…not including the Harry Potter series – as that is a given.
I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t have a book on the go. Both of my parents are avid readers and would read to my brother and I at bed time when were children. We always had large, overflowing bookcases in our house.
It was recently my birthday and have been feeling in need of a nostalgia trip to boost my spirits. So here we are, a list of 8 books I have dug out from the depths of my bookcase and attic that I loved to read when I was a child.
The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker
Cicely Mary Barker had her first collection of Flower Fairy illustrations and poems titled “Flower Fairies of the Spring” published in 1923, it gained huge popularity quickly which is in no way surprising. The illustrations themselves are so detailed and intricate, it is obvious how much love, thought and attention went in to each one.
This edition published in 1997 contains all of the separate books Barker wrote in one beautiful collection. I wanted to start with this book as it holds a very special place in my heart. It was Grandie – what we called one of my Nannas – who brought this for me when I was a kid, so this collection always reminds me of her. Whenever we would go up to Yorkshire to visit she would always show us around their beautiful garden, telling us the names of all the new flowers that had been planted and were coming through. A love of gardening and flowers is something she has passed down to both her daughter (my Mum) and myself.
So whenever I see a Flower Fairies book in a shop, or catch a glimpse of the spine of this collection on my shelf I smile, inside and out. Rest In Peace Grandie ❤
Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgina Byng
Published in 2002, this is the first of six books which follow the life of Molly Moon as she learns hypnotism and other skills. I will admit, I have only read the first two of the series. But the first one I read over and over again as I enjoyed it so much. My mum got this book for me one day as the cover paper was cool and it had a pug on it. My mum knows how much I love pugs. Actually, thinking about the paper of the book cover – do you remember in school when you use to be able to cover exercise books in wrapping paper? We had paper very similar that I wrapped my (I think) English book in. Ahhh good times! I miss school…
Molly’s tale takes an unexpected turn but, as its a children’s story, all ends well. While in Sainsbury’s the other day I was pleasantly surprised to see they had made a film adaptation of the book – if it hadn’t been the week before payday I would have got it. I forgot about this until now, so I might have to reread the book one weekend then watch the film.
Has anyone here seen it – is it good?
The Ultimate Dog Book by David Taylor
This book was published by Dorling Kindersley in 1990, and is pretty self explanatory. It’s a book about dogs. It showcases multiple different breeds, gives you a history on the breed, explains characteristics and its physical appearance. It also has a cute little size guide to show the average height of each breed.
I use to pour over this book while laying with my old dogs Digger and Jack in front of the fire. It got to a point were if I saw any breed of dog (that was included in the book) I could name it without hesitation. I’m proud to say I still remember them, but the recall has slowed down a bit. They also did other books, one on Cats and another on Horses – but I didn’t enjoy these as much. Dogs will always be number one.
Tales from the Threepenny Bit by Wendy Eyton
Published in 1990 this book features seventeen delightful tales written by Wendy Eyton. The “Threepenny Bit” is the name all of the locals know Eyton’s house by in Derbyshire, the house on the cover of the book is an illustrated version of her own. I think my favourite story from the whole collection was “The Fat Princess” is a tale about, you guessed it, a fat princess. She gets very angry at her lady-in-waiting who cannot zip zips and button buttons. The Princess gets cursed by her fairy godmother – they aren’t all magic carriage makers after all – so whenever she picks up a cake (etc) it becomes a fruit or vegetable. After loosing a lot of weight and a lot of happiness – you would be unhappy too if you were forced to eat cauliflower all day – the gardeners son offers a solution to her problem. The solution sounds ridiculous but it works! They fall and love, get married and honeymoon in a hot air balloon.
I have no idea why that story was always my favourite one, but it all came flooding back when I opened the book.
Sophie’s Further Adventures by Dick King-Smith
Another collection of stories, this has three of the “Sophie” stories written by Dick King-Smith; Sophie in the Saddle (1993), Sophie is Seven (1994) and Sophie’s Lucky (1995) in one edition, published in 1997. I had read other Dick King-Smith books at school – what school kid hasn’t?! – and always liked his style of writing, I also liked that many of his stories involved animals in some way, I have always been a huge animal lover. I believe what first attracted me to the Sophie books was a shared ambition between Sophie and I. I too wanted to be a farmer when I was younger. Though I was much less determined than Sophie and I think the early mornings put me off as I grew up. Sophie is an endearing character, even though she scowls a lot – if memory serves.
Sophie’s Lucky is the last book in the series which is a shame. I would have liked to know if she did get the farm she wanted so. I think she probably did.
My Own Book of Animal Stories
Yet another collection of stories, but this time from a variety of different authors. I remember reading this book so often as I was growing up and even now I remember nearly every tale inside. As each one is buy a different author the style of writing changes as does the accompanying illustrations, this probably helped keep me entertained as a child. But who knows. The book contains seventeen tales, some traditional ones like The Hare and the Tortoise, and Henny-Penny. As well as some not so traditional tales, like Robert’s Winter Coat, which is a tale about a bear who shaves off nearly all of his fur as his is too hot…then steals a fur coat from an old lady until his grows back! But my favourite tale from this book was always the very last one, called Millions of Cats. Its a story of an old man and women who want a cat, so the man goes in search for one. He comes to a hilltop which is covered in cats can’t decide which is prettiest one to take home with him. As expected he just ends up taking ALL of the cats home and the old man and the old women foolishly let the cats decide which one is the prettiest, therefore which one they should keep. Chaos ensues and basically the cats eat each other, all but one, who is apparently a “frightened kitten” but as I’m older I now have my suspicions. If they all ate each other, not including this cat as he apparently didn’t pipe up and say he was prettiest, would there not be two cats left…?
Captain Eco and the Fate of the Earth by Jonathon Porritt and Ellis Nadler
Out of all the books in this list, I think this one has effected me as a person the most. Published in 1991 the message behind the book is just as, if not more, important today as it was then. The book follows Captain Eco on his special mission from The Earth itself to help educate two average Earthlings Clive and Michelle (as well as us the reader) on the importance of the planet, keeping it clean and healthy for us and for the future. The book itself is set out like a comic book and the facts inside are just as relevant today as they were when it was published 26 years ago…which is probably a bad thing.
As I said, I think I really took a lot from this book growing up. I would even go so far as to say that a lot of my environmental awareness and interest in protecting the world came from reading this book over and over as a child.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of Dr. Seuss? You can’t beat a good rhyme.
In fact, this book doesn’t even need an explanation – either of the story or why I liked it so much as a kid.
So I’m going to end this here. Get into bed and re-read The Cat in the Hat.