The Admirable Crichton
Ajeema and His Son
All Cats Are Gray
Amos Fortune: Free Man
At the Earth's Core
Beyond the Mango Tree
The Black Pearl
The Black Stallion
The Body of Christopher Creed
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Cats of Seroster
Fanso and Granny-Flo
The Enchanted Castle
Four Horses for Tishtry
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I would agree that your list does not contain many 'classics' in the traditional sense, and generally these texts would be for children. That said, there are certainly texts which have stood the test of time since their publication. I would select Heidi from your list, as it would probably be the most well-known of your selection.
Those are mostly children's books, and I was surprised to see some of them on the list. Of these, I think Charlotte's Web is the most influential. It's a simple, well-written story. It has powerful themes and beautiful characters. Most adults have read it and remember it. That's why it's the most influential, but I have not read all of those so I don't know if it's exactly the best. That's a bit subjective.
No offense intended, but when did all these books become "classics"? Johanna Spyri's Heidi is a very meritable book, one that has stood the test of hearts and time. Likewise, Charlotte's Web is also of merit as is The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, although my preference for classic horse narratives goes to Anna Sewell's Black Beauty.
Well, from this list, which seems a little limited, I'd suggest that Heidi and The Black Stallion are among the most famous and best beloved. This status may include them in the "best novel" category, also. Some might suggest the titles The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Jacob Have I Loved might fall into the category of "best novel," as well.
I notice that this is only a partial, alphabetized listing, so I'm sure you have some more choices from H-Z. However, of the novels listed, my favorites are:
- THE BLACK PEARL (by Scott O'Dell). A spiritual story set in a coastal California fishing village where the search for pearls is all-important.
- THE BLACK STALLION (by Walter Farley). A great story about a teenage boy and his beautiful black horse.
- THE CAY (by Theodore Taylor). Set on the West Indian island of Aruba during World War II, it tells the story of a young boy and a black sailor who become stranded on an island following a shipwreck.
I think that the answer to this question will vary. Much of it is going to be dependent on the criteria one uses to determine "the best classic novel." I will confess that I struggle a bit to consider any of the choices offered as "best classic novel." With this in mind, I am partial to E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. I think I have yet to see a novel that treats the issue of death with so much honesty and openness. White's novel does not shy away from some fairly serious issues such as sacrifice, loyalty, death, honor in the face of cruelty. I would consider this work "the best" from the list because it helps to understand issues such as these in a manner that makes sense. White's novel does not provide any "easy" or reductive answers, instead choosing to let the complexity of such ideas play itself out and allow the reader to determine if the characters did the right thing. I think that the novel works its merits, but also in the understanding of life lessons in how individuals determine what to do and how shall life be lived.
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