Childhood favourites

A busy and marginally stressful week has meant that I simply haven’t had the energy or desire to do anything other than a) curl up under the duvet or b) gorge myself on chinese food and rosé wine…the perfect antidote.  Nevertheless, I have managed to delve into Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, a book I have started before in the past and am now struggling to figure out why I ever stopped, and also make a fair few cheeky online purchases, including wonderful copies of The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman to match the first book of the Northern Lights Trilogy I managed to snap up at a local charity shop a few months ago…

The lovely book man also came to work again, as he does every month. Usually to bring bargainous cookery and children’s books. A few weeks ago I couldn’t believe my luck when he brought in a brand spanking new set of Roald Dahl’s complete works for next to nothing which I quickly put my name down for to give to our beautiful little niece.  Now, yes she is only 8 months old and hardly ready to start her avid reading career, however, I know her parents read to her every night and I think that every child should own works such as Roald Dahl, the Beatrix Potters and the Mr Men books to lose themselves in when the time comes for them to pick them up.  They were so nice that I’m kicking myself for not buying a second set for me and the bf. 
Buying kids books and thinking about what this little girl has to look forward to in the future got me thinking about my own childhood favourites, and my Dad was on hand to help me remember some of them.  Among your classic Roald Dahl’s, Enid Blytons and the obvious picture books still popular today like the wonderful The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle there was one story in particular that both myself and my parents absolutely loved, helped along by the brilliant illustrations; a book called Alistair’s Elephant by Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen.  Alistair is a terribly sensible boy who goes to the zoo every Saturday (the cheapest day for children) but his neat routine is thrown into turmoil one day when an elephant decides to follow him home and stare at him through his bedroom window…
This book is hilarious, mainly because (as I seem to remember)  all the characters are quite funny looking, particularly the massive elephant, who I think was ever so slightly cross-eyed.  If you have young children, or indeed if you happen to be walking past the children’s section in the library and you fancy a read yourself (its fairly rare and possibly even out of print now so a library may be the best bet) this is definitely worth it. It is one of the beloved books of my childhood and I may just have a root around in the loft to see if my parents have kept any others next time I go home and see what other treasures I can unearth…

4 thoughts on “Childhood favourites

  1. Allende is among the authors whose books I savor, like fine cuisine. As to your book, Alastair's Elephant, who wouldn't pick that up from the shelf. What an engaging cover.

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  2. Her writing is amazing isn't it…I really don't want to finish 'Daughter of Fortune', it's so vivid and almost film-like. Have you read 'House of Spirits'? I have a copy in Spanish I've been coveting for a while..

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