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The Best Fantasy Books of the 1960's

The Top Fantasy Written During the 1960's

The Swinging 60's. The Space Race. Martin Luther King JR. Vietnam. JFK. The Beetles Woodstock. Bonnie and Clyde. The Sound of Music. The Jungle Book. 

The 60's is an era that we are all familiar with. It was a turbulent decade filled with events, personalities and concepts that are still so relevant almost 60 years later.

We can go for hours discussing the various aspects that were controversial and ground-breaking. But let's rather focus on the literature. 

The 1960s were a great decade for literary fantasy — it was a time when new writers were bringing new themes into the genre, and exploring old themes in radically new ways. 

It's no surprise that all this made a serious dent on the fantasy genre. And in fact, it did: some of the greatest authors published their seminal works in the 1960's. 

We have classics from the likes of Michael Moorcock, Roald Dahl, Andre Norton, Maurice Sendak, Susan Cooper and more… 

Our list of legendary fantasy novels could be much longer than it actually is! But we limit our selection to the Top 25 Best 25 Fantasy Books of the 1960's that you absolutely need to read.

Make sure to check out our other Best Fantasy Decade Lists:


Best Early Modern Fantasy (1930's to 1950's)

Best Fantasy Books of the 70's (fantasy finds complexity)

Best Fantasy Books of the 90's (contemporary fantasy)

The Wizard of Earthsea is an incredible story which describes the adventures of a young magic-user named Ged. Through many dangers, Ged discovers he has a powerful gift for magic and leaves to study at the ancient school of magic on Roke island. But when he accepts a challenge from a fellow student, he releases a deadly shadow from the netherworld, and must journey the earth to battle its dark power and seal it away forever.

The story is really about a young man and his, coming of age, realizing his shortcomings, and overcoming and accepting his personal demons. The conflicts are no less epic and the victories no less sweet for the lack of war.

Why it's on the list

A Wizard of Earthsea is quite an incredible work of high fantasy. It's a classic tale of wizardry and magic, but with twists along the way. LeGuin has the one thing that many fantasy authors lack: the ability to have fun. She makes it enjoyable for both children and adults.

Le Guin rates up there with such authors as Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey. They are books for everyone with imagination, who enjoy good storytelling, and interesting and unusual characters. They are tales, which leave strong images for years after reading, which make you want to go back to read again and again.

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Sword and Sorcery. Magic and high fantasy

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The Last Unicorn is a simple story about a unicorn who wants to find others of her kind. Along the way, she meets an inept magician, an old but kindly spinster, and even a heroic prince. She also spends some time as a human. Dealing with outlaws, mistrustful townspeople, and magical monsters, the companions find themselves at the gate of a bleak castle in which both an unpleasant king and a tender prince lives. Within these walls the real truth lies. The only question is whether the companions will accept the outcome of this fantastic truth.

Why it's on the list

The Last Unicorn is not simply a story about the search for unicorns. It also provides insight into the things that we cherish and what lengths we will go to in pursuit of that love. The story shows us the nature of a true hero, and what a happy ending is really all about. Above all else, it is a story about magic, beauty, sadness and joy.

This is an astounding story by a brilliant writer, and easily amongst the best books you will read. Each of the characters in Beagle's work has such life and depth, from the clumsy magician who desperately seeks to be more than what he is to the outlaws who cry out with the loss of that which they have never known. Beagle's mastery and clear love of language is, alone, enough to make this book worth your time.

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Unicorns. Classic stories that have been turned into movies.

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Elric is the ill-fated albino prince of a fading race who bears the sword Stormbringer in his journeys through the Young Kingdoms of man.

This is the last book of the Elric Saga, in which Elric will finally learn his fate. On top of this, he will somehow have to blow the Horn of Fate, three times, so that the rebirth of the World can begin. The Lords of Chaos have other plans, however since they cannot let him destroy the things they have built, the things they own the things that make them who they are.

He may have a host of enemies and they may just be the most dominant force in the multiverse, but Elric has the assistance of The Servants of Fate. That kind of help, no one can ignore.

Why it's on the list

The Elric books have everything: an original plot, one of the most fascinating characters in all fiction, disturbing ideas about how much anything really matters, and a rich, dark atmosphere that instantly pulls you in. The Elric saga has become the foundation for more than a few Hollywood fantasy films. This is because Moorcock draws you into a world rich with color and texture. This book has some of his best narratives and they take you on a journey filled with war, love, sorcery, treachery, and the ultimate quest for justice.

In Stormbringer, Moorcock brings this epic to a close in a typically and grandly tragic style. The end of the world, triumph through defeat, the systematic isolation of Elric from all he cares about, and Elric's final quest to be forgotten, all come together to make this series go out with a bang that is in keeping with how quickly and strongly it gripped us all in the first book.

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Sword and Sorcery. Magic and good vs evil.

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With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.

In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it. 

From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. 


No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. 

Available on Amazon & Audible, Barns & Noble, iTunes, Google, and Kobo.

The book is set in the fantastical world of Prydain, a land soaked in the mythology of classical Wales. The main character - Taran is apprenticed as a Pig-Keeper but yearns to be a hero. He quickly discovers the whole experience to be quite different than anticipated when he is engulfed in the strange events of his time.

Accompanied in his quest by a diverse group of companions, Taran quickly learns to deal with the unexpected: invisible dwarfs, talking crows, giant cats, giants, deathless warriors and evil enchantresses.

Why it's on the list

The Chronicles of Prydain are some of the very best children's fantasy books available. The characters are unique, interesting, and relatable. There is more wisdom, adventure, and life-lessons contained in these books than any other series, including Harry Potter and/or The Hunger Games.

While based on Welsh Mythology, the lessons are those applicable to anyone growing up.The series is full of charm and lots of adventure, and will enchant the whole family.

The stories are classic, and a really great way to introduce kids to the fantasy genre. There's magic, sword fighting, travel, siege, adventure, romance, heartbreak, and redemption in these books. They tell a worthwhile story about wonderful characters.

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Classic good vs evil at its best.

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This is the second novel in the Dark is Rising sequence, and it can be enjoyed as a standalone novel or read as part of the greater story arc. Will Stanton learns, on his 11th birthday, that he is part of a group of immortal beings who are dedicated to the Light and defeating the powers of evil. To come into his full inheritance as an Old One, Will must find the six signs of the Light, a quest which will allow the Old Ones to fight the coming rising of the Dark.

With every sign that Will gains the Dark's anger and force rises. Soon Will must face the final battle for these great signs with the life of himself, his master, and his sister at risk. Will the last of the Old Ones be able to accomplish his quest to keep the Light from losing their valuable signs?

Why it's on the list

If your child loves fantasy, romance, and magic, this series is a must.This is a wonderful book, bridging the contemporary world and the world of myth. The characters in both worlds are sensitive and human in the best sense - they have regrets and make mistakes and also have surprising moments where they surprise themselves with their strength.The language in this book is hauntingly beautiful. It is ostensibly a book for children, but this strikes you as an ageless book, definitely fit for adults.

Read if you like

C.S. Lewis. Classic good vs. evil.

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Meg seems to have a perfectly normal life. The normality ends quite suddenly when her littlest brother, Charles, meets Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Suddenly, Meg's normal life is anything but as she is whisked into the universe on the hunt to find her missing father alongside Charles and her new friend Calvin O'Keefe. Things are not as simple as they once were and Meg must face her fears to save her father and ultimately her little brother before it is too late and they are lost forever.

Why it's on the list

The whole book sings with an inner strength about things we must all face in our everyday lives. While the situations are ones none of us may ever encounter, L'Engle's solutions are profoundly earthy and true. The book is filled with mystery, fantasy, suspense, and amazing symbolism, and grabs your attention and holds it right to the very end.Whether it's the excitement of traveling through time or the thought of death, the interest of the novel stays in your mind. Most of this interest comes about because of the fantasy behind the plot of Meg and her brother Charles having to find their father in some far off universe. This universe is so wacky it's a fantasy land within all fantasy lands. Besides the story being a thrilling fantasy, it's also a touching novel. A full package of emotions.

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Science fiction and Fantasy involving time and space. Even if you're not interested in that, this is a great book.

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This book is about a boy named Max who puts on a wolf costume and feels like making some trouble. He breaks some rules and is sent to bed without supper. That night his imagination runs wild. He goes on a journey in the jungle that has grown in his room. He meets many types of monsters on his journey and is returned safely home.

Why it's on the list

Where the Wild Things Are is a classic children's book. The story is fun and adventurous. The illustrations are extremely well done and do wonders for the entire experience. It is the life and imagination of every child, to escape to a distant land, play with imaginary characters and be king for a day. The book gives children a chance to use their imagination. Whether you like the story itself or you just like to look at the illustrations, this is definitely a book for people of all ages.

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Adventure. Fun. Children's stories.

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Simon Tregarth is a man on the run from various shadowy ruffians, people he associated with because he was wrongly convicted of working the black market while in the military. Willing to try anything, he ends up passing through the Siege Perilous, a megalith which apparently is actually a gate to another world. There he immediately finds himself embroiled in a war between the Witches of Estcarp and the alien, technologically advanced Kolder, and somewhat in love with one of the Witches, even though she is bound to remain a virgin if she wishes to retain her powers.

Why it's on the list

Andre Norton's real name was Alice, but she chose to write under a male pseudonym back in the 60s'. This tale started her rise to fame and is a must read for any Norton fan.Obviously, this book is fantasy. But it is not about fairies and elves and sprites. It is hard magic, not light fantasy; and it is fascinating.With this book, she took a giant step in a new direction, that of adult fantasy. A book that spawned a veritable library of sequels and other stories set in the same universe, most written by her, but some written by others or as collaborators with her. Today it still stands as one of her best works.The magic of this book lies not so much in the overt acts of magic that are performed as part of this war, nor even in Simon's growth into a hero with honor, but rather it is in the richness, the otherworldliness of this imagined world.

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Adult Fantasy. Hard magic.

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While vacationing with their Mother's ancient nurse in Wales, young Colin and Susan come to learn of the Legend of Alderley, a story of mystery and magic. Obviously, at first it's simply an enjoyable story, an integral part of the countryside's peculiar charm. And then an odd woman, who some call a witch, attempts to lure them into her car. This is just the start of the excitement and danger. When bizarre creatures come scuttling from the Devil's Grave, Colin and Susan quickly realize that the stories are real and the only thing that can help them now is an old but precious family heirloom of Susan's.

Why it's on the list

This tale is well paced and well written. Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter in an easy-reading book written for kids but just as great of a story for adults.

It's an exciting fantasy tale, the more so because it is woven into the hidden nooks and crannies of our own modern-day world - unlike Tolkien and Alexander. You never know when you might look behind a standing stone, only to find a stromkarl chanting a spell while other passers-by would see nothing but a little man humming to himself. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is, all in all, full of noble and wicked characters whose endless battle leaks over into the world of men and sweeps up the two children, carrying them along in a tide of calamitous events. Luckily they are aided by their friend Gowther Mossock.....an old and wizened farmer who, even though he is surrounded by the cynicism of his world, is still able to have faith in the old ways.

This is a delightful little book and one that is guaranteed to keep readers, young and old alike, absorbed through a rainy afternoon. The author has a gift for story-telling and a lovely, slightly quaint style reminiscent of Tolkien or Lewis, and his sensitive use of language really helps to bring his vision and imagination to life. He also paints his scenery and settings beautifully, so that the reader is transported without much difficulty into a world of dark mines and loathsome goblins, deep mysterious woods and enchanted knights.

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Classic Fairytales.

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This book is set amongst the fighting in an alternate Europe where the evil mages of the Empire of Grand Britain are overrunning Europe. Dorian Hawkmoon, the Duke of Koln, faces orthnicopter flying machines, men in beast masks, and genetically modified war beasts. The Jewel is implanted in Dorian's forehead in order to control him, but he manages to breaks free, and so begins the series of Hawkmoon and his allies against a seemingly unstoppable army reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Why it's on the list

The Jewel in the Skull is quite an interesting story. Moorcock introduces us to a world that we find more than a little familiar and shows us a hero who is most definitely worth following. You will be eager to start the next book in this series.They don't throw around the title of "legendary" for no reason, fantasy fans should read more Michael Moorcock. He is simply one of the best writers ever.

Read if you like

Allegory. Alternate speculative history.

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Xylar's kings have a tough life. Every five years the current king is beheaded and any audience member who catches the head reluctantly becomes the next king. After King Jorian is rescued by the magician Karadur, he promises to obtain the Kist of Avlen, filled with magical spells. The two men set out on a series of episodic adventures and encounter bizarre creatures of every sort, including a snake princess and a minor god. Like other picaresque novels, this fantasy lampoons the customs of the various societies. Jorian tells many captivating stories before the plot reaches a surprising climax.

Why it's on the list

Of all of Sprague de Camp's novels, these are probably the best. They combine adventure and humor as few authors can. You get the feeling that nothing in Jorian's life ever goes as planned.Sprague de Camp is a great story- teller, and this humorous critique of governmental systems is no exception. All of his works are first-rate.

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Humor, Adventure, and Fantasy.

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Dragonriders of Pern is the dragon rider series against which all dragon fantasies should be measured. McCaffrey weaves a believable, spellbinding tale of a world of men and dragons battling against an uncaring enemy and the capricious self-centeredness of all men. The epic story of how one man, believing in the tales of the past when everyone else ignored them, manages with the help of his co-leader and his brother to save the world, and make themselves legends in the process.

Why it's on the list

McCaffrey pulls off wonders with her writing - no other author could have concocted or done justice to Pern and its people as she does. The Pern series is possibly the most incredible series you will ever read, from the empathetic and majestic dragons to the likable and unique characters who ride them.

She manages to conjure a complex society, has characters that you can't help but become interested in, and writes compelling story lines. And then, of course, there are the dragons - you fall in love with their distinctive personalities just as much as you do with the human characters. You will not be able to wait for the next book. When you sit down to read one, you will tend to forget about the things that you need to do and read the book until it is done.

Read if you like

Dragons. Sword and Sorcery.

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Four children who are exploring a ruined church accidently travel to another world, the mysterious realm of Elidor. In Elidor, they become the keepers of the four treasures and are sent back to earth to protect these treasures. But as time passes they realize that evil forces from Elidor are searching for them. Now, the children must find a way to protect both Elidor and their own world.

Why it's on the list

Garner has written a unique book, for children or adults, a quick and easy read. His deep knowledge of story, legend and place barely show, yet they are the solid foundation on which the story is built. You won't realize it until the book nears its end but this is one of the finest imaginative novels you will read. Elidor is a great fantasy book filled with action and adventure.

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Quick and easy to read books that leave an impression on you long after you put the book down.

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James and the Giant Peach is about a little boy named James, whose parents died, and now lives with his wicked aunts. One day, someone suspicious gives him a bag of green things to make something spectacular, but James accidentally loses them, and all of them disappear. When a peach tree in the garden suddenly grows a giant peach, his crazy adventures begin.

Why it's on the list

Dahl is always a treat, and his books are easily able to stand up to the test of time - children always love an evil-good guardian that always gets what they deserve while the suffering child gets to show us all what kind of good-hearted hero he is, and have a grand adventure too.The book also sneaks in a wonderful lesson about never giving up, finding out who is important in your life, and hanging on to them forever. The other vital lesson that it teaches is even though life may have been horrible in the beginning it is all about giving back. This short story is written in the same style as most of his other works. Not everything about people or life is pretty -- but there's always something to learn from it. Dahl uses vivid imagery, fun language, and immerses the reader.

Read if you like

Any Roald Dahl books. Adventure. Fun.

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In the vein of Robert Jordan and David Eddings, C.M. Pendleton's A Dark Tyranny is quickly becoming a fan favorite...

The series debut, A Dark Tyranny, quickly gathered a dedicated reader base, due to its return to timeless qualities of traditional epic fantasy. The author and series have been featured in well-known blogs, as well as the internationally distributed magazine SciFiNow. Book two, Ruins of the West, was released in July 2016 and is quickly solidifying the quality of the series amongst fantasy readers.

An ancient evil has been awakened that seeks to burn through the world with a hungry vengeance. Wolven beasts and gorgons ravage the four realms of man. The hierarchy of class and heritage are no more, as families are torn apart and lives are forever changed. Kings and nobles fall whimpering or lashing out like savage dogs. A small few find their fate intertwined, as they fight for survival and for those they love.

An exiled commander is thrust back into a world he longed to forget.

A lone Nighteye finds his curse lifted and his true image restored.

A young noblewoman struggles to escape a gorgon caravan.

A former slave befriends an ancient and majestic creature.

The afflicted brother of a traitorous king discovers a secret that could cost him his life.

Of Darkness & the Light is a thrilling epic that brings readers into a vivid world full of magic, adventure, and treachery. For more info about the series check out the Amazon page,or visit the author's webpage to find out more info about his books and writing.

When Sebastian, a boy in Victorian England, sees an unhappy young girl in an antique mirror, he feels compelled to purchase it and free her from captivity. Melissa was kidnapped long ago by a wicked Enchanter who swore to deprive her adoptive father of whatever he loved most. To liberate Melissa, Sebastian must collect the Enchanter's five Power Objects - the mirror, a teapot, a silver fish, an emerald, and a green rose - and throw them into a magic well. Unless Sebastian can free her, she is doomed to spend eternity alone, trapped in the Enchanter's Treasure House, a place where time is meaningless.

Why it's on the list

The story is a creative, fun, mysterious story that will capture your imagination. Although sometimes derivative in plot, it is wonderfully written, imaginatively described, and is absolutely entrancing. This is a story that awakens the mind and refreshes the spirit.

Read if you like

Fun, mysterious and thoroughly enjoyable stories.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of a town, Macondo, and the special family that lives there. Weird things seem to happen in Macondo; sleeping disorders, eerie scientists, dangerous soldiers and strange murders seem to be centered on the mansion of this family the Buendia's. The stories are a window into the literature of Latin America and are filled will experiences and adventures of sadness, desperation, love, and loss.

Why it's on the list

In 1982 Mrquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and his other works include "Love in the time of the Cholera" and "Of Love and Other Demons", as well as several short story collections. In all his books he invokes real emotion from the reader, and One Hundred Years of Solitude is no different.

This book is arguably Garcia Marquez's best work. It is certainly his most acknowledged. Readers need to absorb this book at a languid pace, page by page so that each scene can be reflected upon and contemplated. It is written for a very specific type of fantasy buff, a person who will take the time to decode the underlying meaning of each story and reveal the artistry hidden behind the simple words of a page.

This novel prompted the surge of "magical realism" and modern Latin American literature.It is strange, but within that strangeness lies the essence of the story. Amazingly, the book has no purpose, no meaning, and no lesson. It is just meant to be read and enjoyed. His "magical realism" is that of telling absolutely absurd events in the most practical of ways.

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True creativity and literature. Deep and meaningful books.

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It is the first of a series following the travels of a naive girl-child goddess set in a harsh land. In the ancient forgotten world of prehistory, a girl is born. For the last seventeen years the Dictatress, her mother, has kept her imprisoned in an isolated tower. When she is released, it is with one condition: she must seduce the snake-scaled Zerd, the general of an evil occupying army, and stab him to death.

Why it's on the list

This fantastic story of love, jealousy, and sudden death is unlike anything you have ever read. It grips the imagination from start to finish. Cija, our resilient protagonist, is a purely original character who defies classification. She is not alone in this book, as we come across other memorable figures who are not easily understood. The story itself is sometimes comic and tragic, but also a rousing adventure. There is lust, love, suffering, and cruelty. Gaskell is an extremely skilled writer, and even when she works in stereotypes she manages to make it interesting. The Serpent remains one of the best fantasy/romance genre books ever written. It is creative, imaginative, and packs a punch.

Read if you like

Fantasy by, for and about an unusual woman.

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Charlie is a poor yet happy child who lives with his mother, father and four old grandparents in a one-room bungalow on the outskirts of town. He is the kind of boy who dreams of a better life not for himself but rather for his whole family. Charlie realizes he may just get the chance to change his life when he finds a golden ticket that will let him visit the great chocolate factory of the legendary Willy Wonka.

Why it's on the list

When it comes to kid's stories, Roald Dahl is an unrivaled legend. Along with his other novel, "James and the Giant Peach", Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stands at the top of the heap when it comes to children's books. This book is a true classic, with a pure sense of magic, storytelling, and imagination. The book is also much better than the movie, in which Willy Wonka becomes the main character, because it tells the tale from young, kind and innocent Charlie Bucket's perspective. It is one of those exhilarating and astonishing reading experiences that makes a deep impression when you are young. Amazingly - years later, this is one of the first books you will choose for your own children.

Read if you like

Roald Dahl. This is a classic that we all know a little about. If your only exposure to the story was the movies you need to read the book now!

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Steel Magic, also known as Gray Magic is the first fantasy novel in the Magic Sequence, a series for older children. It is based loosely on the legends of King Arthur and Roland. The story revolves around three siblings, the Lowery children - Greg, Eric, and Sara who are transported, via a magic gate, to Avalon. Once there, they need to complete a series of quests to find three lost tokens of power. The tokens are the only thing that can protect both worlds.

Why it's on the list

This novel is a story of courage and perseverance, with each child facing and overcoming their special fears. It has brave people and magical animals, both good and evil, including a very wise fox.Eric, Greg and Sara's dramatic entrance into the Avalon is somehow more romantic and believable than C.S. Lewis's Wardrobe, yet it is the same genre of literature.Like all Norton's books, an excellent read, to be enjoyed and recommended to anyone who hasn't read her books yet.

Read if you like

C.S. Lewis. King Arthur

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This is a rollicking little tale about the friendship between a mouse who lives in a dilapidated hotel and a boy who stays there over a long weekend. The mouse learns to ride the boy's shiny red toy motorcycle, which thrills them both but gets the mouse into a number of jams, including losing the toy motorcycle. Eventually, the mouse learns responsibility and the importance of caring more about others, which earns him back his prized toy.

Why it's on the list

This the most action-packed and comical children's story you can ever read. The book's simple underlying message is that the more responsible you are, the more privileges you get. Cleary's light touch, her sense of humor, and her obvious respect for children make this story a treasure to enjoy. She teaches important lessons in a nice way. It's no surprise that she is one of most children's favorite writers.

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Fun and Quirky Children's books.

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Tollbooth tells the story of Milo, a boy who is pretty much bored of everything around him. One day he gets a mysterious package that turns out to be a toy tollbooth. With nothing else to do, he decides to assemble the gift, only to unexpectedly find that he is driving in a completely different world. There he comes across a variety of strange creatures, from a man-sized humbug to a giant watch-dog (literally. A giant dog with a watch for a body).

Why it's on the list

The Phantom Tollbooth is a superb story filled with idioms and word plays taken literally.The author is so good at creating scenes which are so fantastic yet so well drawn you can picture them delightfully.The magic of the book is not contained in just clever wordplay, amidst all the wittiness, the story's characters are well developed and there is a genuine sadness to have the adventure end.Sure, this is considered a kids' book. There is also more than enough complexity, entertainment, and depth to keep readers of all ages thoroughly engaged.

Read if you like

Witty Characters. A children's book with enough depth that an adult will enjoy.

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In the little town of Wootton Major, they have a wonderful tradition where a special cake is baked every twenty-four years, and eaten by twenty-four good children. But, when a magical Faery star is slipped into this year's cake, it is eaten by the local smith's son. And so the life of the younger smith is changed beyond anyone's imagination he is marked by beauty of face and voice, and can even visit the land of Faery whenever he likes. It is a life of magic and giving.

Why it's on the list

Another wonderful story by Tolkien. This book is a heart-warming meditation on what the gift of fantasy means. Tolkien was not a fan of allegory, which is why this captivating short story is a bit of a peculiarity among his writings - a stunning little fable that highlights his love of real, deep fairy tales. Unlike so many modern stories of faeries or elves, Tolkien has managed to keep the sense of magic and mystery in his visionary supernatural realm.This book is a must-have for anyone who was ever interested in Tolkien's short fiction. All aspects of this book smacks of quality, from the layout to the texts contained within.

Read if you like

To understand what else Tolkien was able to write. Short Fiction.

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Alison, her stepfather, and his son Roger are staying at her mother's. Also staying there is the housekeeper, Nancy, her son Gwyn, and the stable hand Huw.Alison comes upon a set of dishes and sees owls in the decoration. She draws them only to have them disappear as well as the design on the plates. Only Huw knows what's going on. Something about flowers and owls, and an old legend that the kids learn about. And the only one that can do anything about it is Gwyn.

Why it's on the list

The Owl Service is a fantasy read but not like the fantasies of today. This book is carefully written, beautifully entwining ancient Celtic legends with everyday teenagers and creating an aura of mystery around it. Definitely something for hard-core mythology fans, as well as a good book for teenagers.

It's a fabulous, lightly written and well-paced read accentuated with an eerie, creepy atmosphere that could potentially put you off family holidays in Wales forever.Garner takes ideas and compresses them so tightly, the book reads like poetry. There isn't a single wasted word here; there's no "filler", no unnecessary stage directions. The dialogue is outstanding.

Read if you like

Memorable imagery. Celtic mythology.

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Alison, her stepfather, and his son Roger are staying at her mother's. Also staying there is the housekeeper, Nancy, her son Gwyn, and the stable hand Huw.Alison comes upon a set of dishes and sees owls in the decoration. She draws them only to have them disappear as well as the design on the plates. Only Huw knows what's going on. Something about flowers and owls, and an old legend that the kids learn about. And the only one that can do anything about it is Gwyn.

Why it's on the list

The Owl Service is a fantasy read but not like the fantasies of today. This book is carefully written, beautifully entwining ancient Celtic legends with everyday teenagers and creating an aura of mystery around it. Definitely something for hard-core mythology fans, as well as a good book for teenagers.

It's a fabulous, lightly written and well-paced read accentuated with an eerie, creepy atmosphere that could potentially put you off family holidays in Wales forever.Garner takes ideas and compresses them so tightly, the book reads like poetry. There isn't a single wasted word here; there's no "filler", no unnecessary stage directions. The dialogue is outstanding.

Read if you like

Memorable imagery. Celtic mythology.

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This is such a delightful, peculiar but beautifully illustrated fable about a little dog called Jennie who has all that she could possibly wish for, but is unsatisfied with her life so searches for more. Along the journey, there are babies who won't eat, job applications to theater and stage companies, feline milkmen, lions and, not to mention, the Mother Goose rhymes that the book has taken its title from. The dream-like journey brings her to some odd characters and situations, but at the end, she finds the happiness she never could have imagined.

Why it's on the list

This book is illustrated by Sendak and the carefully rendered black and white illustrations are absolutely brilliant. He provides us with visual representations of the delightful characters and adds some fanciful details that perfectly complement the main text of the story. Higglety is above all else an adult tale successfully disguised as a kids book, children will adore the illustrations and silly phrases, but in truth only adults will grasp the deeper messages.

Read if you like

Illustrations and fables.

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