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Robert Dunbar's top fifty
 
The choice
In the autumn 2004 issue of Inis, Robert Dunbar, one of Ireland's leading authorities on children's literature, wrote about his top fifty Irish novels for children and young adults.
 
In making his choice, Robert 'tried to keep in mind both The Irish Times notion of "greatness" and the [John] Carey pleasure principle.'

Optimistic but ...
Robert is generally optimistic about the state of Irish childen's literature, though he does see room for change.
 
'Could it be that ... we are now ready for a little more irreverence, a little more subversion?'

'"Ulster troubles" fiction ... has given us some of the weakest of our recent novels.'

'Too many of our writers have been seduced by our indigenous myth and legend.'


'There are some indications that we should encourage local novels about alcoholism or incest or immigration or lesbianism.'


Top fifty

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Sam McBratney, The Chieftain's Daughter(1993)
Kate Thompson, Annan Water (2004)

Mark O'Sullivan, Angels Without Wings (1997)
Kate Thompson, The Alchemist's Apprentice (2002)
Siobhán Parkinson, Call of the Whales (2000)

Maeve Friel, The Lantern Moon(1996)
Sam McBratney, Mark Time (1976)
Aubrey Flegg, Wings over Delft(2003)
Carlo Gébler, August 44 (2003)
Elizabeth O'Hara, The Hiring Fair (1993)

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

Matthew Sweeney, The Snow Vulture (1992)

Siobhán Parkinson, Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (maybe) (1997)
Eoin Coffer, Benny and Babe (1999)
Gerard Whelan, Dream Invader (1997)
John Quinn, The Summer of Lily and Esme (1991)
Catherine Sefton, The Beat of the Drum (1989)
Margrit Cruickshank, Circling the Triangle (1991)
Frances Browne, Granny's Wonderful Chair (1856) Digital Library
Carlo Uhler, Caught on a Train (2001)

Mark O'Sullivan, White Lies (1997)

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.

30.

Kate Thompson, The Beguilers (2001)
Soinbhe Lally, A Hive for the Honey Bee (1996)
Eoin Coffer, The Wish List (2000)

Eilis Dillon, The Island of Horses (1956)
Jane Mitchell, When Stars Stop Spinning (1993)
Frank Murphy, Lockie and Dadge (1995)
Gerard Whelan, Out of Nowhere (1999)
Maeve Friel, Distant Voices (1994)
Cormac Mac Raois, Lightning over Giltspur (1991)
Siobhán Parkinson, Sisters ... No Way! (1996)

31.

32.

33.

34.

35.

36.

37.

38.

39

40.

Oisin McGann, The Gods and their Machines (2004)

Soinbhe Lally, The Hungry Wind (1997)

Janet McNeill, Goodbye, Dove Square (1969)
Eilís Dillon, The Road to Dunmore (1966)
Margrit Cruickshank, The Door (1996)
Flora Shaw, Castle Blair (1874)
Matthew Sweeney, Fox (2002)
OR Melling, My Blue Country(1996)

Morgan Llywelyn, Cold Places (1995)

Joan O’Neill, Daisy Chain War (1990)

41.

42.

43.

44.

45.

46.

47.

48.

49.

50.

Romie Lambkin, Japanese Whispers (1994)
Mark O'Sullivan, More Than a Match (1996)
William Trevor, Juliet's Story (1991)

Mary Beckett, Hannah or Pink Balloons (1995)
Sebastian Barry, Elsewhere (1985)
Eoin Colfer, The Supernaturalist (2004)
June Considine, View From a Blind Bridge (1992)
Meta Mayne Reid, The Glen Behind the Door (1968)
Marita Conlon-McKenna, Fields of Home (1996)
Pat Boran, All the Way From China (1998)