BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- Parents' Choice Foundation announced today five lists, each 25 strong, of the best books, toys, audio products, and software created during its quarter century as the nation’s premier nonprofit guide to quality children’s media. The stellar products on these lists -- Best 25 of 25 Years -- were chosen by a select committee of parents, librarians, critics and educators from the organization’s extensive archives of past Parents’ Choice Award winners. These are, indeed, the very finest contributions to the education and entertainment of children since Parents’ Choice was founded in 1978.
Parents’ Choice Award winners must challenge, inspire, and entertain, igniting imagination, stimulating creativity, and imparting a body of knowledge, all the while being fun. The Best 25 of 25 Years do that and more. According to Parents’ Choice President Claire Green, "You won’t find the items on these lists at the back of the closet, or collecting dust in the basement. They captivate today just as they did when we first reviewed them. The appeal of these products has endured changing fads and passing fancies. They strike a wonderful balance between learning and play."
There are two Best 25 Books lists: an infants-through-9-years list and a 10-years-and-above list. My Very First Mother Goose, by Iona Opie and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, a treasure of classic nursery rhymes, as well as many unfamiliar to American ears; The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon and retold by Virginia Hamilton, animal tales, tall tales, supernatural tales, and "slave tales of freedom"; William Steig’s Doctor DeSoto, the story of wit and pluck winning out over knavery; and Ian Falconer’s charming account of a charismatic little pig named Olivia, all appear on the Best 25 book list for the youngest readers/listeners. Francesca Block’s Weetzie Bat, the story of a high school girl with a bleached-white flattop and pink Harlequin sunglasses; Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, the diary entries of a willful and winning young girl in 1290 England; The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander, about Mickle, Queen August of Westmark, and her love, Theo, and the brutalizing aspects of war; and The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay are among the standouts on the 10-and-over list.
The Best 25 Toys roster includes such favorites as Rubik’s Cube; Hugg-a-Planet, a colorful stuffed globe; and Storybook Village, chunky wood blocks with cutouts that can be configured into a village or an entire fantasy world; Boomwhackers, eight perfectly-tuned plastic percussion tubes; Can You Dig It Sand Tools, the ultimate toolkit for the sand sculptor in your life; and SET, a game of logic, perception, concentration and speed.
The foundation’s Best 25 Audio category includes Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, a book-on-tape that teaches that the important things in life can only be seen with the heart; In My Hometown, a delightful collection of songs by folk artist Tom Chapin; and Latin Lullaby, a collection of hear-melting, spirit-soothing cradle songs.
The Best 25 Software list includes Nancy Drew: Stayed Tuned for Danger, an interactive literary-mystery series; Bumble Games, games that introduce basic numbering and graph-plotting skills as the player is guided by an imaginary creature; and Mindrover: The Europa Project, a problem-solving game in which the player builds a robot.
For a complete roster of every 25 Best of 25 Years product, visit the foundation’s Web site: www.parentschoice.org . Everything on these lists is currently available.
Parents' Choice Foundation is the nation’s oldest nonprofit service organization devoted to advancing parents' informed participation in their children's learning. Parents’ Choice offers consumers the information they need to help ensure that learning doesn’t stop when schools and daycare are over for the day. Employing a national network of educators, librarians, pediatricians, journalists, critics, musicians, celebrities, and children, Parents' Choice evaluates the entire scope of children's media, and every year recognizes the very best with its coveted Parents' Choice Awards.