’s father is called away, Edward is left with an antique matchlock gun to protect Mama, little Trudy and their home in this colonial story set in New York in 1756.


Warner, Gertrude Chandler

The Boxcar Children


Four orphaned but resourceful children make a home for themselves in an abandoned red boxcar in the first of more than 70 Boxcar Children mysteries.

Newberry, Clare Turlay



In this gentle story with softly luminous illustrations, the baby bunny Marshmallow is so convinced that Oliver the cat is his mother that the two become loving companions.

Brown, Margaret Wise

The Runaway Bunny


In this classic bedtime story, a little bunny decides to run away and is followed by his loving mother in an imaginary game of chase.

Burton, Virginia Lee

The Little House

A beautiful little house on a hill is slowly surrounded by the encroaching city, all the while growing older and more neglected until a loving family rescues her.


McCloskey, Robert

Homer Price


Each chapter in this book tells a different episode in the life of Homer Price, the most famous of which involves an out of control donut machine.

Norton, Mary

Bedknob and Broomstick


Three children discover that Miss Price is a witch, so to ensure their secrecy she gives them a magic bedknob that can take them to anywhere they want to go.

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