Monday, 4 April 2011

C is for ......Children's Fiction

As a child I was an avid reader but there were a few favourites that were read and re-read frequently. As my own children grew I rediscovered the magic as I shared my favourites with them.

Alas, one book I’d not been able to find to re-live with them was Enid Blyton’s ‘The Treasure Hunters'.
However, a recent trip to the delightful ‘town of bookshops’, Hay on Wye, brought me face to face with my past – well, a small part of it, anyway! Rummaging through the shelves in the largest bookshop in the town, my daughter handed me a copy of the aforementioned title and straight away I was transported back to my youth! (And an interesting aside, Enid Blyton wrote this tale under the pseudonym of Mary Pollock – never knew that!)

OK, so it was a paperback binding and my original had been a cloth and board bound gem picked up at a jumble sale, but flicking through the pages I was right back there with Jeffrey, John and Susan Greyling, attempting to decipher an old treasure map and trying to thwart the intentions of the ‘baddie’ Mr Potts, who wanted to con the family out of it’s stately family ‘pile’! It matters not to me that it is very much set in a time when values of loyalty, obedience and honour were so different to children’s fiction today – I think it’s quirky and nostalgic and I love it!

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the companion novel of ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ were beloved bed-time reading. I looked forward to re-acquainting myself with all the various characters - my favourite was the snooty caterpillar! (I loved this so much that a recent fiction challenge inspired this story called “Seeing’s Believing”)

The ‘Katy’ stories by Susan Coolidge fascinated me and I never grew tired of reading what she ‘did’, what she did ‘at school’ and what she did ‘next’. It was interesting to read about home and family life in nineteenth century America – a world away from 1960’s Britain! I’ve not been able to track down the two later books in the series – Clover and In the High Valley – I wonder what they were like?

There were many other books I read, usually junkshop and jumble sale ‘finds’ plus my weekly trawl of the local library shelves, but I inevitably returned to my favourites - perhaps they were my literary equivalent of a ‘Linus’ blanket?

Now, appetite whetted, I’m off to join the Treasure Hunters and see how the Greyling children aim to defy the nasty Mr Potts…..!


  1. 'Children's' fiction is great. Some of the best books that I've read at any time in my life have been children's books.

    In fact, when it's Monday in this part of the world, I'm probably going to dedicate my 'C' to a particular children's fantasy series.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. We have similar loves and reactions when we find old treasures! I love good theological works of old. Never got into children's fiction. My folks never read to us and I confess I didn't read much to my four girls. Their mother did and I would occassionaly when pressed upon, I would rather tell them stories I had heard or made up or changed. Good post!
    Gregg Metcalf
    Colossians 1:28-29

    Gospel-driven Disciples

  3. I never read Enid Blyton when i was a kid. It was all Bobbsey Twins - all the time. I had an aunt who would send me a new book every Christmas.
    I still feel the thrill when I see those books...know what you mean.

  4. I love "kiddie lit"! Two of my childhood favorites were The Diamond in the Window and the Lad a Dog series. I also prowl around and try to find old friends on used book shelves. Er, the books are used, not the shelves....

    Thanks for the memories!

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  5. Great post. I love children's books, Sue. (The hardest books to write, by the way.) Now and then I buy one for myself - yup, just for me. But now that I have a granddaughter, I'm buying for two. :)

  6. Great post, Sue! I love rummaging through books and coming across something I was in love with as a child. I think an old book is the quickest way down memory lane...and the most satisfying!

  7. It's so exciting to rediscover the books you once loved, isn't it?! I'm glad you found that Treasure Hunter book. :-)

  8. Hi Sue, while you were commenting on my growlie-wuffta(hehe) I've been having a nosey through your lovely blog. I love the photo of those tiny books :o) very cute! I've set my clock for 2 hours time ;)

  9. I'm not familiar with that Enid Blyton book, but it's neat that you found it while on your own treasure hunt. I love exploring the book stacks in well-stocked shops to look for hidden book treasures. I could spend hours.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during the challenge I will not be doing so at the moment. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.
    Thanks. And I truly appreciate your efforts.

    Tossing It Out

  10. I love rediscovering children's books. I was thrilled when I discovered a copy of Old Black Witch to share with my son. (It has a blueberry pancake recipe on the back cover that I was convinced really was magical as a child.)

    Thanks for the lovely post. I found you through the A to Z Challenge.

    Erin's blog

  11. Nice post! Thanks for sharing! Of those you mentioned I read only Alice In Wonderland so I'll have to find the others... Your blog, post reminds me of a good quote I like very much - The good books for children are of the kind that adults can read too! I guess everyone would agree with me?
    BTW, do you use sites like, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your blog/works, etc and to help "remove" stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI - female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures of mythical creatures, good thoughts, poems from fantasy genre, etc? I'm allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there's a bit of water, or
    Let's watch the moon, let's meet the sun!
    Let's hear soon the way the Deed was done!
    Let's listen to the music the shiny crystals played,
    let's welcome crowds of creatures good and great...
    etc). Best wishes! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons'hunters - my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).