It’s just that we think they’re so well established already that you really don’t need to see them on a list like this — you can probably just look over at your shelf.
Encyclopedia Brown, Donald J. Sobol
Good, good Leroy Brown, aka “Encyclopedia” due to his extensive brain power and working knowledge of pretty much everything, was one of our favorite characters as young readers — though Sally Kimball, Brown’s bodyguard, best friend, and trusted purveyor of female perspective, gives him a run for his money. As wonderful as the characters are, though, the setup of the books were even better — each installation was chock-full of mysteries that the reader was invited to solve along with Encyclopedia and Sally (answers in the back), so they encouraged us to work our logical skills as well as our imaginations. ”25 cents per day, plus expenses – No case too small.”
The Time Quintet, Madeleine L’Engle
The Redwall series, Brian Jacques
We don’t know about you, but we spent a good portion of our young lives chronicling the lore of Brian Jacques world of Redwall. After all, the books cover many different time periods and many different conflicts, so that the young, bumbling hero of one book may be a slightly mythic historical figure in another. Filled with complicated battles of good versus evil, a satisfying menagerie of anthropomorphized animals, and more delicious-sounding food than one would ever expect to be in one series, the history of Redwall is rich enough to suck anyone in.
The Earthsea Cycle, Ursula K. LeGuin
The world of Earthsea first appeared in LeGuin’s 1964 story ”The Word of Unbinding,” but so captivated her (and us) that it expanded into six books and six more short stories. Though the books are satisfying in themselves as simple magical adventure stories, LeGuin’s vision has always been a little more complicated than that: as the books go on, she delves into the meaning of magic, the idea of balance in the universe, the importance of women, and the power of someone’s true nature.
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