10 of the best children’s book quotes in history, maybe

So that statement might not be true but I’ve succeeded in avoiding the temptation to put 10 Dr Seuss quotes up.

As worthwhile as life affirming sound-bites can be, children’s literature has often ventured a little further and heavier in its observations.

This list probably works best alongside something lighter and more forgiving to humanity.

 

 

In the beginning was the word

and the word is ours;

the names of places,

the names of flowers,

the names of names.

Words are Ours, Michael Rosen

 

 

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Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything. Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it.

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

 

 

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‘Another Sandwich!’ said the King.

‘There’s nothing but hay left now,’ the messenger said, peeping into the bag.

‘Hay, then,’ the king murmured in a faint whisper.

Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal. ‘There’s nothing like eating hay when you’re faint,’ he remarked to her, as he munched away.

‘I should think throwing cold water over you would be better,’ Alice suggested: ‘or some sal-volatile.’

‘I didn’t say there was nothing better,’ the King replied. I said there was nothing like it.’ Which Alice did not venture to deny.

Alice in Wonder Land, Lewis Carroll

 

 

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Length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S.Lewis

 

 

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I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

 

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As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K.Rowling

 

 

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The reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the weakest and most defenseless of all living things, and it is unsportsmanlike to touch him.

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

 

 

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Fate is like a strange, unpopular resteraunt filled with off little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.

The Slippery Slope, Lemony Snicket

 

 

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“If you’re all so peaceful up there, how did you get such greedy and cruel ideas?”

The dragon was silent for a long time after this question. And at last he said: “It just came over me. I don’t know why. It just came over me, listening to the battling shouts and war-cries of the earth – I got excited, I want to join in.”

The Iron Man, Ted Hughes

 

 

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I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time chasing after all of us.

Peter Pan, J.M.Barrie

 

 

 

 

 

Tiger Bay Books is dedicated to looking closely at what makes children’s literature great and using this in the books we create.

 

 

 

 

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The Dark

image

Written by
Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, each including some funny yet dark dedications, like this one;

For Beatrice
No one could extinguish my love,
Or your house.

Also, when asked to describe his personal philosophy replied ‘Never refuse a breath mint’.

Illustrated by
Jon Klassen
Illustrator, animator, writer, Candian, man. Most known for his award winning ‘This is not my hat’ (which is better than it sounds). He also digs Cormac McCarthy, which is always a strong sign in my book.

Summary
Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the basement. He thinks that if he visits the dark in the dark’s room then it won’t visit him in his. This doesn’t exactly happen but Lazlo nonetheless reaches resolve and understanding of the dark, so that living with it isn’t so bad.

What makes it shelf-worthy?

Without specific examples, I feel like I’ve seen several bad attempts at ‘fear of the dark’ remedies. Sometimes it’s a banished monster in the closet, sometimes a depiction of darkness as something completely trivial. Either way, it turns out as something unrelatable or proof that there was a monster in your room after all, and who’s to say it’s not coming back? Children aside, these books always have a grate of cliché which I just can’t hack.

The Dark is different from these. While it makes The Dark into a person, it otherwise refers to it in literal terms; as ‘at night…it spread itself against the windows and doors of Laszlo’s house’.
Instead of giving a story where darkness is something to be defeated, it concedes that darkness is a part of life and is ‘always close by’. Snicket doesn’t attempt to get rid of the darkness (because that’s impossible), but changes its character to something friendly, even reassuring. The Dark even goes on to explain that many things that we project fear onto are actually common and functional; without a wardrobe there’s nowhere to keep your clothes, without his creaky roof Laszlo would get rained on, without a shower curtain the floor gets wet.

As you might expect, the Jon Klassen makes the most of contrast between light and dark in his illustration. He uses the bursts of orange light from torch, or window, or lamp to frame the objects and text of the book.

Again, matte finish pages with beautifully composed and coloured images make for an excellent object to own. As well as this, the words serve as a great ‘fear of the dark’ remedy and could resonate with some bigger fears than darkness if you found yourself with the time and a philosophical enough frame of mind.

The voice of the dark was as creaky as the roof of the house, and as smooth and cold as the windows, and even though the dark was right next to Laszlo, the voice seemed very far away’