Children's Book Week inspired me to dust off a couple of old boxes and spend some time leafing through some of the books that I loved when I was little. As I sat on my lounge floor eating chocolate biscuits and smiling at the stories I felt like I was seven again, utterly lost in their pages.
I set out to write a blog about my five favourites but there are just TOO many to choose from! So here is a selection of battered, dog-eared and well-loved books that have been with me since childhood and will stay with me well into my twilight years.
Do you remember any of these? What were your favourites?
1. Fish, mice and rabbits
This selection from my younger years are so battered and bruised there is no doubt that they were read a thousand times. There are bits of tape on every one and pages fell out as I flicked through. The Armada Book of Young Verse hooked me with such treats as the following from Spike Milligan.
Down the stream the swans all glide;
It's quite the cheapest way to ride.
Their legs get wet,
Their tummies wetter:
It think after all the bus is better
2. A man in a string vest
I had completely forgotten about this book and television show from the same team who brought us Cockleshell Bay. Looking through made me remember how cosy this book made me feel. Why Harry was in a string vest I have no idea.
3. Something a little bit Scarry
With the recent return of Lowly Worm, Richard Scarry has been in the news lately. I spent hours one afternoon spotting Lowly on each page of a big book with the little ones and it reminded me of this little pink book that is falling apart at the seams with love. It's 'littleness' was my favourite thing. It seemed to be ME sized and the details captivated me for hours.
4. A THREE DIMENSIONAL cottage!
Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book by John S Goodall. So many minute details to explore and did I mention the three dimensional cottage? You could even look in through the windows to see inside. There are no words in this book, just wonderful pictures so I would make the story up myself and imagine myself in the cottage.
Pop up books are brilliant. How do the designers plan such a thing? How do all the moving parts get put together? How does it WORK?
This book occupied me for ages, I'll have to see if it does the same for the little ones.
5. Magical worlds
I can't seem to find my copy of the The Enchanted Wood but that was the book that I remember as a turning point in my reading. It completely transported me to another world, a world I was sure existed with Silky, Saucepan Man and Moonface. I longed to climb the Faraway Tree to meet them. This led on to other Blyton books and then Roald Dahl. I remember being absolutely convinced that I would find a golden ticket in the Club bar in my packed lunch.
Another treat was Helen Clare's 'Five Dolls in a House' in which Elizabeth, the owner of the doll's house, was able to become small enough to go inside and meet the dolls. For some reason one my over-riding memories is of one of the dolls getting measles and being allowed to eat jelly. I remember wishing I had measles so I could have jelly too.
6. A girl called Anne and a boy called Gilbert
I was a bookish girl, the boys called me square, I was teased for being studious. I needed a heroine. Enter Anne of Green Gables. She chatted endlessly, was mischievous and got herself into fixes. She got her best friend drunk, floated down the river as the Lady of Shalott, stood up to Gilbert Blythe when he called her carrots. She was dramatic, clumsy and creative and I really wanted to be her. I LOVED this series and I loved the television show too.
7. What does Father Christmas do for the rest of the year?
It's a good question! This book gave me the answer and I read it endlessly all year round just checking to see what he might be doing in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. I have such an attachment to this book that it sits on my main bookshelf all year round so I can still read it through the year now. It's so beautifully drawn and has so much warmth. Maybe it's the reason that Angel's Great Escape came to me. Christmas is such a magical time and this book made it even more so. Just wonderful.