Enid Blyton's The Famous Five has just been voted the nation's favourite children's book according to research from charity Plan UK - in a move that has reignited the debate over childhood literature in the Stylist office. The books we remember reading as a child stay with us for life and every reader has their own strong allegiances to a particular childhood classic. The Famous Five may be genius, but there are plenty of other works of fiction, from picture books to pre-teen classics, that we hold dear. Read on to find out about our selection of the top 50 children's books (decided on after hours of debate and sulking)...
Which of our 50 is your favourite? Or did we miss your ultimate childhood read off our list? Either way, share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (1999)
The most modern of our featured books, The Gruffalo tells the story of a plucky young mouse who evades death in a woodland through his use of cunning and charisma.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
The most famous of The Chronicles of Narnia series, the story follows the adventures of Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy, who discover a fantasy world hidden behind a wardrobe.
The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)
Dahl tells the tale of orphan Sophie who befriends a 24 ft colossal-earred giant and travels with him to the land of giants.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (1952)
The timeless story of a brave barn spider named Charlotte, who saves an ageing pig from the slaughterhouse.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel narrates the story of orphaned Mary Lennox, who discovers a life-changing garden at Misselthwaite Manor.
Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
Another classic from Dahl, this is the deliciously wicked tale of Matilda, a young girl bullied by her headmistress and family - but with a tremendous brain.
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit (1906)
A schoolroom favourite, Edith Nesbit's novel introduced us to adult themes such as the miscarriage of justice and the notion of exile, through the trials and tribulations of the Waterbury children.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908)
The story of plucky and precocious Anne Avery, who is sent to live on Green Gables farm with her, still remains a favourite over a hundred years after it was first published.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (1974)
We followed hapless Mildred Hubble through the Worst Witch series, as she muddled her way through Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches and got into an inordinate number of scrapes.
First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton (1946)
Set in a fictional Cornish boarding school, Blyton's Malory Towers series revolved around Darrell Rivers and her friends, as they solve mysteries and avoid running foul of strict housemistress Miss Potts.
The Queen's Nose by Richard King Smith (1983)
When 10 year-old Melody Parker is given a 50p coin by her Uncle Ginger, little does she know that she has seven wishes to fulfill her every desire.
Naughty Amelia Jane! by Enid Blyton (1939)
The Amelia Jane series narrate the adventures of naughty Amelia Jane, a rag doll who create havoc in her nusery.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (1872)
Susan Coolidge tells the tale of Katy Carr, a young American tomboy - who after a terrible accident, must teach herself to be good and kind despite her illness.
The tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902)
The much loved story of mischevious Peter Rabbit, as he escapes the wrath of Mr McGregor for gorging on vegetables from his garden.
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (1943)
The second in The Faraway Series, this fantastical story follows Jo, Bessie and Fanny who introduce their cousin to their magical friends from a nearby wood.
The Babysitters Club by Anne Martin (1986)
When a group of middle school students from Conneticut set up a babysitting business, they are led to a series of mysteries to solve - classic teen fiction.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)
Grahame's fantasy relates the exploits of Toad, Mole, Badger and Ratty, set in a pastoral English idyll.
George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl (1981)
When George Kranky concucts a mysterious brew for his ailing grandmother, it has magical consequences.
Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
This wildly imaginative book narrates the story of Max, a young boy who grows a mysterious land of 'Wild Things' in his imagination.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)
Set in the fictional 'Hundred Acre Wood', A.A. Milne's stories follow the adventures of Pooh bear, Tiger, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga.
Mr Men by Roger Hargreaves (1971)
Part of a series of 48, each Mr Men book introduces a character whose dominant personality teaches a simple moral lesson.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
The eponymous heroine falls down a rabbit hole by an English riverbank, and discovers a peculiar world which plays with her perception of logic and time.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss (1957)
The mischievious Cat runs riot with two children while their mother is away from home, setting everything right before mysteriously disappearing.
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian (1981)
William, an evacuee from London during World War II, is sent to live with an elderly recluse who eventually teaches him to be more compassionate.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1930)
Part of a series, Ransome's books tell the tales of the Walter and Blackett children, who meet on Wild Cat island and have a series of adeventures.
The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett (1937)
Set in the fictional town of Otwell in England, Garnett's novel portrays the working-class Ruggles famiy and their daily struggles.
The Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith (1956)
This classic story centres around the dalmations Pongo and Missis, whose puppies are abducted by Cruella de Vil - the archetypal villain with a penchant for fur coats.
Vlad the Drac by Ann Jungman (1984)
When a baby Romanian vampire is adopted by the Stone family, he gets himself into a number of scrapes with his siblings Paul and Judy.
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl (1982)
In this hilarious book, Dahl refigures six popular fairytales - Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs and Snow White - giving each one a new and surprising ending.
The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross (1982)
An evil headmaster, with hypnosis powers and a desire for world-domination, comes up against a group of youths (self-titled SPLAT) who are immune to his powers and attempt to thwart his plans.
Stig of the Dump by Clive King (1963)
This ambiguous story follows Barney, who befriends 'Stig' - a caveman who lives close to his grandmother's house. Though the pair cannot talk to each other, they proceed to have a series of unusual adventures.
Choose your own Adventure (1979)
These gamebooks allowed readers to choose the path and outcome of the adventure stories.
The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr (1968)
This sweet book tells the tale of Sophie, whose afternoon tea with her mother is interupted by a Tiger.
Peter Pan & Wendy by J.M. Barrie (1911)
J.M Barrie's magical story follows Peter Pan who befriends the Darling children, and takes them on exciting adventures to Never Never Land.
Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)
When threatened with the destruction of their warren, a group of rebellious rabbits led by Hazel set out on a dangerous journey to find a new home.
Little Old Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen (1956)
Waking up one morning to find she has shrunk to the size of a pepperpot, the eponymous heroine finds herself confronted with a series of problems due to her new stature.
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton (1942)
This memorable series follows Julian, Anne, Dick and George whom - each time they meet in the seaside town of Kirrin -find themselves in the midst of a new adventure.
Dogger by Shirley Hughes (1977)
A heartwarming tale of a young boy, Dave, who loses his favourite toy Dogger.
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown (1964)
Flattened by a bulletin board, the book traces Stanley Lambchop's struggle to come to terms with his new appearance.
The Twins at St. Clare's by Enid Blyton (1941)
A school story for girls, Blyton's series portrays the O'Sullivan Twins' snobbish resistance to their new school, including an acrimonious relationship with their French mistress Mam'Zelle.
Mrs Frisby and the rats of Niamh by Robert C. O'Brien
A classic tale of survival which sees Mrs Frisby the field mouse fighting to preserve her home - and the life of her son, Timothy - helped by Jeremy the crow. Mrs Frisby's actions also see a group of rats avoid extermination.
Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg (1983)
One of the most loved collections of all time, Ahlberg's poetry and prose in 'Please Mrs Butler' deals with classic classroom issues - from copycats to cliques.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
Some of the Stylist team remember this cult picture book as their very first read. The beloved tale of a gluttonous caterpillar (who eats through the pages of the book itself) has sold more than 12 million copies and been translated into 20 languages.
Carrie's War by Nina Bawden (1973)
Set during the second world war, the novel follows evacuees Carrie and Nick Willow as they wrestle with homesickness, a bullying Mr Evans and a supposed family curse.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
This timeless tale follows the fate of Dorothy, whom after being caught in a cyclone in Kansas, finds herself in the mysterious Land of Oz.
Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene (1930)
Living in the fictional town of River Heights, 18 year-old Nancy Drew is an amateur girl detective, trying to solve cases that she stumbles upon.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Spoiled and snobbish, Sara Crewe finds herself unexpectedly orphaned at the age of seven, seemingly destined for a future of drudgery.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The charming story of the March family’s hardships and adventures in Civil War New England created four of the most iconic sisters in American literature. Whether you admire kind Beth, spirited writer Jo or adventurous Amy, each reader has a favourite ‘little woman’ by the end of the book.
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley
The plucky heroine in a pink and white candy striped dress (and a favourite of our columnist Lucy Mangan), Milly Molly Mandy’s stories of everyday village life – from her “nice white cottage with the thatched roof”, to fishing and picnics with Little-Friend-Susan and Billy Blunt - have enchanted young readers since 1925.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Borrowers are tiny people who secretly live in the houses of “human beans”, and “borrow” things to survive. The first novel in the series (which was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal) tells the tale of the Clock Borrower family and their spirited teenager daughter Arrietty, frustrated with life under the floorboards.