Top 10 Children’s Tales Set in Magical Lands

From rabbit holes to magical trains, here’s a list of 10 children’s stories that will inspire your children to take intrepid journeys of their own.

Battles, adventure, fantastic lands and magical creatures await you and your children when you read any one of these classic tales. The heroes and heroines of these amazing stories travel by wardrobe, rabbit hole, flying bed, train, and tornado, and the places they go are even more impressive.

Here’s a list of 10 magical children’s stories to inspire your kids to take intrepid journeys of their own:

1) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (1865)

A fall down a rabbit hole takes Alice to Wonderland.

Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland, where animals can speak and magical items cause her to grow and shrink.

After leaving the Mad Hatter’s never-ending tea party, Alice defends the Cheshire Cat from the Queen of Hearts and ends up in mortal danger herself.

Beyond the book: Many stage and screen adaptations, including a 2010 film starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up.

2) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum (1900)

Dorothy’s farmhouse is carried to the Land of Oz by a tornado.

Dorothy’s farmhouse is picked up by a tornado and lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her and freeing the Munchkins from her rule. Revered around Oz, Dorothy nevertheless wishes to return home.

Dorothy travels to the Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz, but her quest is complicated by the Wicked Witch of the West–and the discovery that the Wizard of Oz is nothing more than an old man from Omaha.

Beyond the book: Numerous stage, comic book, literary, and film adaptations, most famously the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up.

3) Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McKay (1905)

Little Nemo rides his bed through Slumberland every night.

Whisked to Slumberland nightly by King Morpheus, Little Nemo encounters imps, giant mushrooms, monkeys and Santa Claus from his flying bed. Slumberland is anything but sleepy, and Little Nemo has to outwit King Morpheus’ attempts to keep him from returning home.

Beyond the book: Adapted to an animated short in 1911, and to films, comic books, and video games.

Reading level: Ages 6 and up.

4) Peter Pan and Wendy, J. M. Barrie (1911)

Peter Pan flies his friends to Neverland using fairy dust.

Peter Pan is the leader of the Lost Boys who live in Neverland. Visiting London, Peter loses his shadow, which is artfully sewn back on by Wendy Darling.

Deciding Wendy will make a perfect mother to his gang, Peter flies her to Neverland. The constant battles with Captain Hook and his allies prompt Wendy to return to London and eventual adulthood.

Beyond the book: Many stage and screen adaptations, including a 2003 film.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up.

5) Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne (1926)

Christopher Robin’s walks in the woods take him to his friends and their adventures.

Christopher Robin is the only human visitor to the Hundred Acre Woods, where his animal friends Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Owl, Kanga and Roo live.

The adventures continue even when Christopher Robin returns home, so there is always something exciting going on whenever he takes a walk in the woods.

Beyond the book: Adapted to books, records, radio, stage, television, and film, including a 2011 feature.

Reading level: Ages 5 to 8.

6) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (1950)

Four children discover Narnia through a mysterious wardrobe.

Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy Pevensie are sent to live with a mysterious professor and discover Narnia when they stumble into his wardrobe.

Populated by fauns, talking animals and magical creatures, Narnia is ruled by the White Witch and plunged in perpetual winter. Aided by the Lion, Aslan, the children free Narnia and restore spring to the land.

Beyond the book: Adapted to the stage and film, including a 2005 feature.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up.

7) A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (1962)

A wormhole transports Meg Murray to other worlds.

Meg Murry and her friends are transported through the universe to other worlds by a tesseract (a wormhole Meg’s father was investigating when he suddenly disappeared).

Guided by three angelic beings, the children search for Meg’s father and free the people of Camazotz from the clutches of a dark force known only as IT.

Beyond the book: Adaptations include a stage play and feature films.

Reading level: Ages 9 and up.

8) In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak (1970)

Mickey floats and flies through the Night Kitchen.

Mickey floats to the Night Kitchen where three bakers inadvertently mix him into their batter.

Mickey escapes by crafting an airplane from the batter, flying into a giant bottle of milk and returning to his bed.

Beyond the book: No known adaptions have been made as of yet.

Reading level: Ages 3 and up.

9) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling (1997)

Harry Potter is taken to Hogwarts by a magical train.

Harry Potter lives a miserable life in London until he discovers he is a wizard and is to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

A magical train takes him to the school, where the peaceful existence of wizards, giants and centaurs is threatened by a dark being Harry must eventually face.

Beyond the book: Adapted to video games and a 2001 film.

Reading level: Ages 9 and up.

10) Coraline, Neil Gaiman (2002)

A tiny door takes Coraline to another world.

Coraline Jones crawls through a tiny door and emerges in a world where everything is better than it was at home. Her toys are alive, her neighbors are vivacious, and her Other Mother indulges her every desire.

When Coraline refuses to let the Other Mother sew buttons into her eyes, Coraline’s real parents are kidnapped and Coraline must defeat the Other Mother to get them back.

Beyond the book: Adapted to a graphic novel, a video game, a musical and a 2009 film.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up.

Widening eyes and sparking imagination — these stories are a great way to introduce the magic of travel to children of all ages. Which other books, old or new, would you add to the list?

If you liked this, you might also like: 8 Superb Children’s Books About Travel.

Main image: Ordinary children travel to magical places and meet all kinds of new friends in tales such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Durova.

4 thoughts on “Top 10 Children’s Tales Set in Magical Lands”

  1. What about The Giver? It didn’t take place in a magical land per say (more of a dystopian society) but I loved that book as a kid. What a clever list!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *