A Series of Adventures

Eliza Clark
November 2, 2009

Book series seem tailor-made for stories of adventure. Once we’ve had a fantastic adventure with an author, we’re always ready to saddle up for another one. We know we’re in good hands and in for a great ride.

Our preschoolers feel the same way. There are certain characters and authors they would follow anywhere. The series below take them on thrilling adventures around the world, or sometimes just around the corner. Either way, they’re hooked, and so are we.

Crockett Johnson’s series about a boy named Harold and his purple crayon celebrates adventures of the imagination. When Harold wants to go somewhere, anywhere, he picks up his crayon and draws his way to a walk in the moonlight, an enchanted garden, outer space, the circus, the North Pole, and back home again. There’s no more intrepid explorer than Harold – he shows us how to get to anyplace we can imagine.

Angus is a little Scottish terrier dreamed up by the classic children’s author and illustrator Marjorie Flack. These tales from the 1930s have a refreshing gentleness and subtle humor, yet they are adventures all the same. Angus is learning his place in the world, and that means facing a daunting pair of ducks, a clever cat, and finding the way home. Through it all, he remains a true charmer.

Babar is King of the Elephants, and also the king of adventure series for young children. What a life he and his friends lead! In the very first scene of the very first book, a hunter fells Babar’s mother, and that calamity sends him on a series of adventures that include a coronation and wedding, a hot-air balloon ride around the world, building a city, and traveling to the North Pole – among others. A trip to the Land of the Elephants is one of the greatest adventures a young reader can have.

Edward Adizzone’s Little Tim series is the perfect thing for children who love adventures at sea. Tim dreams of being a sailor, and gets his chance sooner than he’d imagined. Wild and perilous journeys ensue, and friendships with other seafaring types. Ardizzone began his Tim series in 1936, and the last book was published in 1977 -- an epic journey indeed!

Any child who dreams of travel must be introduced at once to Miroslav Sasek’s incomparable This Is series of books about cities and countries around the world. The Czech artist and author M. Sasak began with This is Paris in 1958, and continued working on the series into the 1970s, publishing a total of eighteen titles. Recently reissued, these books are as popular as ever with children and parents, be they armchair or on-the-go travelers. A few favorites:

From the Parents

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