New list of best children's books a real page turner

Vicky Shaw

From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to gothic horror Dracula, publisher Puffin has compiled a hotlist of its 70 best books of all time for children.

Fantasy classics Peter Pan and Alice In Wonderland, pirate adventure Treasure Island and the tear-jerking Watership Down also make the line-up for young people aged from babies to their teens, marking the 70th anniversary of Puffin, the children's imprint of Penguin Books.

The books are split into categories including best mischief and mayhem, weird and wonderful, sugar and spice, best swashbucklers and derring-do, as well as books to cuddle up with.

There is also a section on the 'best alternatives' to Stephenie Meyer's massively successful Twilight books, which were turned into a series of films starring Robert Pattinson.

Suggestions include Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

Roald Dahl has his own entire 'phizzwhizzers' category, with his classic tales The BFG, Matilda, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mr Fox.

Dahl sells more books every year than any other Penguin author in both the adults' and children's categories -- and his sales rocketed by 35pc in 2009.

Watership Down and Charlotte's Web are among the best weepies, The Borrowers is included in best friends and family, and Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan are among the best weird and wonderful books.

The poignant Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank is in the best war and conflict category.

Modern best-sellers are also featured, such as Diary Of A Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney among best mischief and mayhem and Artemis Fowl by Wexford author Eoin Colfer included in best heroes.

Charlie Higson's thriller The Enemy is also named among the best blood and guts -- along with Bram Stoker's classic horror Dracula and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound Of The Baskervilles.

The best books to cuddle up with category includes The Very Hungry Caterpillar which still sells one copy every 30 seconds somewhere in the world.

The titles feature in The Puffin Handbook, a new guide to children's books for parents. The handbook is being made available for free from UK bookshops, libraries and to download at as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations.

The list was released to coincide with National Puffin Share-a-Story Day, celebrated across Britain tomorrow.

Hundreds of schools, bookshops and libraries nationwide will mark the day, using a Puffin party pack available to download at