Top 10 Best Children's Books from the 1970s

The 1970s delivered a plethora of incredible new children's books, including phizz-whizzing tales from Roald Dahl, sensational fantasy books, school stories to treasure and lots more. Check out the list below for the very best children's books from the 1970s, ordered by publication date.

1. Fantastic Mr Fox

Roald Dahl | 1970

Boggis, Bunce and Bean are three horrid, grouchy, ugly farmers. None of them are particularly smart, so how can Mr Fox possibly resist stealing food and drink from their farms? But now, these three foul farmers want to get their own back. Can Mr Fox escape their guns, their plots to kill him, protect his beloved wife and children - and not starve in the process? Fast-paced, funny and full of fun, kids will love this Roald Dahl classic.

2. The Lorax

Dr. Seuss | 1971

Discover the wonderfully zany language, crazy characters and rip-roaring rhyming verse of the fantastic Dr. Seuss in this much-loved favourite tale. A strange, secluded man named the Once-ler selfishly chops down all the precious Truffula trees to grow his business and his wealth, despite repeated warnings from the Lorax about the consequences. What will happen to the poor creatures who need those trees, and can the forest and its inhabitants be saved? This fun, colourful tale also conveys an important environmental message.

3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Judy Blume | 1972

Peter reckons he's got the world's biggest problem: his little brother, Fudge. Fudge causes trouble wherever he goes, and usually, it's Peter's job to clear up his mess! When Peter wins a tiny green turtle called Dribble, he resolves to keep it away from his brother, but somehow, Fudge gets his hands on Dribble... and disaster strikes! What will happen to the little turtle and the bond between the brothers? Discover this hilarious tale from much-loved children's author Judy Blume.

4. Carrie's War

Nina Bawden | 1973

Discover an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War II with this stunning classic novel. Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales with severe shopkeeper Mr Evans and his gentle sister, Lou, whom he cruelly bullies. It's not long before the two children meet a cast of quirky village characters and become immersed in every aspect of village life - including a strange, unsettling mystery they must try to solve. Featuring suspense, intrigue and excitement, young booklovers will be enthralled by this wonderful story.

5. The Great Ghost Rescue

Eva Ibbotson | 1975

Humphrey the Horrible may sound frightening, but he's actually a very friendly skeleton, with sparkling eye sockets and jangling finger bones. He dreams of being ghastly and awful like his brother, or terrifying like his bloodsucking vampire-bat cousins. But when he discovers an evil plot to exorcise his family, Humphrey realises you don't have to be bloodcurdlingly horrid to be a hero! This sensationally spooky story will enthral young readers.

6. Dogger

Shirley Hughes | 1977

Dave's beloved little toy Dogger is a well-worn dog with crooked ears and a friendly face. He means absolutely everything to Dave. So when Dogger goes missing, Dave is devastated. Will he ever find his dear little Dogger? This classic picture book has enchanted children for years and continues to be hugely relatable for kids who have ever lost a favourite toy.

7. The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler

Gene Kemp | 1977

Tyke Tiler and Danny Price are the best of friends, much to the despair of the long-suffering headmaster of Cricklepit Combined School, because wherever these kids go, trouble seems to follow! Stolen money, a sheep's skeleton, fights in class - somehow, it's always trouble that Tyke has to sort out. Can Tyke help the hapless Danny stay out of trouble - and what final surprise does Tyke have in store? Discover this hilarious and captivating tale from award-winning author, Gene Kemp.

8. Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson | 1977

Jesse Aarons is determined to be the fastest runner in class, so when a new girl named Leslie turns out to be faster, he's not happy! But over time, these two misfits develop a close friendship. They embark on all sorts of fantasy adventures in the imaginary land of Terabithia in the woods, but it can only be reached by a rope-swing across a river. What will happen when tragedy strikes whilst Jesse is away? Uplifting and heart-breaking, this book will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

9. The Snowman

Raymond Briggs | 1978

This classic winter picture book has been a much-loved favourite for decades. It features a friendly snowman who comes to life one magical, snow-covered night, and goes on all sorts of adventures with the boy who built him. This enthralling tale is filled with beautiful, delicate illustrations, the perfect book to snuggle up with on a cold night.

10. The Neverending Story

Michael Ende | 1979

This magical tale follows the seemingly small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux, who would be the last person to consider himself a hero. But through the pages of an old book, he uncovers a mysterious world of enchantment, which is falling into decay. The immense task of restoring the world now falls to Bastian, and this sets the stage for a spellbinding adventure.

  • TRX2 5 years +
    Dr Seuss
    5 years +
    (1)
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    Dr Seuss's The Lorax features all the zany language, eccentric characters and bouncy rhyming verses of his well-loved favourites, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, but it also has an important environmental message to convey.

    Even though The Lorax is 30 years old, it's a fresh and fantastic book that still resonates today. The animated film, starring Danny DeVito in the title role, brought the tale to a new generation and now they can enjoy it in its original form!
  • DGG2 3 years +
    Shirley Hughes
    3 years +
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    Dogger by Shirley Hughes will strike a chord with all children aged 3+ who have ever lost their favourite cuddly toy.

    Dogger is a well-worn dog with crooked ears and a friendly face who means everything to Dave, so when he goes missing, Dave is devastated. Will our young hero ever find his friend Dogger? This timeless picture book has lost none of its appeal and is still a tale to which all children and their parents can relate.

    Fans of Dogger will also love Judith Kerr's Mog The Forgetful Cat. Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson has named Dogger as one of her favourite picture books.
  • AOVNR
    Eva Ibbotson
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    'Nobody knew what had gone wrong with Humphrey. Perhaps it was his ectoplasm ...' Humphrey the Horrible sounds scary, but he's actually a very friendly skeleton, with twinkling eye sockets and jangling finger bones. Humphrey dreams of being ghastly, like his brother - a screaming skull - or terrifying, like his bloodsucking vampire-bat cousins. But when Humphrey discovers an evil plot to exorcise his family, he finally realizes you don't have to be spine-chillingly fearsome to be a hero. With beautiful cover illustration by Alex T. Smith, creator of the Claude series, The Great Ghost Rescue is a wonderfully spooky young-fiction title from the award-winning author of Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson. 'Eva Ibbotson weaves a magic like no other. Once enchanted, always enchanted' Michael Morpurgo
  • AKHMQ 9 years +
    Michael Ende
    9 years +
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    Small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Through the pages of an old book he discovers a mysterious world of enchantment - but a world that is falling into decay. The great task of making things well again falls on Bastian and so begins a dazzling, magical adventure.
  • FXD2 7 years +
    Roald Dahl
    7 years +
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    Especially redesigned to celebrate the Roald Dahl 100 celebrations, Fantastic Mr Fox is a funny story about a quick-witted fox who likes to hatch plans - but will he be able to outsmart the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean?

    Boggis is a chicken farmer who only eats boiled chickens smothered in fat; Bunce is a duck-and-goose farmer whose dinner gives him a beastly temper; and Bean is a turkey-and-apple farmer who only drinks strong cider... however, none of them are all that smart so is it any surprise the clever Mr Fox is always creeping down the valley and helping himself to their food? When he hears of their plan to Bang-Bang-Bang shoot him dead, Mr Fox comes up with a thoroughly fantastic plan.

    Fast paced and full of brilliant characters, the story is (of course) accompanied by Quentin Blake's iconic illustrations.
  • AOHWL 9 years +
    Katherine Paterson
    9 years +
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    Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the class, but when a girl named Leslie Burke moves into the neighbouring farm his life changes forever. Even though she runs faster than him, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay - she's clever and funny and not a bit soppy. And it is Leslie who invents Terabithia, the secret country on an island across the creek where he can escape his troublesome family. The only way to reach Terabithia is by rope-swing where Jess and Leslie become King and Queen, defeating giants, sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against their enemies. They are invincible - until tragedy strikes. It is more dreadful than anything Jess had ever dreamed of, but as he struggles to cope with his grief and anger, he finds that his family value him more than he'd thought and that, still King, he could even save Terabithia for the future.
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    Gene Kemp
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    Tyke Tiler and Danny Price are best friends, much to the despair of the headmaster of Cricklepit Combined School - because wherever the pair go, trouble is never far behind. Stolen money, a sheep's skeleton, fights in class...And somehow it's always trouble that Tyke has to sort out. Can Tyke help the hapless Danny stay out of trouble for their last term? And what final surprise does Tyke have in store? Mischief and surprises abound in this hilariously funny classic story from award-winning author Gene Kemp.
  • AHRFJ 3 years +
    Raymond Briggs
    3 years +
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    Everyone's favourite snowman, with a sparkly glitter cover and introduction by Raymond Briggs. One winter's night, a snowman comes to life and an unforgettable adventure begins. Raymond Briggs' favourite classic is a true piece of Christmas magic - narrated entirely through pictures, it captures the wonder and innocence of childhood and is now recognised throughout the world. In 2012 the 30th anniversary of The Snowman was celebrated with a brand new half-hour animation The Snowman and the Snowdog. It introduced a new adorable character, can you guess who? That's right, a lovable snow puppy!
  • CWZ2 9 years +
    Nina Bawden
    9 years +
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    Nina Bawden, award-winning author of The Peppermint Pig, creates an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War Two with her classic novel Carrie's War.

    Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales and live with strict shopkeeper Mr Evans and his sister Lou. They quickly meet a host of quirky village characters and find themselves absorbed into every aspect of life in the village.

    With plenty of suspense and intrigue, this book will enthrall readers aged 9+, fans of Carrie's War may also enjoy Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.
  • AJJMK
    Judy Blume
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    Peter thinks he has the world's biggest problem - his little brother, Fudge. Fudge causes trouble wherever he goes and it's usually up to Peter to sort out the mess. When Peter wins a tiny green turtle called Dribble, he's determined to keep it away from his brother. But when Fudge does get his hands on Dribble - disaster strikes! A new cover edition of the first book in this hugely successful series from the bestselling author and household name Judy Blume.