Children’s Lit Corner

I love a good guessing game. So for today’s blog entry, I have gathered together some of my favorite children’s books and written their first lines here. See if you can guess which book each quote comes from.

1. “‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
2. “Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except…getting a bath.”
3. “Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live.”
4. “Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.”
5. “‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”
6. “My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.”
7. “First of all, let me get something straight. This is a JOURNAL, not a diary.”
8. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.”
9. “Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.”
10. “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”
11. “The primroses were over. Toward the edge of the wood where the ground became open and sloped down to an old fence and a brambly ditch beyond, only a few fading patches of pale yellow still showed among the dog’s mercury and oak-tree roots. On the other side of the fence, the upper part of the field was full of rabbit holes.”
12. “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
13. “The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.”
14. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
15. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
16. “Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place . . .”
17. “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
18. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
19. “The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.”
20. “Nancy Drew, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible.”
21. “Jack had dinner early. Jack needed burping. So Nora had to wait.”
22. “Mr Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he stayed up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.”
23. “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
24. “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do . . .”
25. “The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.”
26. “All children, except one, grow up.”
27. “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”
28. “The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.”
29. “When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.”
30. “The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him ‘WILD THING!’ and Max said ‘I’LL EAT YOU UP!’ so he was sent to bed without eating anything.”
31. “Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.”
32. “One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry.”
33. “Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were-Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.”
34. “When Saffron was eight, and had at last learned to read, she hunted slowly through the color chart pinned up on the kitchen wall.”
35. “That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.”
36. “There was a boy, in the thirteenth century, whose courage and patriotism live on today in a certain trumpet-call, a tune ‘unfinished’ because, as he once blew it, the arrow of an invading Tartar pierced his breast.”
37. “Matthais cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice’s habit.”
38. “My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.”
39. “He saw the first tree shudder and fall, far off in the distance. Then he heard his mother call out the kitchen window: ‘Luke! Inside. Now.’”
40. “Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain. Many years later, Meggie had only to close her eyes and she could still hear it.”
41. “Would Gracie-the-cat be Jealous if the Pyes got another pet—a dog?”
42. “Morgorath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, former Baron of Gorlan in the Kingdom of Araluen, looked out over his bleak, rainswept domain, and, for perhaps the thousandth time, cursed.”
43. “In 1864 Caddie Woodlawn was eleven, and as wild a little tomboy as ever ran the woods of western Wisconsin.”
44. “Their mother had been here in the hospital with the new baby for almost a week. Though the little Penderwick girls had been to visit her every day—sometimes twice a day—it wasn’t enough. They wanted her to come home.”
45. Not every thirgeen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago.”
46. “On a stormy night in March, not long ago, a respectable taxi driver named Ebenezer Jones found himself driving home, very late, through the somewhat wild and sinister district of London known as Rumbury Town.”

Scroll down for the answers!









1. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
2. Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion
3. Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey
4. The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
5. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
6. Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
7. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
8. Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne
9. Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
10. The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket
11. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling
13. The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss
14. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis
15. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
16. Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
17. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
18. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkein
19. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
20. The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene
21. Noisy Nora, by Rosemary Wells
22. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by A. Conan Doyle
23. Matilda, by Roald Dahl
24. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
25. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
26. Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie
27. Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
28. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
29. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
30. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
31. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
32. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
33. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
34. Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay
35. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
36. The Trumpeter of Krakow, by Eric P. Kelly
37. Redwall, by Brian Jacques
38. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale
39. Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
40. Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
41. Ginger Pye, by Eleanor Estes
42. The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan
43. Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
44. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall
45. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi
46. Arabel’s Raven, by Joan Aiken

How did you do? These are also my recommendations for some wonderful books to read this summer! What are your favorite opening lines?

This entry was posted in Children's Lit corner, YA corner. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Children’s Lit Corner

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Marvelous! I didn’t keep careful count, but I believe I got more than half right — certainly if you count generously for series rather than precise title… Those I don’t recognize, I probably should put on my to-read list!

  2. Th. says:


    I knew twenty-four. Though I must admit that I don’t consider all of these children’s books . . . even if I read them as a child.

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