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Young Bond 'SilverFin' makes Puffin best ever book list

07-May-2010 • Young Bond

Huckleberry Finn rubs shoulders with Artemis Fowl, Charlie and Lola with Fungus the Bogeyman, and Dick King Smith's Sheep-Pig with Gerald Durrell's Family and Other Animals. A reading list drawn up to celebrate 70 years of the children's publisher Puffin throws up some odd pairings, but highlights the rich heritage of the list that was founded in 1940 as a series of non-fiction picture books for children - reports The Guardian.

Charlie Higson's debut novel in the Young James Bond series, "SilverFin", has made the list in the 'Best Heroes' category. Higson has also landed his horror/zombie title "The Enemy" in the list in the 'Best Blood and Guts' group.

The first fiction book published by Puffin, Worzel Gummidge, in 1941 doesn't make the cut 70 years later, but there is a good sprinkling of other classics among the 70 featured titles, which are organised in categories ranging from Best Swashbucklers and Derring-do and Best Blood and Guts to Best Weird and Wonderful and Best Weepies. Watership Down heads up the latter category while both Dracula and The Hound of the Baskervilles feature in the blood and guts section. Alice in Wonderland and Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl are also on the list. Roald Dahl is honoured with a section of his own – Best Phizzwhizzers – containing The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox.

"It's great that it flags up classic titles and reminds people that they are out there. It will also probably have a positive effect on sales for the books on the list – things like these lists always do if the publicity is wide enough," said Georgina Hanratty, manager of the Tales On Moon Lane children's bookshop in south London, which is holding a Puffin party in June where staff and customers will dress up as their favourite characters.

"In terms of us as booksellers, there are unlikely to be any huge surprises but it's a lovely thing to be able to celebrate the classics again and give the backlist some space at the front of the shop rather than just focusing on the new big-hitters."

Newer writers on the list include the Percy Jackson author, Rick Riordan, Young Bond creator Charlie Higson, Lauren Child, the queen of the picture book, and even former Sun editor David Yelland with his recently published novel about a father struggling with alcoholism. There is also a nod to the Edward and Bella phenomenon with a category for Best Alternatives to Twilight.

"The Puffin list continues to look remarkably strong. So many of the books it promoted in the seven decades have just gone on and on. They provide a long, robust spine to children's books. And the recent acquisition of authors such as Eoin Colfer, Meg Rosoff and Charlie Higson just adds a fresh new layer. Of course, there are now lots of wonderful authors on other lists too. After all, Puffin no longer has the monopoly it once enjoyed but it is still a byword for interesting, high quality books. Nowadays, that is especially true for its edgy books for ten readers."

The showcase of Puffin books is part of a year of birthday celebrations organised by the publisher. Bookshops and libraries have been given packs to host Puffin parties and a series of £3.99 "Pocket Money Puffins" have already proved very popular, creating a buzz with fans of the authors, according to Hanratty.

"The categories were picked to show that there's a Puffin for everyone and to suit all tastes from those who love action and adventure to tales of family and friendship and even a vampire or two," said Francesca Dow, managing director of Puffin Books.

The Puffin top 70 in full:

The Best Mischief and Mayhem

The Twits by Roald Dahl
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

The Best Weepies

Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Truth about Leo by David Yelland
Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The Best to Cuddle-Up With

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis & Gwen Millward
Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd

The Best Blood and Guts

The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Being by Kevin Brooks
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Best Swashbucklers and Derring-Do

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto
Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green

The Best Heroes

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Young Bond: SilverFin by Charlie Higson
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Best Characters

Charlie and Lola: Excuse Me But That is My Book by Lauren Child
Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll & Jan Pienkowski
Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird & Helen Craig
Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs

The Best Sugar and Spice

Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child & Polly Borland

The Best Animals

Spy Dog by Andrew Cope
The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Lionboy by Zizou Corder

The Best Friends and Family

Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

The Best Phizzwhizzers

The BFG by Roald Dahl
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The Best War and Conflict

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Once by Morris Gleitzman
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
Carrie's War by Nina Bawden


Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Junk by Melvin Burgess

The Best Fantasy and Adventure

TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow
Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

The Best Weird and Wonderful

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Five Children and It by E Nesbitt
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Best Rhymes and Verse

Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg
Michael Rosen's A-Z The best children's poetry from Agard to Zephaniah
Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah
Bad Bad Cats by Roger McGough

The Best Alternatives to Twilight

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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