This is a guest post, written uniquely for this week, by Lisa McLachlan; you can view her blog here. This post also features her cat, Jester. As a blogger, she has also been incredibly supportive of me, and makes for a very interesting pen pal-I love her cat cards! -Lydia
This post is a special one for me. It’s a guest post for Lydia here on http://www.mademoisellewomen.com and also a follow up to to another post on my own blog, where I wrote about my daughter’s favourite books, the ones that (I think) inspired her love of reading. After writing about her choices, I thought it would be fun to share my own top ten favourite childhood books too, so here we go 🙂
1. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
There can’t be many people of my age (!) who don’t know the story of the black horse and his adventures. Written from Beauty’s perspective, the novel covers Victorian England from the upper classes down to the knacker’s yard. It’s a very cleverly written and accessible tale about having consideration for others, and animals in particular. And I absolutely LOVED Ginger, a feisty mare who didn’t suffer fools gladly. Click here to buy the book.
2. Watership Down – Richard Adams
A band of rabbits leave their warren in search of a safe new home and encounter all sorts of dangers along the way. Each rabbit has their own personality and Adams also created a beautiful accompanying rabbit mythology, and a really cool seagull! It’s been described as a WW2 analogy but I think there’s so much more to the book than that. I re-read it recently and loved it all over again – do give it a go if you’ve only ever seen the animated film, you won’t be disappointed. Click here to buy the book.
3. Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
The tales of Moomintroll, Sniff, the Snork Maiden, the Hemulen, Snufkin, and a whole host of other creatures living in Moominvalley have become classics. The Moomins are like small fat white hippopotamuses who keep having adventures in their own utterly charming and magical world. Who knew that Hattifatteners become electric after a lighting storm?! Click here to buy the book.
4. The Famous Five – Enid Blyton
I feel very nostalgic about these books as I read them all, cover to cover, time after time. My favourite was Five Go To Mystery Moor but they were all good, albeit of their time. Maybe rather too much ginger beer, and sometimes I wanted to smack Julian for being so bossy, and Anne for being wet, but who couldn’t love Timmy? And not a mobile phone or computer game in sight either. Click here to buy the book.
5. The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge
Another firm favourite: a family feud, a brave and stubborn heroine, heroes and villains, some magic, and a unicorn! The tale might be a little old fashioned for children today but the story is one that still resonates with me years later. Click here to buy the book.
6. My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
The first book in The Corfu Trilogy, that formed the basis of the recently successful ITV The Durrells series. The books are SO MUCH better though! The stories of how Gerry introduced various fauna into his family villa on Corfu, and how his long suffering family coped (or not) always made me laugh out loud. A must read trilogy, and still relevant for today’s children. Click here to buy the book.
7. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
Really, what is there to say about James and the Giant Peach that hasn’t already been said? The characters are just so brilliantly written and the descriptions of the peach juice, the Cloud Men, and of course, Aunts Sponge and Spiker, are without compare. Dahl was an absolute genius who knew exactly how to appeal to children. The End! Click here to buy.
8. The Hobbit – J R R Tolkein
I first read The Hobbit around the age of nine and loved it straight away. Not as daunting as The Lord of the Rings, it’s a classic fantasy tale with dwarves, elves, goblins, wizards, trolls, SPIDERS, men, and of course, hobbits. I entered into Tolkien’s world completely and never wanted to come out again. Although the Peter Jackson films are wonderful, they still don’t do justice to the language and imagination of the original text. Click here to buy. Click here to buy.
9. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Not just for children, the story is such a sweet one, and the illustrations are beautiful. As children, we all have huge imaginations and see things in very simple terms, but these facilities seem to slip away from us as we grow up. The Little Prince teaches us the most essential lesson: to remember what’s really important in life and to let the rest go. A re-reading of this book has reminded me I do have my own Rose: Flora. Click here to buy.
10. The Dark Is Rising – Susan Cooper
This is a series of five fantasy books, drawing on the legend of King Arthur, and centring on the age old battle between the Dark and the Light for the Pendragon’s heir. Merriman (Merlin) and his warriors help some modern day children follow clues and collect Signs, which then allow the hidden future boy king go back to regain his lost kingdom. Reading that back, I think I’ve made it sound rubbish but, I promise, it’s not! There’s folklore, history, magic, time travel, extremes of beliefs, adventures in spades, and (for a change) a really good female role model. If you saw the truly dreadful 2007 American film, then please banish it from your memory (as I’m sure Susan Cooper has tried to do) and give the books a go. They are the real deal. Click here to buy.
So, these are my top ten childhood favourites, some of which I’ve re-read regularly throughout my adult life. And if I had to pick just one to take on a desert island? It would be my number 10, The Dark Is Rising series, and then I could daydream about Bran and Cafall coming to rescue me ☺
Do you recognise any of my choices? Which were your favourite books to read as a child? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear other recommendations.