100 Chapter Books Project Wrap-Up

Well, friends, we have finally reached the end … of my time posting here! When I started the Top 100 Chapter Books Project in September of 2012, I had no idea how many truly fantastic books I would get to read and reread. Some that I had purposefully avoided turned out to be some of my most memorable reads. Others that I once loved sadly did not stand the test of time.

Here’s the original list with my notation of how I rated the books (Buy, Buy/Borrow, Borrow, Borrow/Skip, or Skip). Just a reminder, I rated these based on how well I thought the story would work for the majority of modern kid readers. For example, some I loved but just couldn’t see many young boys reading. I had to rate those B/B instead of Buy.

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – Buy

#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – B/B

#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Buy

#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry – Buy

#5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Borrow

#6 Holes by Louis Sachar – B/B

#7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – Buy

#8 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Buy

#9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – B/B

#10 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – Borrow

#11 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – B/B

#12 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – Buy

#13 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – Borrow

#14 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – B/B

#15 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Buy

#16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (1975) – Borrow

#17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh – Borrow

#18 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander – Buy

#19 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Borrow

#20 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – Buy

#21 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Buy

#22 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – Buy

#23 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Borrow

#24 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary – B/S

#25 The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis – Buy

#26 Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – Buy

#27 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Skip

#28 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – Buy

#29 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall – Buy

#30 Matilda by Roald Dahl – Buy

#31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Buy

#32 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor – Buy

#33 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – Buy

#34 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – B/B

#35 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – B/S

#36 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – Buy

#37 The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt – Buy

#38 Frindle by Andrew Clements – B/B

#39 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick – Buy

#40 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli – Borrow

#41 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Buy

#42 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright – Buy

#43 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson – Skip

#44 Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt – Buy

#45 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – Buy

#46 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi – Borrow

#47 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – B/B

#48 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket – B/B

#49 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett  – Buy

#50 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – Buy

#51 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo – B/B

#52 Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace – B/B

#53 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Buy

#54 Half Magic by Edward Eager – Buy

#55 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor – B/B

#56 A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Buy

#57 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken – Buy

#58 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome – Borrow

#59 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – B/B

#60 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Buy

#61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Buy

#62 Clementine by Sara Pennypacker – Borrow

#63 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson – B/S

#64 The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois – Borrow

#65 Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Buy

#66 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly – Buy

#67 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck – Buy

#68 The High King by Lloyd Alexander – Buy

#69 The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan – B/S

#70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech – Borrow

#71 Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles – Buy

#72 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin – Buy

#73 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson – B/B

#74 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – B/S

#75 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – Borrow

#76 Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – Borrow

#77 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – B/B

#78 Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild – Buy

#79 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder – B/B

#80 The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright – Borrow

#81 The Witches by Roald Dahl – Borrow

#82 The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden – B/B

#83 Ozma of Oz by Frank L. Baum – Buy

#84 The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Skip

#85 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – B/B

#86 Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – Skip

#87 The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger – B/B

#88 The BFG by Roald Dahl – Buy

#89 The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – B/B

#90 The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston – B/B

#91 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – B/B

#92 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – Borrow

#93 Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson – Buy

#94 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary – Borrow

#95 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – B/B

#96 The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Borrow

#97 The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton – Borrow

#98 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – Buy

#99 The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner – B/B

#100 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech – Buy


If I’ve counted correctly, 46 of the books were straight up Buys and 24 were Buy/Borrows so, if you’re looking for a starting list for a small/home kid library, these 70 books would be a great place to start!

I want to thank all of you for putting up with this VERY LONG project. Thank you to Andi and Heather for allowing me to use this venue. I know I never would have kept the project going through to the end if I had done this on my own blog. And thank you to Betsy Bird for compiling this list in the first place! It was a great idea.

100 Chapter Books Project: Charlotte’s Web


E.B. White’s 1952 classic, Charlotte’s Web, was the number one book on the Top 100 Chapter Books list. I can’t imagine that there are many young readers who manage to get through childhood without reading this book or having it read to them.

What it’s about: Fern Arable finds out one morning that her father is heading out to the barn, intending to kill the runt pig of a new litter. She can’t stand that this is the fate of a little creature and so her father allows her to raise the pig to teach her a lesson. The tables are turned though when Wilbur is a perfect little pig. When he’s a big bigger, he goes to her uncle’s farm down the road where he is now at risk of being killed for food. Luckily, Wilbur makes friends with a talented spider who has an idea of how to save his life.

Age level: Grades 2-4

Best part: The descriptions of the seasons and the patterns of life are wonderful. Also, there’s no dancing around the word kill. It’s an honest description of what happens to animals bred for food.

Worst part: Fern’s mother is a bit harsh at times but thankfully she softens up.

Verdict: Buy

Well, that’s it for the list! Was this the best book of the entire thing? Probably not. But it is certainly timeless, great for all readers, and not lacking in a couple of good lessons for youngsters. But, most of all, it’s special because of the magic of Charlotte, a humble spider.

I’ll have one more post at the end of the month to remind you of all the great books I’ve read over the last four and a half years and then I’ll have to search for my next major reading project, I guess!

Schedule – March
March 31 – Project Wrap-Up!


100 Chapter Books Project: Anne of Green Gables


Of all of the books that I regret not reading as a child that show up on the Top 100 Chapter Books list (and that existed when I was a kid), Anne of Green Gables (1908) by L.M. Montgomery is possibly the one at the top of the list. I actually read it once before this time, about six or seven years ago, but I didn’t remember much about it except that I really did love it. This reading is definitely the one that will stick with me forever.

What it’s about: Anne Shirley is an orphan who is accidentally brought to Prince Edward Island to be adopted by the Cuthbert siblings, Matthew and Marilla. The accident was that they had asked for a boy to help Matthew work the land and so they intend to send her back but, after a day or two of experiencing Anne’s unique way of speaking and of looking at the world, they decide to keep her with them at Green Gables after all. What follows is the growth of an unconventional family, centered around a very unconventional girl.

Age level: Grades 4-7

Best part: Oh, everything. The beautiful descriptions of the land and the seasons of Prince Edward Island, the bosom friendships, the softening of Marilla’s heart — it’s all so lovely.

Worst part: That thing that happens right before the end, you know, the thing that makes you sob and sob? I truly wish that hadn’t happened. I know why it had to but I wish it didn’t.

Verdict: Buy

I really should read the rest of this series and the other ones that Montgomery wrote. There’s part of me, though, that doesn’t like seeing child characters grow up. It’s why I didn’t read The Cursed Child. I know that Anne doesn’t have the easiest path in life and I’m not sure I want to read about it. If you have read the rest of the series or one of the others and you love them, please try and convince me to read them!

One more book to go … #1 on the list, Charlotte’s Web. This is one I have read so many times in my life that it’s probably part of my DNA now. What a pleasant way to end this project!

Schedule – March
March 15 – #1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)
March 31 – Project Wrap-Up!