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Top Ten Childrens Books

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      05.02.2012 17:37
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      I do not read books I devour them, I adore reading and always have and with the birth of my daughter 6 years ago I started reading to her and every night I read two stories at least. I am also really pleased that I have passed my love of books on to my daughters and indeed my eldest has a reading age of a nine year old essentially that means she to cannot wait to find out what will be contained between the pages.

      So how can I possibly pick ten best childrens books wel essentially I cant however I can give you our favourites and as my children are 4 and 6 I will divide this into pre-school and sharing and then staryting school and then the top ten that I wish my daughters to read.

      Pre- school
      1) The Good Mood Hunt by Hiawyn Oram and Joanne Partis. This is a great story about a little girl who wakes up really happy and then remembers that she has nothing for show and tell and her mood changes so her Dad tells her to go and look for her good mood and the story focuses on what she finda as she hunts for her good mood we all love this one and indeed often go on good mood hunts it is a really lovely story and one which is so true.

      2) Babette cole - The trouble with These are classics and ones I enjoyed as a child and which are firm favourites with my children they introduce each family member and why they do not fit in mum is a witch, dad is an inventer Grandad grows massive plants, Gran is an Alien,the illustrations are also a massive treat with babette cole each page is a feast to the eye and has stories within the story a pleasure to read I would also say the Babette Cole books are worth looking at as none disapoint I could make a top ten with just her books.

      3) Guess How Much I love You Sam McBratney This one is again a firm favourite looking at love and how the little one declares his love for his parent and the parent how their love is boundless my girls love this and we have our own version " Ilove you more than choclate circles"! a massive amount in my daughters eyes as she adores minstrels!

      4) Large series -Jill Murphy I can remember reading these as a child and rediscovering these is a pleasure each one is brilliant at the moment our favourite is a piece of cake with mummy decieding that they are on a diet its the childrens helpful comments which make this so brilliant such as "I think Elephants are supposed to be fat" and Mummys got wobbly bits its so true
      the is none so harsh as a child" !

      5) Anthony Browne My Mum / My Dad I love these they are Brilliant the bragging of a child with the classic my mums the srongest woman in the world and there is an illustration of a mother carring 8 shopping bags!

      6) We are going on a Bear hunt -Michael Rosen This is Daddy'd favourite he does all the sounds and loves to read this one it is also a brilliant one as every walk can become a bear hunt amazing how the moaning stops and the fun takes over

      7) The very Hungry Caterpillar -Eric Carle This show the life span of a caterpillar as it becomes a caterpillar my youngest loves this story and will choose it every night if we let her she findsit very funny how much food the caterpillar eats and we always have to deciede what we would love this old story is a classic that keeps on enchanting new children a must for every bookcase.

      8) Cuddle -Beth Shoshanand Jacqueline East. This lovely story looks at what would happen if you cuddled a variety of animals and why in the end cuddling yoyr teddy is best.

      9) Hug - Jez Alborough A really lovely story and one I have been reading for the last 6 years and I am still reading it and I do not think I will tire of this its a really lovely book about a baby monkey who gets seperated from his mother and all he wants is a hug its a really lovely book.
      10) Giraffes Cant Dance- Giles Andrede this is a lovely story about a giraffe who cannot dance but wants to and how he finds hisdancing feet a lovely story.

      School age top ten my daughter is 6 and is discovering a love of reading and these are her top ten at the moment.
      1) The twits - Roald Dahl she is discovering the wonderful world of roald dahl and this is her first step into that world and currently the book she is saving her pocket money for.
      2) The worst witch -Jill Murphy again a new discovery a great series based on an inept witch and the trouble she gets into.

      3) Matilda -Roald Dahl another classic by a master story teller anything with his name on is worth reading

      4) Winnie the witch korky Paul these are great as she has already been introduced to winnie in picture books and so already knows the characters making these ones she can read totally independantly.

      5) Mr Majekica -Humphery Carter these really make her laugh out loud, she loves them

      6) Horrid Henry- Francesca simon I am always surprised by my daughter liking Horrid Henry as to me these are stories my brothers likes not girls books but as she says they are funny

      7) Rainbow magic -Daisy meadows there are lots and lots in this series about differant fairiesand she laps these up really these are what encouraged her to start on chapter books

      8) Horrid histories these are really clever as they are full of funny facts and really encourage learning through fun.

      9) Please Mrs Butler-Alan Ahlberg this one was a present from her Uncle and I was amazed to see it again as it was one from our childhood and succesfully introduced her to poetry

      10) Sophie -Dick King Smith Another superb author and these sophie adventures are devoured by my daughter.

      Well what a long review so the final ten are the childhood classics that I cannot wait to share with my daughters and these are.

      1) BFG Roald Dahl I can still her my father's voice as he became the giant and the wonder of the dream catcher to me the very best story I loved it and only hope I can read it as well as my Dad did.

      2) Stig of the dump -clive king I recently re-read this to my younger brother and the joy of re-discovering this was wonderful indeed.

      3) When Hitler stole pink Rabbit -Judith Kerr I cried and cried at this book it is amazing it is the story of Anna a nine year old German Jew who when fleeing she takes her new teddy not her old pink rabbit it is simply written but truly moving and a great way to get understanding in a child.

      4) Goodnight Mister Tom-michelle magorian. A wonderful story again about the second world war and an evacuee who is sent to live with Mister Tom and how they both gain from the relationship a story about love , friendship and survival this was later made into a film with john thaw and both the book and film are excellant.

      5) The secret Garden- Frances hodgson-burnett I can still recall being transported into the magical garden a wonderful story which is a complete classic indeed one I would read again.

      6) Toms Midnight Garden-phillipa pearce when the clock strikes thirteen the magic begins this is a wonderful story of friendship another true classic

      7) pippi Longstocking -Astrid lindgren We are just starting to explore this story at the moment and although as the author is dutch it has some differances the girls are enjoying the adventures of the parent-less pippi and her very funny adventures it is a little daft but then so are all the best stories

      8) Harry Pooter -J.K.Rowling I can remember the discovery of Harry Potter I was babysitting for my nephews and neice and having finally finished reading to the younger ones I read a chapter of this to my eldest nephew and that was it I was hooked a fantastic imagination just a great world to disapear into.

      9) The Railway Children-E Nesbit my eldest has already seen the film but nothing can compete to the thrill of reading this total classic a story that has stood the test of time and really is wonderful.

      10) I really am struggling to come up with only ten I could go on forever so instead of a tenth I am just going to say Enid Blyton as to anyone who read these who didnt want an adventure with the secret seven or famous five as a girl I would have given my eye teeth to go to malory towers and play lacrose and have a tuck box!


      To me books are a joy a whole new world to explore a way to escape to be someplace else and to me there any book is a good book and I firmly believe children should have lots and lots of books we visit our libary and local charity shops and car boot sales so get reading.

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        06.07.2009 22:25
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        Highly Recommended

        I've always been a bit of a reader myself, and I've always been especially keen on kid's books. There are some amazing ones out there that really help to nurture a positive interest in young children right from a few months of age. Our grandson was mad about 'That's Not My Tractor..." from just five months old, and these days he's probably got more books than all three of my kids had put together at his age! My top ten children's books are based on what I share with the grandson today, rather than kid's books I remember over the years. Most of these are suitable for pre-schoolers.

        10. I Forgot to Say I Love You

        I Forgot to Say I Love You is a sweet little book by Miriam Moss and Anna Currey. It's a lovely little story about little Billy Bear and his childlike ways making Mum late. Mum's so cross, she hurries off without remembering to tell Billy she loves him like she usually does. Poor Billy is really sad, but fortunately Mum comes back to apologise and make it up to him. It's a sweet story for parents and kids alike, and it's got lovely illustrations in it. The grandson doesn't get the sentiment of it much, but he certainly likes the relationship between Billy and his soft toy which is something that the grandson can definitely relate to.

        9. Farmer Duck

        Farmer Duck is by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury. It's another lovely picture book with lots of big, detailed illustrations throughout. It tells the story of a poor overworked duck who has to do everything on the farm, while the fat lazy farmer sits in bed all day eating chocolates. The animals revolt towards the end of the book, and take over the farm for themselves. The grandson loves how they replace actual conversation in this book with animal noises to represent what they might be saying. It took him a while to understand what they were doing, but when he got it, he thought it was really funny. Being a duck fan, he loved the hero of the tale best of all.

        8. Wilbie Finds a Friend

        Wilbie Finds a Friend is by Sally Chambers and probably isn't as well known as some of the other titles in this list. The grandson is mad about ducks in general, so naturally this was always going to appeal to him. I think a lot of kids would like this little tale regardless of the duck's involvement though. It tells a nice little story about how Wilbie the duck finds something in common with his elderly next door neighbour, a football fan like himself. He realises that old people aren't always stuffy and boring after all!

        7. Give the Dog a Bone

        Give the Dog a Bone is a Funnybones book by Allan Ahlberg. It tells the story of the little dog skeleton going for a walk, and losing all his bones along the way so that he has to be picked up and put back together again. This is a really great story for kids who like a bit of a challenge in fun and visual ways. The pictures lead us all around the night time town, following the skeletons as they try to sort out the skeleton dog. The illustrations are really quirky and innovative in places which I think makes this book really stand out from the crowd.

        6. Usborne Book of Farmyard Tales

        The Usborne Book of Farmyard Tales is by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright. There are a few different editions around from what I've seen, so you need to make sure you buy the one that suits your own kid. The one we've got is the original format I believe, with short stories and lots of small print text for adults to read. The other, newer versions I've seen with slightly varying names (same authors) have large print text with shorter stories for kids to read themselves. We love this book because we can dip in and out of familiar characters within a series of different stories. There are loads of animals on every page, which the grandson approves of, and the stories are short, chirpy and well written. There's also a fun little 'find the duck' game to play on every page.

        5. The Gruffalo

        The Gruffalo is by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It tells the story of a little mouse wandering through the forest one day. On his way, he meets lots of scary animals, but he's not afraid of them. He's not afraid because he tells them he's on his way to meet a Gruffalo, and the Gruffalo is a big scary monster who likes to eat whichever animal the little mouse happens to be speaking to. We love the way this story flows so smoothly, with lots of clever rhymes throughout. There are bright, colourful and bold illustrations on every page too, including a scary but friendly looking Gruffalo.

        4. Dance of the Dinosaurs

        Dance of the Dinosaurs is by by Colin Hawkins and Jacqui Hawkins. It's a lovely large picture book that's filled with some really bright and appealing illustrations. The story is written in a fast-paced rhyme that's really easy to get swept along with. It's all about a group of children who travel off into the sky to find out how a storm is made. And of course, as we all know, a storm is made by dinosaurs dancing! There are loads of great crashing and thrashing words in this book that really help to make this story come alive. It's fun for kids to listen to, and it's fun for adults to read too.

        3. Cuddly Dudley

        Cuddly Dudley by Jez Alborough tells the story of a penguin called Dudley who is just so cuddly. All his brothers and sisters won't leave him alone, they can't - he's just too cuddly to resist! One day Dudley goes off alone and finds a little wooden house to live in. But oh no, there's a great big man at the door - and he wants to cuddle Dudley too! So Dudley runs off and quickly finds himself lost and alone. It isn't for long though, as his brothers and sisters soon reappear wanting more cuddles if Dudley has finished being alone now. This book is written in really great rhymes, and there's lots of boldly printed words to add depth and emphasis to the story as well. The pictures aren't the best I've seen by Jez Alborough but the grandson absolutely loves them, especially all the penguins.

        2. Hit the Ball Duck

        Hit the Ball Duck is also by Jez Alborough, and probably my absolute favourite children's book to read. There's something about it that's just so much fun! The rhymes flow readily and there's no awkward or uncomfortable pauses anywhere in this book for me. I love the use of the little repeated phrases like "with a hop, and a step, and a one, two, three..." in particular. The illustrations are bright and welcoming, with the star of the book being Duck from Jez Alborough's popular Duck in a Truck series. In this story, Duck in his over-zealous typical manner manages to get the gang's baseball stuck up in a tree. This is quickly followed by their bat and glove too! The gang have to work together to get it down, which I think is a great way of teaching kid's about team work.

        1. This is the Bear

        This is the Bear by Sarah Hayes and Helen Craig is number one in our house at the moment. We all think that little Fred Bear is a handsome, cheeky little chap. The story is written in a really great rhyming manner, in large print that early readers will be able to manage unaided. It follows poor Fred Bear as he winds up in the bin getting carted off to the dump. He's really cross about it, but all is forgiven once he's home and cleaned up and ready for bed. In fact he can't wait for his next day out! The funny little speech bubbles add amusement here, especially for the adults reading the story, and the illustrations are simple but attractive.

        So that's my top ten children's books, and this is probably the longest review I think I have ever written (or ever will!). As you can probably tell, we've read a lot of books and will continue to do so in the months and years to come. No matter how old I get, nothing can replace for me the simplistic genius of a well written children's book. And I love to think that I'm doing my best to help instill a life-long love of books into a young lad while I'm enjoying myself along the way.

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          21.06.2009 13:13
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          The books of a Canadian/British childhood

          As with many folks who've written in this category, I've been an avid book person practically since birth. My parents have photos of me before the age of two sitting "reading" to my stuffed animals and I quickly memorised my favourite stories much to the chagrin of my dad who would occasionally try to skip a page or two at bedtime. Growing up in Canada my list might be a little different than some of yours. But it seems that some books were loved on both sides of the pond! There are many children's books I've come to love as an adult but am limiting myself to ones that were around when I was in fact a child. I'm not listing in order of most to least favourite. I can't rank the books I still love that way. I'm merely limiting myself to ten!


          Paperbag Princess- Robert Munsch

          Munsch is one of the most popular and well-known Canadian children's writers of all time. The only book that Brits might run into in a bookshop is "Love you forever" which is a wonderful book, but not on my list as it didn't come out until I was much older. Many of his books are based on children Munsch has known and often have everyday themes relevant to Canadian children such as snowsuits, cold weather, trips to the store and train stations being put in your sitting room (maybe the last one isn't so every day). Munsch's books are almost all illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Together they make a delightful team.

          The Paperbag Princess tells the story of Prince Ronald, a slightly prissy boy, who is kidnapped by a dragon. His princess dons a paperbag as her clothes have been burned off by the dragon's visit and goes to rescue him. It is a delightful tale of how the girl tricks the dragon and saves the day, only to be told by Ronald to return when she is cleaner and more suitably dress. Needless to say I learned a lot about how such men should be treated from this book.


          Velveteen Rabbit- Margery Williams

          The Velveteen Rabbit was first published in 1922 and remains popular to this day. In the UK it is currently a very popular work with those planning weddings as there is a section about love and pain which is regularly used as a reading during wedding ceremonies. It is a familiar story to many, I'm sure, and from a very young age it touched me. My favourite childhood stuffed animal was a bunny and to me he was as real as the rabbit in the story. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

          The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a rabbit made of velveteen who is a Christmas present for a wealthy little boy with a nursery full of expensive toys. The poor little rabbit is snubbed by the other toys until one day the little boy chooses him to be his constant companion. The boy and the rabbit go everywhere together until one day the boy becomes terribly ill with scarlet fever. The rabbit stays with him through out, but when the boy recovers, everything from the nursery that might carry infection must be destroyed. Facing the loss of his boy the little velveteen rabbit cries real tears and for his love and loyalty he is turned into a real rabbit at last. As the boy grows up he often sees a little brown rabbit in the woods, never realising that his rabbit remembers him still.

          Going to need a minute to find tissue before coming up with next book!


          Ballet Shoes- Noel Streatfeild

          Originally published in 1936 Ballet Shoes is the first of the "shoes" books by Noel Streatfeild. It's occurred to me that many of my favourite childhood books were already classics by the time I got to them! Perhaps I was an old soul even then!

          The shoes books follow the lives of Pauline, Petrova and Posy, three adopted sisters. They are found and adopted by Great-uncle Matthew who is a well-meaning sort but an absentee guardian. They are left in the care of Sylvia and Nana and together the female household make their way in the world. In his absence the little family find them selves quite impoverished and it is only through the help of kindly outsiders who recognise the potential of the girls, that they are able to stay in school. The title of the book is a reference to the fact that the girls are given scholarships to a performing arts school by Miss Theo Dane. The girls use their training to help support the family while each developing their own sense of self and aspiring to greatness in their own way.


          Anne of Green Gables- L. M. Montgomery

          L.M. Montgomery is a Canadian writer whose novel, Anne of Green Gables, has captured the imagination of people all over the world since it was published in 1908. Anne of Green Gables was in fact the first in a series of eight books though the others are less well known. It has since been made into a trilogy of movies and thousands of tourists visit Montgomery's home on Prince Edward Island every year.

          Anne of Green Gables starts the story of the strong-willed, big-hearted, orange-haired orphan Anne Shirley. After a childhood low on love and heavy on responsibility, Anne is accidentally adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert and brought to live at Green Gables near the town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Marilla and Matthew meant to adopt a boy who would be able to help Matthew on the farm but the quiet, shy Matthew soon becomes attached to the well-meaning but mischevious moppet and insists on keeping her. Through such mishaps as dying her hair green and accidentally intoxicating her bestfriend, Anne grows into an ambitious young woman. The other books follow her life as she becomes a teacher and author, falls in love and has a family of her own.


          Babysitters Club- Ann M. Martin

          Ok, finally a fairly low-brow, contemporary set of books that I became fiercely attached to. This series of books followed the lives of a group of American pre-teens who share a common interest in babysitting. In order to provide their town with the best babysitting possible and make themselves some money they form a business, hold regular meetings and even set up summer daycare programs. Each girl (and eventually a boy) has a clearly defined personality with interests such as art (Claudia), sports (Kristy), books (Mary Anne) and fashion (Stacy). Additionally the girls face issues such as parental divorce and remarriage, diabetes and the introduction of new characters as well as being parted from their friends. Most girls of my age got into babysitting as soon as we were old enough because of these books! Also proved a great way to pay for things through high school!


          Charlotte's Web- E.B. White

          Not meaning to offend anyone but I think if I have to explain the popularity of this one to you, you may have been living under a rock for the last few decades. Now a popular play and film, Charlotte's Web, tells the story of a young pig named Wilbur, the runt of a litter, who is hand raised by a little girl named Fern and eventually given home on Zuckerman's farm. Wilbur is soon popular with all of the farm animals who try to protect him from the reality of what happens to pigs when they are fully grown. Eventually Wilbur realises his days are numbered, but his bestfriend, Charlotte, who is also a spider insists she will rescue him. It is a touching book of friendship and loyalty. For a city girl it was also an interesting look at farm life (about as close as I really wanted to get to a real farm actually!).


          The Frances Books- Russell Hoban

          The Frances books are another classic that I fell in love with as a child because of the illustrations. Written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, the Frances books include Bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances and a Birthday for Frances which were published in the 1960s. There are several others but those were the ones I owned as a child. Many of Hoban's books are out of print, but, as his most popular works, the Frances books continue to be available.

          Frances is a young badger with a very patient mother. Each of the books contains simple lessons and morals as Frances learns to love her little sister, try new foods and go to bed! The stories are not complicated, but the books are lovely in their own way.


          The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C. S. Lewis


          This was the first of Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series that I ever read. I was actually introduced to it at school as well as several others. As a child I found it the most engaging of the Narnia books and it makes sense that Disney chose it to start off its series of novels. As an adult I've come to love A Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle more, but when I was a child it was this one.

          The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe introduces us to Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter Pevensie who have been sent to the country for their safety during WWII. They discover an entrance to a land called Narnia through the back of a wardrobe and find that there is a prophecy foretelling their arrival. They are called upon to help save Narnia from the clutches of the White Witch who keeps Narnia in a state of perpetual winter but never allows Christmas. Full of Christian symbolism, the book can be enjoyed by anyone as a moral tale of adventure, redemption and faith.


          Boxcar Children- Gertrude Chandler Warner

          Some of you will think I mean The Railway Children, but this is in fact a series of books by an American writer about four orphans, Henry, Jesse, Violet and Benny who make a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar. In the absence of adults, the children organise their home in the way they think a typical home is run, while at the same time having adventures. In their minds their legal guardian and grandfather is a cruel terrible man, but in the end they meet him and he is proved to be everything they could hope for. When they move to his home the boxcar comes with them as it has become part of the family. This is another old book that I had moments of thinking I'd made up until I googled it! Originally published in 1924 the Boxcar Children is a tale from a simpler, safer time.


          Paddington Bear- Michael Bond

          The first of the Paddington books, "A Bear Called Paddington", was published in 1958 and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum who I believe illustrated all of the Paddington books. It introduced us to the lovely little bear from Peru, discovered on Paddington station by the Brown family. The little brown bear in his blue coat and red hat stole the hearts of the Browns and the rest of us with his sticky pawed love of marmalade and tendency to get in a little bit of trouble. Paddington was not as popular in Canada but my English mother made sure we had all of the books at our house!


          Thank you for allowing me to indulge in a little trip down memory lane. Perhaps you'll find yourself googling a childhood favourite that you haven't thought about in years as well.

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            06.06.2009 14:21
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            sorry for the length!!!

            I have always been an avid bookworm. From the days of "the yellow house" and "the red house" at infant school right up to modern day housebricks of books. I'm going to exercise boasting rights here and clearly remember being asked to read for the class 2 years below me at infants because I was so advanced for my age. It is the only time in my life, the one and only time that I can profess to be advanced at anything at all so therefore still make sure I get my mileage out of the fact twenty xxx years later!! As such I have a very very long top 30 of childrens books that I absolutely adored, some very young indeed and others once I was able to understand and follow a storyline became a staple of my bookcase. Many are there to this day

            1) Top of the list was a real struggle between my absolute favourite "Winnie the Pooh" and a book that my mother used to read to me when I was very young. Both of these books hold a very strong attachment to my relationship with my mother but in the end a book named "i'll love you forever" won out.

            This book is for very young children but the message stays for a lifetime. The story follows a mother who has her first child, a son. As a baby she sings to him the following song "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I am living, My baby you will be" This theme continues as he grows up, and goes through his adolescent misdemeanours. The message being that as we grow up, no matter what we do or what path our life takes a mothers love is all enduring and will never die. The final page in the book shows the Son as an adult and the mother as an old lady, very frail and clearly about to shuffle towards her bucket for a good firm kick. this time it is the son singing to his mother the words "I'll love you forever, i'll like you for always, as long as i am living, my mother you will be"
            This story may seem unbelievably saccharine but for a mother child relationship is a lovely story to read to your child. It remains on my mothers book case and is now read to my Niece with a slight amendment of words""

            2) Winnie the pooh. The whole lot!!!! What an absolute classic. Who, as a child, grew up without the stories of Edward Bear, Tigger, Eeyore (my absolute hero and life model but we'll come more onto that shortly) Piglet et al. Set within the beautiful tranquil Ashdown Forest in Surrey, the stories follow the rather active imaginative play of AA Milnes son, Christopher Robin and his assorted accompanyment of small stuffed toys. The enchanted place at the top of the forest, where we wave goodbye to our friends, does actually exist. As does pooh bridge. I know. I have been there and I have allowed my stick to "fall in a twitchy kind of way" only for it promptly to get stuck among the masses of twigs left by tourists whose childhood clearly followed a similar path to mine. :o) Running through all of the stories is a moralistic theme, be it friendship, teamwork or how to trap a heffalump and teaches children a good lesson about how to form relationships. Underlying also though is a very adult theme on the philosophy of life, indeed two books have been written relating the tales to the ancient philosophy of taoism. Slightly beyond me that one but eeyores overtly philosophical take on life has, in my doldrum days taught me a thing or two about how to dealw ith the world! Sayings such as "some of us do and some of don't. we can't all and thats just the way it is."
            If you have children, read it to them. If you don't, read it yourself. No one of any age can fail to fall in love with them.

            3) Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers Series Books 1-8

            Set around the adventures of 2 girls attending the boarding school of "Mallory Towers" set somewhere in the north of england. I can't remember much about these books other than the fact that I loved them! I think they are still lurking in the folks loft somewhere and definately require a dig out! Regaling us with typical Blyton tales of lacrosse, picnics in the sun and ginger beer. Think St Trinians with manners and you'll get the general idea!

            4) Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" Still present on the Faulkner family book case is my pretty soon to be antique copy of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales. A master story writer in his own right, the tale of the little match girl moved me to tears as a child and still does for its poignancy all these years on.
            Starting on a snowy christmas eve, the match girl, whose name is never revealed to us is sat in a cold doorway dressed in nothing but rags. Selling matches is her only way of making money and being able to eat. the coldness was so bitter that her only way of keeping warm was to light a match, despite knowing the whipping she would get from her evil minder for doing so.
            She lights the first match and in its bright flames sees the most beautiful christmas tree imaginable. Bedecked with presents and the family playing around it. She exclaims loudly and hurridly lights another match. In this she sees the biggest christmas spread that makes her feel so hungry! as she carries on examining the scenes in each match she realises that she has used them all up!!! The ending you will have to read to see... But a fantastic childrens tale and one of my favourite!!!

            5) The famous five. who didnt love them!!!! I actually had a picnic the other day (see windsor review) that was set around the famous five. We had fruit cake and "lashings of ginger beer!" all we needed was a pirate boat and Timmy the dog and I would've been in the book! fantastic.

            6) (oh my goodness this review is over 1000 words, i'd best wind it up now!!!) has to go to Black Beauty, a timeless classic that never fails to impress. Beauty was a horse born to upper class keepers and was kept in the lap of luxury. Bought up with good manners by his mother he was sold after the death of his keeper to his much loved and extremely caring cab owner. Parted from his friends Ginger and Merrylegs many of his thoughts are towards them and the fate that befell them on parting company. thus we get to see a different side to the comfortable life that Beauty has and gain an insight into the brutal side of equine life with the cruelty shown towards poor Ginger. It isnt long however until Beauty also falls on hard times. How will our equine hero end up? This story is a beautifully written slap on the wrist to the london cab owners that existed in the victorian ages, at the time that Anna Sewell wrote her tale.

            7) "Topsy and Tim" stories. Written about a brother and sister and their adventures through daily life, "Topsy and Tim go for a swim" and "topsy and tims wet and windy day" are two titles that I recall. I was always immensely pleased when my mum would get home from work adn bring a new topsy and tim with her as a treat!

            8) Beatrix Potter, any and all stories... Goes without any want or need of an explanation. Timeless classics that will endure for many years yet.

            9) Peterkin Finds a Star. A beautifully illustrated story about a little boy named peterkin and his friends who go for a walk in the woods one night. Reaching up he plucks a friendly star and takes it home to keep as his friend. However the star soon begins to fade and become sick until Peterkin realises that the only way to make him feel better is to put him back in the sky. The illustrations absolutely make this book and the moral is not to take things from their natural environment.

            10) faaaar to many contenders to pick one for number 10 slot.

            I am glad that as a child I was encouraged to read. Every one of teh books listed above either contribute towards my learning in a way or brings back a fond memory of reading the book or having it read to me. It is something that in my adult life I still pursue and encourage anyone with non reading children out there to try to get them interested.

            I've really quite enjoyed typing this review and hope someone enjoys reading it. If you have made it this far I salute you!! :o)

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              04.06.2009 21:38
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              My top ten children's books

              As a child, I always loved reading. My Mum used to love embarrassing me by telling everybody that she met that I even read books in the toilet (which wasn't true, by the way!) I started compiling this list with the intention of including some modern stories that my kids enjoy but writing this made me remember so many well-loved classics from my own childhood that there wasn't actually any room for the new stuff! This, then, is a pretty self-indulgent look at some of the many books that I loved as a young girl:

              1. Heidi (Johanna Spyri)
              I have read this book many many times and still have my original paperback copy - complete with loose browning pages taped in and sellotape all across the spine. This really is a children's classic and one I have shed many tears over in the past. Just writing about it makes me want to re-read all about Heidi's adventures in the Alps when she is dumped on her grumpy old Grandad and then, just as she has managed to melt his heart, is sent back to the city. Everyone should read this at some point in their lives.

              2. Carrie's War (Nina Bawden)
              Another children's classic. This is a great account of kids coping with the Second World War and being sent out as refugees to the countryside and having to adapt to a new family. Again, a novel that has been read many times and had many tears shed over it - can you see a theme developing here?

              3. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis)
              I had the entire Chronicles of Narnia series and lost myself entirely in the books, although this was probably my favourite. Incidentally, this wasn't the first book in the series which many people think it was. The first was actually 'The Magician's Nephew' although that wasn't quite as captivating as the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and didn't feature the same group of children as the rest of the series. I used to fantasise about finding a whole new world in the back of my wardrobe (just as the children in this story do) although I was always a little bid scared of both the wicked queen and Aslan (the good lion!)

              4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
              This really is a timeless children's classic. Despite being written 40 years ago, it is one of those beautifully simple yet totally captivating books that will never go out of fashion. I can still quite clearly remember reading this myself as a very young child and being fascinated by the holes as the caterpillar worked its way through the leaves and eventually gorging itself on all the goodies and, of course, making the inevitable transition from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly. Surprisingly, I've never read this book to my own kids although I'm sure they would both love it and I keep looking out for it in charity shops. It must be one of the books that nobody (especially the parents) wants to part with!

              5. The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton)
              I grew up reading Enid Blyton stories and enjoyed her adventure series for slightly older children (Famous Five, Secret Seven etc) but this tale of Silky, Moon Face and Saucepan Man is one that has really stayed with me (alongside the rest of the series - The Enchanted Wood and The Folk of the Faraway Tree.) I used to love reading about the children visiting the revolving land at the top of the tree and wondering what magical land was going to turn up there next! and what adventures they would have. I dare say this series of books isn't one of Enid Blyton's best known but I'm sure this will bring back happy memories for anybody else that was lucky enough to enjoy this one as a child.

              6. Charlotte's Web (EB White)
              This is a story that stands out because of the unusual main characters - a spider and a pig - and their unlikely alliance. It is also a particularly sad book but would be useful to read to children and use as a discussion point. I'm certainly looking forward to reading this and several similar books to my boys when they are slightly older. (My six year old would probably be of an age to appreciate this now, thinking about it.) Tissues at the ready, though!

              7. Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery)
              My old paperback copy of this book has particular sentimental value for me as I won it in a poetry competition across a number of local schools back in 1988 (and still have the label proudly saying so on the inside cover!) The book itself was a firm childhood favourite of mine, along with the rest of the 'Anne' series which charted Anne's growth from a young but undeniably likeable orphan girl into a grown woman with a family of her own.

              8. Little Women (Louisa M Alcott)
              Although I wasn't (and still aren't) particularly a fan of 'classics', this story is one that managed to transport me back to a different world - America during the Civil War. The characters (the four fantastic March sisters) were so beautifully described and brought to life so well that I could really identify with the characters as much as I could with any contemporary children's story. Surprisingly, I don't have a copy of this novel in my collection but I would certainly consider buying one as I'd imagine this would be just as pleasurable to read nowadays through my adult eyes.

              9. A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
              I was considering whether to include The Secret Garden in my list and seeing the author's name jogged my memory. Between the two of those books by the same author, A Little Princess has to win hands down. In fact, although I deliberately haven't tried to list these books in any particular order, this one would probably make my number one. I do love a book that has me in floods of tears and this one has all of the features that are guaranteed to make me well up - an orphaned heroine, nasty carers and spiteful children and, ultimately, a very happy ending. Yes, this one is definitely number one (even though it's now at my number nine!)

              10. Black Beauty (Anna Sewell)
              This another timeless tear-jerking classic. I was never a particularly 'horsey' child but I did love animals in general and I just fell in love with this story of a beautiful horse going through so many different stages and adventures in his life. I don't know if kids nowadays still read this sorts of stories (maybe everything is all spin-offs from films and TV.) I certainly hope that stories like this continue to be enjoyed by a new generation of kids. Thinking about the fantastic children's stories out there has made me want to share them with my own kids and hope that they feel the same passion for my old favourites.

              Writing this list has bought back many happy memories for me. I hope it has for you too x

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                03.01.2009 00:30
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                great book which helps babies interact

                On the go just like me is a brilliant book for smaller children.
                it is written by jess stockham.
                the book is really colourful with big words which is needed in books aimed at smaller children
                The front cover is bright with green,yellow,orange and purple colours it really stands out in the bookshops.
                it has a picture of a little boy and a monkey both climbing a tree.
                the writing on the front is bold which is definately attractive to children and the parent who are buying it for them.
                the book has fold out flaps which is really enjoyable with children as they feel that they can get involved with the book.
                throughout the book the pictures are colourful and attractive which definately makes the story come to life better for the children.
                each page has a fold out flap which helps the baby become involved with the story.
                the book has bold writing on the pages which stands out to children.
                each page only has three pages which is good as it doesnt overpower the children when they are just learning the words.
                younger children will just like this book for the pictures as i have previously mentioned its very colourful.
                there are three other books in the range which are feeling great,looking good and tucking in.
                these books are also great for children.

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                  27.10.2008 22:41
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                  Encourage your children with the greats... some books you'll remember for the whole of your life!!!

                  When I was a little girl, you would hardly ever see me without my nose in a book..... My bedroom was like a library, I think it was due to the fact I had really bad eczema and had a lot of teasing at school, so this was my escape..... And I have remained that way, I love reading more than anything, my husband thinks its funny..... He says the only time my mouth is not moving in when I have a good book!!!! hehe!!!

                  And I'm glad to say both of my children have took after me, rather than their daddy....whose reading efforts are his monthly movie mag and the daily mirror each day!!!!! He just can not sit still long enough to read a whole book!!

                  The following top ten is a mixture of my favourites and also my children's favourites, which I must admit I love too...... Bedtime is our house is always fun, as apparently daddy is not as good as reading stories as mummy...as I do the voices!!!! And if I do say so myself...I think my accents/impersonations etc are great!!! Although my hubby says that all my accents sound like I'm Scottish!!!! (think he is jealous of my talents...hehe!!)

                  ****** Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss**********

                  This book is a wonderful book, like all Dr Seuss books there is always a great lesson to learn, In this book I think it shows children that no matter how much you say you do not like something until you try it you just do not know.
                  This defiantly worked with me and my children; I thank this book for my little girl eating brussel sprouts!!!!

                  It about two funny characters, one being Sam and he tries to encourage the other character to eat the green eggs and ham, in different funny scenarios for e.g. in a train.... with a fox... with a mouse.... etc etc....the whole book rhymes in normally Dr Seuss fashion...Anyway eventually he discovers he does like green eggs and ham........... Thank you Thank you Sam I am!!!!

                  ****** Oh the places you will go Dr Seuss*********

                  Like Green eggs and Ham this book is in the usual great Dr Seuss style, I love this book as it really does explain life to children in such a simple way, basically the book is a story about how you will travel through many different paths in your life and no matter how much you want things to go a certain way sometimes they just won't.... its all about the journey. my favourite line is the last line of the book where it says " kid you'll move mountains"
                  I brought this for my godchild after reading somewhere or other about it making a good christening gift, and my friend reckons it was one of the only gifts that she has actually used a lot of.

                  I could go on forever and a day on how much me and my children love Dr Seuss books, we have all of them and I put reading these books down to the success of how well my children ready, even my youngest whom is three.

                  Anyone whom has never read Dr Seuss must start; they are great fun and have great hidden meanings behind them.


                  ******** What Katy did By Susan Coolidge***********

                  This book is very special to me as it was the first hard back book that I ever owned and was brought with a book token I won for writing a book review at school on Jill Murphy The worst witch.

                  This book is about a young girl called Katy and at the beginning of the book she starts out by being a bit of a terror always getting into strife etc and when I was little it reminded me of my life and the way I wanted to be good and pretty and look after my brothers and sister well etc etc....but always seemed do not do it properly no matter how hard I tried....she lives with her father who is a doctor and her auntie Izzie, her mother died a few years earlier than this and she misses her terribly.

                  Katy has an terrible accident, she falls off a swing, and can not walk, at first she is very bitter about this and really goes into self, and becomes very depressed, Anyway her cousin Helen helps her through this and basically tells her to think positive and make the best of things and learns her how to do this, eventually she does this and her family all learn to love spending time with her again and she becomes like the sort of glue that holds them all together and especially when her auntie dies, she becomes an even more important role model etc to her siblings.

                  I do not have my copy of this book anymore, as when I was about 13 I went to Scarborough with my grandma and I left it on the beach.... This book is a bit too advanced for my children yet, but as they get older especially my daughter I will defiantly buy this book again and read it to her, or she can read it to herself, and I just hope that she will love it as much as I did. This book was important to me, and although I have not read it for 15 years, I can still remember what the book looked like, the way it made me feel. Classics like this stay with you forever.

                  *******The lion, the witch and the wardrobe by CS Lewis******

                  what can I say about this book.... other than it's a complete and utter classic. I can remember reading this at school with my class and we had to take it in turns around the classroom to read a couple of paragraphs each and about 4-10 pages a day, I hated it, as I would be itching to find out what happened next...

                  I'm sure anyone who is reading this has probably read this book or watched the movie, but for those of you that have not..... Here is a brief summary.

                  This book is based around the 1940's and four children are evacuated from London to live with a professor and his housekeeper is the country.
                  The children's names are Peter Susan Edmund and Lucy Pevensie.
                  One day the youngest child Lucy stumbles across a wardrobe in a empty room, when she goes into the wardrobe its basically the entrance to a secret magical world called Narnia full of lots of wonderful creatures and characters and where its always winter due to a evil white witch...at first she meets a faun called Tumnus, she has a really nice time with having tea etc before she returns back to the wardrobe to return home.
                  When she gets back she tries to tell her sister and brothers but they do not believe her story.
                  A couple of weeks later they are playing hide and seek and Lucy hides in the wardrobe only to be followed by her brother Edmund, who does not at first catch up with his sister and runs into the White witch who tries to manipulate him by promising to make him a prince if he bring his brother and sisters to see her as she knows that it a prophecy that they will defeat her.
                  Again the children return back home, and then all four children hide in the wardrobe to avoid the strict housekeeper who is looking for them to tell them off, they all then step into the world of Narnia. The rest of their adventure is about how they meet characters such as the lion Aslan who is the lion, and they then proceed to defeat the white witch although many other wonderful twists are in-between this such as Edmund betraying his brother and sisters only to be rescued by them later....and much more.

                  I think the book is much better than the film, and I read it to my son who is six on our holidays this year, he found it a little too hard going I think, but I enjoyed it again....although now being 28!!! hehe!!

                  ********** The hungry caterpillar By Eric Carle***********

                  Both of mu children have loved this book...so much so that I am on my third copy as the other two have been used so much that they become a bit scruffy.

                  It all about a caterpillar who eats his way through the book and then turns into a butterfly at the end.

                  I know this sound a bit boring but my children love the fact that the pages have little holes in where the caterpillar has ate through and they like naming all the food he ate..... Especially when it comes to near the end and he eats through loads of stuff...such as a lolly, a pickle, an ice cream etc etc.


                  ***********Stig of the dump by Clive king******************

                  I read this book when I was in hospital when I was little and had a very bad case of eczema; it was the only book I had not read that they had in the playroom.

                  And I'm not sure if I love it because of the nostalgia or because it's now my son's favourite book.

                  Its about a young lad called Barney whom one day when off on a walk he falls over and finds himself in a cave and meets a cave boy, now he does not talk in English apart from grunts and snorts, but they become friends and Barney names him Stig.
                  The book is all about there adventures and really does show a great example of friendship and about how child have so much innocence really, for e.g. my little girl is in a nursery class with a little polish girl whom can not speak very much English at all yet they are the best of friends and seem to understand each other even in different languages and its the same with Stig and Barney.


                  *********Charlottes Web By EB White*****************

                  this is defiantly a classic and myself and my children adore this book and also it's my little girls favourite film.

                  It's about a pig called Wilbur whom is the runt of the litter and is rescued from a little girl called Fern whom takes him from her father as a pet so he is not killed.
                  Wilbur befriend a spider in the barn called Charlotte , she helps him in a plot not to get killed, she starts writing words in her web saying how great Wilbur is and people travel from far and wide to see this, and it makes Wilbur a famous pig, with him winning a prize at the county fair . I can remember crying my eyes out when Charlotte died in the book, and my three year old cried when she watched the film and charlotte died and when some of her babies hatched and flew away.


                  ******All of the harry Potter book....Jk Rowling*************


                  I am a mad mad potter fan, I absolutely love the books and I am afraid and ashamed to admit that I am one of those sad adults that queued at midnight at Tesco's and also read all the book straight away within a couple of days.

                  My husband thinks I'm crazy and does not understand how I can love a children's book, but I was hooked from the first book and by the end I was sobbing my eyes out.

                  My children have watched the films but as yet I have not read the books to them, although my son does listen to the audio cd's on at night time sometimes to help him get to sleep.
                  I think JK Rowling will go down in history as an all time great along with tolkin, cs Lewis, Lewis carol etc etc....I know some people will not agree but I will never change my mind, I love every character, I love the writing, I love the author, her passion her work for charity and especially her imagination that created one of my most loved characters ever.

                  *****Mr men and little miss books****************

                  Now I must admit these children's books are not exactly my favourites but my children are mad about them, they have collected them for years and have every single one now.

                  My daughter got the sparkly adventures for xmas from the book people and she is always reading Little miss naughty and the fairy.... she has t-shirts and toys as well, and from what I can gather from many other mums there children are the same, they seem to be a huge huge thing at the moment.

                  I could go on for ever with all the books and authors I love in the children's genre...... Paddington bear, Rupert bear, Winnie the pooh, Alice and wonderland, Captain underpants, Thomas the tank, Judy Blume, Jill Murphy ......

                  Sorry for the length of my review, but its a passion for me and I think its very important to give your children a love of books also.

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                    24.10.2008 18:26
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                    10 classic children's books chosen for their animal heroes

                    My home is shared with my wife, our cats, the occasional visiting vestiges of our two sons, and about four thousand books.

                    Clearly, the books are in the majority. They are all over the place, literally and figuratively. They are not sorted by author, title or subject matter. Here in my lair, for example, Kurt Vonnegut sits next to A J P Taylor, Camus next to the Beano book, Bramah next to Chekhov, McGonagall next to Kinky Friedman, Osgood next to O Henry (no relation to Thierry, so far as I know), and so on. What's more, they tend to swap places and mingle among themselves, like guests at a big dinner when the liqueurs start to flow.

                    This arrangement - or absence of arrangement - is, I feel, good for the books, ensuring that they meet other books from different backgrounds, thus broadening their minds. It also has the merit of making it almost impossible to find a specific title, so that I end up browsing around and chancing upon neglected treasures. I am frequently found hours after setting out in search of one volume deeply buried in another, the original quest long since forgotten, my trail marked by partly-read books along the way. And never more happily so than when the treasure in question is one of the books I owned as a child, or read to my boys when they were young, which is often the same thing.

                    Children's books have two huge advantages over those aimed at an older audience. They don't have to be credible to a mature intelligence, enabling their characters to be more extravagant and colourful than their adult equivalents, and their readers' imaginations are unfettered by experience, enabling their perception of the characters to be more vivid still. As a result, they make a deep impression, and stay with us for a long time.

                    Here are ten that have stayed with me. They have been selected with a specific theme in mind, which will become apparent. It is an arbitrary theme - based on the characters rather than strictly on the books - but gave me a means of winnowing out a final ten from the dozens of eager contenders. And, of course, where there's a character there's a book, so I feel this review fits the "10 best children's books" topic heading well enough.

                    *

                    ~ The Fierce Bad Rabbit ~

                    The Fierce Bad Rabbit is the only one of Beatrix Potter's characters I found at all sympathetic. The FBR as much a contrast to the wet, insipid Peter Rabbit from the same stable, or hutch, as Flashman (in the irresistible MacDonald Fraser version) is to Tom Brown. Unfortunately, I can't remember what becomes of the FBR in the denouement, and daren't disrupt my elder son's room any further digging to find out. Is the FBR called to account for his wrong-doing, or perhaps reformed? I hope not; his stalwart show of counter-stereotypical individuality deserves a better fate. In any case, the FBR has to rate a mention, if only because the "fierce bad" formula has entered into our family argot, in which it roughly translates as "egregious".

                    ~ Downy Duckling ~

                    Possibly not really the pick of the Ladybird book protagonists (try Jeremy Mouse or Pen and Gwen the motorcycle joyriders), but the most memorable in our household, because the boys used to interject their own version of the words. If you don't know the story, it concerns the rescue of Downy and his mate Monty Mouse from beneath the ice of a frozen river. They end up back at his cottage home recovering over steaming mugs of cocoa ("duck oil" my elder son would insist, adding, if I persisted with cocoa, "that's not right"). As with most of the Ladybird series, the story can be sung to the tune of Deutschland uber Alles, which suits it very well.

                    ~ The Wolf ~

                    The big bad one in Little Red Riding Hood, that is. Yes, I know, they're all big and bad, or, at least, the small good ones are denied any of the limelight, anti-wolf propaganda being what it is. Moreover, this one has an array of dazzling talents: tactical ingenuity, a mastery of mimicry that would put Rory Bremner to shame, and the priceless gift of repartee. It is a travesty of justice that this noble creature is not permitted by narrators to benefit from these talents, not even in the Roald Dahl version, in which he suffers the indignity of being turned into a wolfskin coat.

                    ~ Sam-I-Am ~

                    Here's a salesman any marketing man would want on his team. Unprepossessing in appearance (it's not even clear from Dr Seuss's drawings what kind of animal he's meant to be) and with the least inviting of products to sell, he perseveres against all objections and obstacles. He never takes anything for an answer, least of all "no", and he's an artist at applying the alternative close. You can bet that sales of Green Eggs and Ham have been at an all-time high ever since he's been around to peddle them.

                    ~ Little Billy Goat Gruff ~

                    Trip, trap, trip, trap - over the rickety bridge goes Little Billy Goat Gruff in the defiance of the fierce bad ugly troll, who is several times his size and hungry for goat-meat. He accomplishes this feat by an admirable mixture of inventiveness and eloquence, persuading the troll to wait to waylay his bigger, meatier brothers until the biggest, meatiest one finally proves more than a match for the importunate monster. It's Little, not Big, that wins selection here because he does the planning, takes the initiative in seeing it through, and, incidentally, is first to enjoy the sweet green grass on the far side of the river without even having to fight for it. The principle of brains over brawn doesn't always work in real life, so let's give it some recognition in this fictional version.

                    ~ Balou the Bear ~

                    I'm cheating a bit with Balou, because it is many years since I read The Jungle Book and my memory of the character in the original is hazy. I dare not go off in search of it for fear of being waylaid by other fierce bad troll-like tomes en route and never completing the review. So I am relying on fresher memories from the film - by far the best thing ever to come out of the Walt Disney studios - and its delightful representation of Balou with voice by Phil Harris. An easy-going amiable layabout, a hippie with a heart of gold, and an admirable role-model for any man-cub.

                    ~ Wol ~

                    Just ahead of Tigger and Eyeore from the Dramatis Personae of Winnie the Pooh. Another admirable role-model, although of a contrasting kind, a byword for dignity and self-possession, as are so many of his species. And so what if he can't spell his name? The ability to do so is not necessarily a sign of wisdom, still less of virtue. Although, as A A Milne himself once said: "You have to admire anyone who can spell Tuesday, even if they can't spell it right."

                    ~ Toad ~

                    Of Toad Hall fame, of course, from The Wind in the Willows. Headstrong, careless/carefree, irresponsible - but by far the most engaging and memorable character in that entrancing work of art. It's unjust, of course, that worthy upright citizens like Ratty, Mole and Badger are in his shadow, but life's like that. The lion's share of the fatted calf always seem to go to the feckless but charming prodigal.

                    ~ The Walrus ~

                    I would have chosen the Snark/Boojum as my Lewis Carroll character, had I not decided to adhere strictly to the "storybook" stipulation in the category title. So it has to be someone from the Alice books, and there are many candidates: the March Hare, the Jabberwock and the Monstrous Crow to name but a few. But I think the Walrus just noses ahead in the photo, despite (or because of) his lugubrious hypocrisy, which adds an extra dimension to his personality.

                    "Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
                    We can begin to feed....
                    I weep for you," the Walrus said:
                    "I deeply sympathise,"
                    With sobs and tears he sorted out
                    Those of the largest size,
                    Holding his pocket handkerchief
                    Before his streaming eyes."

                    ~ The Enormous Crocodile ~

                    Are you acquainted with this seminal and salutary story by Roald Dahl? If not, I beseech you to proceed at once to your nearest bookshop and sneak a read in the Children's section. It is nothing short of a classic. It relates the endeavours of the eponymous creature to secure a nice juicy child for his lunch by means of 'secret plans and clever tricks'. On his way to do so, he encounters doubts and opposition where he could reasonably expect support and encouragement, from his fellow-animals - the Notsobig croc (soul-brother to the small good wolf you never hear about), the hippo, the elephant and the 'Roly-Poly bird'.

                    Undaunted he proceeds to the village playground, where he attempts to put his secret plans and clever tricks into practice, only to be frustrated at every turn by the other animals who have followed him thither. Ultimately, the elephant concludes the struggle by grabbing the EC's tail with its trunk, swinging him round, and hurling him like a slingshot into the sun, where he is 'sizzled up like a sausage', a tragic end indeed for such a heroic figure. Shame on the base creatures that betray him.


                    *

                    So there are the chosen ten. But do I hear the sound of head-scratching? Yes, you have noticed that, whilst selecting specimens of ten inferior species, I have failed to include a single cat.

                    The reason is simple. Once I had opened the flood-gates, the cats - like the saints - would have come marching in, to the exclusion of all others, and I did want to retain some variety. Even as it is, the cats could put up a team of ten on their own to more than rival the above. For example: the Cat who thought he was a Tiger, Orlando the Marmalade, Mog the Forgetful, Gobbolino the Witch's, the Cheshire, Dick Whittington's, Korky, Felix, Postman Pat's black and white, Fat Puss. And this is without trespassing onto the animated turf of such admirable animals such as Fritz and Top Cat. So, for fear of being overwhelmed, I have resisted all the cats, for now at least.

                    Meanwhile, I shall leave you with the chorus that always echoed around the bedroom when the line "and he was sizzled up like a sausage" was finally reached:

                    "READ IT AGAIN"


                    © First published in its original version under the name torr on Ciao UK, April 2003.

                    For a fuller review of The Enormous Crocodile, see:
                    www.dooyoo.co.uk/junior-book/the-enormous-crocodile-roald-dahl/1609579/

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                      11.09.2008 16:37
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                      all read & approved by myself, family & friends!

                      I've always loved to read and have passed my love of books onto my daughters.

                      I really enjoyed reading to them any time of day, but especially at bedtime - I was thrilled, but rather sad, when they said they were 'too old' to be read to anymore as they could read themselves!

                      the following is a list of my favourite books but not in order of importance

                      1. the borrowers by mary norton

                      we were read this at primary school & i loved hearing about these tiny little folk who 'borrowed' from the big house. the books are so well written that you could imagine every character down to their shoelaces

                      2. the night before christmas

                      this is really a long poem which was written in 1890s? in the usa

                      'twas the night before christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse....' I used to save this up until christmas eve and read it to my daughters as my mum had done for me - magical

                      3. thomas the tank engine (& friends!) by rev awdry

                      these used to come in thin, rectangular hardback books & the adventures had by the engines were always exciting & fraught with danger!

                      4. old bear stories by jane hissey

                      wonderfully illustrated book with great stories about teddy bears - sometimes sad, sometimes funny and always with the 'ahhhh' factor

                      5. jennings by anthony buckeridge - my eldest daughter used to shriek with laughter when reading these books about the middle class schoolboy & his adventures. traditionally thought of as a boys' favourite for some reason...!

                      6. shirley hughes' alfie & annie rose stories are fantastic - well written & beautifully illustrated. the stories are relevant to small children & are centred around a little boy & his baby sister - heartwarming

                      7. funnybones by janet & allan ahlberg - i think this is still on the national curriculum? 'in a dark dark house in a dark dark wood...' the stories are about skeletons, which, although scary, children seem to love

                      8. grimms fairy tales

                      i had to put this on my list - where would we be without fairy stories? sometimes scary but a firm favourite with children & a good basis for early role-play

                      9. vald the drac by ann jungman

                      absolutely hilarious to read. these books follow the adventures of vlad - the veggie vampire from romania

                      10. roald dahl - the wonderful story of henry sugar

                      this includes turtles, fingersmiths, a man who can see with his eyes closed - a great read with scary twists & turns which children love

                      ~
                      what would we do without books?

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                        11.09.2008 15:04
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                        I will have to fish them out again!

                        My top ten children's books, in no particular order are...

                        1. The Famous Five - yes this is cheating a bit because it's a series, but I grew up reading these adventure stories and I love them! Real nostalgia here.

                        2. The Jolly Christmas Postman - I remember reading this one with my mum! I love all illustrations and the little opening envelopes and letters from the various characters. It's really expensive now though.

                        3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar - I love the nibbled away bits of fruit and the way the story progresses. Maybe we need more books like this to make children eat healthily?!

                        4. The Illustrated Mum - This Jacqueline Wilson classic is a must for older children/teenagers. It deals with family issues and mental illness told from a child's perspective, and is a gripping read without being disturbing.

                        5. Back Home - This is often looked over in favour of Goodnight Mister Tom, and in my opinion is very underrated. It tells the story of a girl returning to England after being evacuated to America during the second world war, and how she doesn't fit in back home.

                        6. The Other Side - An old-style Jacqueline Wilson classic, without any of her now favoured colloquialisms, this is written in a much better style and deals with dreams and mental illness, and a family split up in various directions.

                        7. The 3 Investigators - Again another series; one of them in being made nito a film. Edgy mystery stories featuring 3 boys - there are lots of twists and turns and they are never predictable and always ingenious.

                        8. Malory Towers - Another series of Enid Blyton classics. They are, but in an amusing kitsch way.

                        9. Spot - Who doesn't love the little cute dog?! My favourites were the pop ups.

                        10. Thomas the Tank Egine - I was obsessed with these small hard back books when I was small. Even though looking at them now, they all seem to have the same story but with different trains!!

                        6.

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                          06.11.2005 23:29
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                          I wish I was a child again!

                          I have two boys at a year old and a niece at four and I never believed I would get sick of reading stories, being super mum & all that.
                          However, there are some books I am truly sick of - Disney Lion King or Tarzan, neither flows very well, makes it difficult to read and Miffy, poor Miffy, I used to love Miffy, but again doesn't flow and some of the rhyming is a bit off.

                          Here are the favourites:

                          The Other Ark, Lynley Dodd, Noah sets off with his two by two and leaves Sam Jam Balu to fill up the second best ark with creatures such as burrowing Flumps, candy striped camels, Armory Dilloes and butternut bears. A very pleasant book with lots on interesting creatures, great pictures. The four yr old likes this one.
                          £9.99 from Ottakas

                          Mr Men, Roger Hargreaves - Any of, short interesting simple stories which will amuse all ages, we have nearly all these and we enjoyed them as kids and my niece is reading them now.
                          £1.50 any leading bookstore

                          Paddington - Opposites, ABC, 123 & Colours, Michael Bond - Simple teaching books based on the Paddington character, the titles speak for themselves. Very nice pics with Paddington related images such as Marmalade Sandwiches and with a game at the back.
                          Cost is unknown I bought them from a second hand market.

                          The BFG - Roald Dahl, As with any of his books its good, my favourite. The Big Friendly Giant & Sophie conquer the bad giants and find Sophie a home, with all the magic of Roald Dahl, I can't wait to read it to my children when they are older. Would suit 8+
                          £2.99 any book store

                          Puddle Lane Series - Sheila McCullagh - These books are a reading programme from Ladybird, the full story is on the left of the page with a larger, shortened version on the right. The adult reads the story & the child reads the short bit. It has notes at the back for teaching children to read. The programme comes in three stages getting progressively harder. It follows the adventures of the people and animals in Puddle Lane. We had them as kids and I am trying to find the whole collection now for my children. I don't know where they are sold, but you can buy them from around 99p on Ebay and there is a good range.

                          The Tough Princess - Martin Waddell & Patrick Benson, the story of the king & queen who didn't get it right, of the bad fairy who wasn't good at being bad, of the daughter who wasn't beautiful but was tough and slayed dragons and was not afraid of goblins and ghouls. A brilliant alternative to fairy stories. Would suit anyone who liked fairy stories.
                          £3.95 walker books

                          Dr Seuss - Stan & Jan Berenstain, Who doesn't like Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat, Inside, Outside, Upside, Down, nonsense books for all, we have a few of these. We also have the Bright & Early Books for Beginning Beginners, very simple books for even younger children - He Bear She Bear - explains the male/female in rhyme & nonsense, and ABC - the alphabet Dr Seuss style. I love these, with the odd pictures they make great reading. The cost is unknown as again I picked these up at the second hand market.

                          When We Were Very Young - AA Milne, Poetry from the creator of Winnie the Pooh, a range of poems to be read to young children, about young children.
                          Buckingham Palace

                          They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace =
                          Christopher Robin went down with Alice
                          Alice is marrying one of the guard
                          "A soldiers life is terrible hard"
                          says Alice

                          They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace -
                          Christopher Robin went down with Alice
                          We saw a guard in sentry box
                          "One of the sergeants looks after their socks"
                          says Alice

                          And so on, I highly recommend this book and the other poetry books he writes - Now We Are Six/Seven/Eight.
                          £1.99 any good book store

                          The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle, is there anyone out there that hasn't heard this one, the story of the caterpillar who eats his way through a whole manner of things before changing into a butterfly. An excellent story for young children, the version we have has pages with holes in which the caterpillar has eaten through, you can get ones with a finger puppet caterpillar.
                          £1.25+ any good bookstore

                          Peepo - Janet & Allan Ahlberg, a book for young children again, story of a baby and where he goes through the day, rhyming is very good and plays Peepo throughout the book. Old fashioned in style, with lovely pics it will amuse any young children, I think this is my very favourite book

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                            03.08.2005 21:57
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                            Ten books that I loved to read

                            After doing Malu's Literary Challenge in my last review, I thought I'd have a go at my Top 10 Children's Books. It certainly sounded easy enough in practice.

                            However after having a good think I realised I could only recall three or four titles from my youth, and the rest were Doctor Who books (which probably doesn't say much about me!).

                            Now obviously I'm not going to fill this list with Doctor Who stories (just one, I promise), so I had to have a good root around in the attic to see what I did actually read.

                            I'm afraid I haven't read many of the classics. The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Swallows and Amazons, The Famous Five, Lord of the Rings - you name it, I haven't read it (give or take the odd Roald Dahl) so forgive me if this list isn't exactly what you'd expect.


                            TINTIN: EXPLORERS ON THE MOON by Herge (1954)

                            This was a series of comic albums about young journalist Tintin and his dog Snowy who get caught up in all kinds of adventures across the globe. EXPLORERS ON THE MOON is the best, and interesting too because it's about the first moon landing (15 years before the real one took place). Tintin and his friends Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock and technician Wolff are the crew of the 'Moon-Rocket' (a young boy and his pet dog, a doolally elderly professor and a washed out old sailor the first men on the moon? Not very likely is it?). Some great thrills and twists
                            in a gripping tale. There were about 20 Tintin comic albums in total.


                            THE GIANT JAM SANDWICH by J. Vernon Lord and J. Burroway (1972)

                            'One hot summer in Itching Down,
                            Four million wasps flew into town...'

                            So what do the villagers do to combat this invasion of buzzing menaces? They make some dough, bake it into a giant loaf, cut off two slices (goodness knows what they did with the rest), spread one slice with butter and jam, and when the wasps were busy consuming it, use five helicopters (and a floating tractor, no less) to drop the other slice on top. There must be easier ways to kill wasp swarms. Odd indeed, but it all seemed perfectly reasonable at age six! This was a picture book.


                            MR MISCHIEF by R. Hargreaves (1978)

                            Why this Mr Man was my favourite, I have no idea. I wasn't particularly naughty at the time (although I'm sure Mum would disagree), but he really was my hero. Cutting off Mr Happy's chair legs, filling Mr Funny's hat with treacle, he'd always run away giggling, and I'd love every word of it. Unfortunately for him he tried to trick a wizard and got his comeuppance. Shame.

                            "Oh mischief, glorious mischief, I do so love it!"


                            DOCTOR WHO: INFERNO by T. Dicks (1984)

                            Yes, I'm afraid it was inevitable, a Who book has to go in. This novel was based on a TV story from 1970 when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor. The story is about a drilling project to penetrate the Earth's crust and tap into a new energy source. Except that they don't know what horrors they are about to unleash. And the Doctor can't help because he's been transported to a parallel world where the Nazis won World War II. This is by far my favourite of the Doctor Who novels and a real page turner - you just have to know what happens.


                            SUPERTED AND THE GOLD MINE by M. Young (1984)

                            Before I got my Doctor Who kick, this was a series of books I loved to read. The title character is a teddy bear who was given magical powers and can change into SuperTed whenever he whispers a secret word. Along with sidekick Spotty (a yellow alien covered in green spots) he usually has to defeat the schemes of villain Texas Pete and his dumb henchmen Bulk and Skeleton. In this story, Texas Pete endangers a miner's life when trying to steal a truck of gold.

                            The Superted stories were actually based on the cartoon series of the 1980s from scripts by Robin Lyons. Jon Pertwee voiced the character of Spotty.


                            ASTERIX THE LEGIONARY by Goscinny and Uderzo (1965)

                            'The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely... One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrision the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium...'

                            What can i say, these comic albums were fantastic stuff. Asterix is the cleverest of the village folk and is always the one who special missions were entrusted to, along with his *whisper it in case he hears* fat friend Obelix, who fell into a cauldron of magic potion when he was a baby and has the strength of an elephant. These books appeal to children and adults alike and every time I read them I always spot some joke I didn't notice before. Writer/artist Goscinny and Uderzo excelled at their work. The names they gave to each character were very amusing (for example, a British druid called Valuaddetax, and a terrible singer called Cacofonix). After Goscinny died, Uderzo wrote as well as drew the books but they were never really the same. "Well come on, do something! I surrender! I can't hang about all day!"

                            I'd have to say ASTERIX THE LEGIONARY was the best. In this one Asterix and Obelix enlist in the Roman Army for reasons to complex to go into, and there are some funny sequences during training as their Roman superior can't handle his new troops. There have been about 35 stories published so far.


                            PADDINGTON DOES IT HIMSELF by M. Bond (1976)

                            Tales of the famous Peruvian born, marmalade scoffing bear were essential in this house. In this tale, Paddington's attempts to build a magazine rack do not go according to plan. Another picture book (look, these are the stories I remember, so tough!). "Don't be impertinent, bear!"


                            GUMDROP GETS HIS WINGS by V. Biro (1979)

                            The eponymous old fashioned car and his owner Mr Oldcastle go in search of a set of silver wings but get involved in a series of mishaps along the way. This successful series of picture books is another example of why we love stories with smart cars!


                            FOX IN SOCKS by Dr. Seuss (1965)

                            An inevitable Seuss tongue twister has to get on to this list, and my choice is FOX IN SOCKS. Hero Mr Knox is somewhat bamboozled by Mr Fox and his verbal challenges ("Sue sews socks of fox in socks") but Mr Knox shows he is more than a match ("the tweetle beetle battles with their paddles in a puddle on a noodle-eating poodle..."). I dare you to read the entire book out loud and still have a fully functioning tongue.


                            CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: DEADWOOD CITY by E. Packard (1978)

                            I know I had many of these at some point but they have all mysteriously disappeared! *looks suspiciously at parents*. Ah well. What you had here were stories aimed at young adults in which the reader could decide what happened next. Essentially you were the main character and after a short introduction you would be given choices throughout the book about what to do next. For example: 'If you want to open the door, go to page 64. If you want to continue down the corridor, go to page 40' and so on. Making the wrong choice usually led to a sticky end for your character and you had to navigate the book to successfully reach the end. I remember finding these books very creepy, particularly the pencil illustrations of what happens when you make a fatal mistake. Nightmares were the result for me. The most memorable stories were Vampire Express and Deadwood City, the latter having a scary cover.

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                              02.08.2005 01:04
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                              The classics that shaped the way I read.....

                              My children all know how much I love to read, but the question most often on their lips (when they see me curled up with yet another good book), is “what books did you read when you was little Mummy?”. Now I read lots of books as a child, and not all of them could be considered children’s books, but I’m now going to rack my memory and see if I can’t come up with ten of the most defining classic books of my childhood, and then explain why I felt they were so important to me.

                              These aren’t in any particular order but here we go, oh and In case you’re wondering, I won’t be giving any of the stories away :

                              ---The Famous Five Books - Enid Blyton---

                              Ok, there are actually 21 books in the series (plus others written by another author), but these books will always hold a special place in my heart. This is because they were the first books my parents bought me after I had completed those Peter and Jane books. I was about six when I started reading Five On A Treasure Island and was immediately engaged by Julian, Dick, Anne, George and not forgetting Timmy the dog, their adventures and the way they always managed to “best” the baddies, who were normally the most horrible grown-ups. The simple writing style is perfect for the young reader, and even if they are a little old-fashioned now, they are still loved by children today (as my eldest daughter will testify to).

                              ---The Hobbit - J.R.R.Tolkien---

                              This book was yet another landmark for me, in that not only was it the first “grown up” book that I owned, at the tender age of 8, but it was also my first foray into the world of science fiction. I loved everything about the book, from Bilbo, the unlikely hero to Smaug the dragon. This is a slightly harder book for a child to read, but was far more adventurous and (in my eyes at least) a perfect introduction into the world of fantasy. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to encourage my children to try this book yet, it’s a little too dark for their tastes and they prefer Harry Potter.

                              ---The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgeson Burnett---

                              This is an adorable book, that I loved as a child (and still love now). It tells the story of Mary Lennox, a sulky little girl, who has been spoilt and doesn’t even know how to button her own dress. I guess it’s the ordinary, every day magic that transforms Mary’s life, that drew me to this book. I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first read it, but I’m guessing I was under ten, and I don’t remember any of it being too difficult read, although I had a few problems with the Yorkshire accents. While I personally don’t think this book has aged (after all it had been published for more than a little while when I first read it), for some reason (yet again) my children think it’s old-fashioned. All I can tell them is that they don’t know what they’re missing.

                              ---The Chronicles Of Narnia - C.S.Lewis---

                              Yes I know, it’s not one book, but seven, but these are such classics. How could any child not fall in love with the secret, magical kingdom of Narnia? I actually started this set at the beginning and worked my way through, so I could say that I watched a world develop from it’s birth to it’s death. As a child I can’t say I noticed the religious undertones, although having a broadly Christian upbringing, I did find myself relating to the characters and their dilemmas. And these books are as well loved by my children as by myself, they will sit and read them much as I did at the same age.



                              Gosh this is harder than I thought, I’m just realising that my childhood reading was actually dominated by adult books from a very young age. I just don’t remember reading that many books that were specifically aimed at the younger reader and now I’m wondering if I was ever a “younger reader”, or whether I simply progressed from school reading scheme to adult literature. Oh, I’ve just remembered another series of books I loved….

                              ---Little House On The Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder---

                              The Little House was only one of a series of books, and I believe I had, if not all, then most of them. They harked back to a simpler time and charted the trials and tribulations of growing up in the pioneer days of America. The whole series is told through Laura’s eyes, from her time as a very young child, through to her adult life and marriage. Now please don’t think these books are as sickly sweet as the television series of the same name, because they are not. They show the good times, and importance of family life, but interspersed with these are the harsh reality of a life, where the family works together to survive. I haven’t introduced my children to these books yet, but after writing this, I think I’m ready to go and buy them so we can share them.

                              ---Heidi - Johanna Spire---

                              Another much loved book, that again harkened back to simpler times. This time we follow a young orphaned and unwanted Swiss girl, and the way her infectious love of life affects all those who come into contact with her. From the alpine landscapes to the dark city, the way the settings are described is in a word, magical. This would of course not really be the book for a boy, but I’m sure that any girl from the age of about eight upwards, could not help but be enthralled.

                              ---Just William - Richmal Compton---

                              Yes, I know, yet again one of a series of books, but again one I loved. Set in the roaring ‘20’s, I could not help but fall in love with this ultimate in naughty little boys. What I think I loved so much about him, wasn’t the fact that he was naughty, but the fact that he tried so hard to be good, and always failed. Now this book has really dated, and was dated even when I first read it, but that’s part of the charm. Strangely, my eldest son also loves this book (we have several in the series), and even now, eighty years after it was set, he can emphasise with young Mr Brown, although I now emphasise more greatly with his parents and siblings.

                              ---The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling---

                              Now, I didn’t actually read this until I was in my late teens, but believe me I missed out. If you’ve watched the Disney film, then you probably think you know what this book is all about. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but unless you’ve actually read the book then you haven’t got a clue. Yes it contains Mowgli’s story, and his battles with Shere Khan, but the ending is rather different to the film. But Mowgli is only a small part of the book, there are several other short stories along with some poems. What I love about this book is the way Rudyard used the animal kingdom to show traits (both good and bad) that are normally associated with man. The younger child, might have difficulty reading this, but will love it read out loud to them.

                              ---The Swiss Family Robinson - Johann Rudolph Wyss---

                              This was another classic adventure story that I loved (and still do), and told the story of a family shipwrecked on a deserted island, and their struggle for survival. I’m not sure what it was I loved so much, perhaps the way they managed to create necessities out of the few plants that surrounded them. Again the book is nothing like the film of the same name, but one thing it did do, is fire my imagination. So much so that I remember that at one point I was preparing to runaway to my own deserted island, and would dream of the snakes I would meet. Sadly, once more I have been unable to interest my children in this classic, so I can’t give you their opinion of it.

                              ---The Bible---

                              Along with all these works of fiction, one of the most influential books of my childhood was the Bible. The first copy I ever owned was a children’s illustrated version, which was easy to read and only contained the main “stories”. But my most treasured possession is a leather bound King James Bible, that was passed on to me by my grandmother, it is very well read, if far more difficult to understand than the children’s version. I’m not saying that you should by a bible for your child, but it would be impossible for me not to include it in a list of classic books from my childhood.

                              So there you have it, ten of my favourite classic books from my childhood, each of which played an important part in fuelling my love for the written word, and each of which I would love my own children to read, and hopefully grow to love as I did.

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                                29.03.2004 02:54
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                                I am a real bookworm. Ever since I can remember I have been a member of the local library and learned to read before I went to school. I would be lost without books and you can always find a paperback in my bag so that I can be transported away from my normal life whilst commuting to and fro work. I have seen Malu?s challenge around but felt it was now time for me to complete it. Hope you enjoy it! What is your favourite genre? --------------------------------- God that is a difficult one. To be honest the answer would be that I o not have a favourite genre. It depends what mood I am in. I do like humourous Sci-fi and fantasy such as Terry Pratchett and Tom Holt. I can be a real girly girl at heart and I like the better written Chic Lit authors such as Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Serena Macksey and Sherry Ashworth. They are so easy to read. Although they are slightly mummsy I must admit I like Maeve Binchey. Good modern novels are also my thing as are memoirs and biographies. I am also fascinated by the Far East and enjoy books set in China and Japan such as Memoirs of a Geisha and Chinese Cinderella. Amy Tan is also worth a read although again I find her work can get pretty samey. The real answer to this question is as long as the book is well written and does not have unnecessary violence I will read it ------------------------------- Do you read the classics, the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? -------------------------------------------------------- I know he is very much Mr. Doom and Gloom himself but I must admit to liking Thomas Hardy. Tess of the D Urbevilles was the first adult classic I read and is sill one of my favourite
                                books although think Hardy should never have written the final chapter. It should have left her on the altar at Stonehenge waiting to be metaphorically sacrificed. I also like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I have read a few others but feel maybe I should read a few more. I tend to know the classic books more from BBC productions of them. Are you interested in thrillers? --------------------------------- Not really. I do not particularly like violence. Murder mysteries and horror do very little for me. The nearest I get o them are thing like Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and the Drowning People by Richard Mason. These have a romantic plot to them and thus are more my style of thing. What about horror stories? ----------------------------- Not really at all I?ve never read any Stephen King. I am interested in some ?true? ghost stories but think I would find horror books like the films over the top. Not my thing at all. Do you read Science Fiction? -------------------------------- Does Terry Pratchett count?? I think pure Sci-fi would be a bit geeky for me! I hate Star Trek. I keep meaning to read Hitch hikers Guide to the Galaxy as that does sound my type of thing as it sounds like the literary version of Red Dwarf which I adore1. The other type of Sci-fi I might just read is alternate history stuff being a History buff myself. The one book that comes to mind is Making History by Stephen Fry (yes as in the posh comedian). This book about erasing Hitler from history was interesting and thought provoking as I always pondered what would happen to he world if Hitler had been gassed in WW1. How many Harry Po
                                tter books have you read? --------------------------------------------------- I have read the first four of them. They are involving and easy reading. I do think they are not the most original books as I can see ideas gleamed form Enid Blyton and the Worst Witch books1I must get around to reading the fifth one although I have heard mixed things about it. I think perhaps they are becoming too formulaic. I will buy the fifth but I am not buying anymore books until I have read all the ones in my to read pile I Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? ----------------------------------------------------- Yep I have. The book I have just finished World fair by E L Doctorow was based heavily on the author?s childhood memories of growing up in New York in the 1930s. I often feel fact is more interesting than fiction. I could not read a Helen Forester or Catherine Cookson novel as they are too mumsy but their biographies were pretty interesting. I like tales of growing up in the past. Others than interest me are tales of endurance such as people?s accounts of their experiences in concentration camps I loved Falling Leaves Fall to their Roofs a tale about a Chinese girl unloved by her step mother. I have read some biographies of historic al figures for uni research and a few old film stars biogeaphies . Modern celebrities really do not interest me at all. Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? ----------------------------------------------------- Yes loads of them I think your childhood experience of reading colours your impressions of books and the world for the rest of your life. That and nostalgia made me deiced to write my Masters dissertation on Marketing Classic Children?s Lit
                                erature as Heritage. As I stated in the introduction I ama real bookworm and read loads. As a young child I remember reading picture book such as Topsy and Tim, The Mr. Men, Thomas the Tank Engine and Beatrix Potter. The latter I can think about again. I was a bit sick of her, as I used her impact on her adopted area the Lake District as the focus of my dissertation. My ultimate picture book has to be the Hungry Caterpillar. It?s such a simple but engaging book! From then on I read a lot of Enid Blyton and Roald Dhal. As I grew older I read some of the classics. Little Women, Laura Ingles Wilder and Anne of Green Gables are all time favourties. Later as a teenager I read trashy teen books such as Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High alongside Judy Blume and Paula Danzigger. Boy was Forever a risqué book when you were 14!! Have you reread these books as a grown-up? ------------------------------------------ I have. I certainly have picked up some old Enid Blyton books and got lost n Mallory towers or the adventures of the people up the Magic Faraway Tree!! It is just so easy to slip into the books of your childhood and the memories they conjure up! Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? -------------------------------------------- I can think of no book that really had such an impact that made me thinkI have to do this or change my attitude to that!! There are books that have made me cry, really made me think and have made me realise I have had a fairly good life. Which are your favourite authors? --------------------------------- Hmm as stated I love Terry Pratchett, Tom H
                                ;olt, Sherry Ashworth, Kate Atkinson, Laura Ingles Wilder and Thomas Hardy! Oh James Herriot is also very much comfort reading for me! Which book would you take with you on a desert island? ----------------------------------------------- God now this is a difficult question. Could I say a very thick one so I could use it for fire material!! Actually I would take the Lord of the Rings. I have both this and the Hobbit in my collection but I have never finished either. I must get around to reading them in full as I actually enjoyed what I read. I just think they are books you really have to concentrate n and are not that suitable for commuting What is your attitude towards translations? ------------------------------------------- I do not read any languages fluently. I had to read a book in German Hamide Speiltt Hamide for my German Higher. If they are translated well I think they are good. The last translated books I read were Sophie?s world and a Christmas Story by Jostien Gaarder. Do you buy, borrow or steal your books? --------------------------------------- I buy and borrow them. I only buy a book new f I really fancy reading it. I tend to go to charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales to pick up books. I also sometimes borrow books especially form my sister. I often find I want to read book that have been recommended to me via word of mouth. I think this is why I enjoy reading the book reviews on Ciao so much. Do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? ------------------------------------------------- Both. Hardbacks look so nice on your book shelf, but they are so expensive and are not very convenient for just shoving in yo
                                ur handbag for reading on the bus. Have you ever tried Audio Books? -------------------------------- Yes I have I had them as a child. I also used them last summer when I had a problem with my eyes and could not read anything. Everything looked blurry so audio books were the ideal solution there. I also find them very relaxing, but sometimes they are too relaxing as I fall asleep and have to find my place again! Thanks for Reading! Sarah Please join Malu's challenge! It's fun!

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                                  19.11.2003 02:33
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                                  Anyone that knows me will tell you I`m not one to shy away from a Challenge, I mean for heaven sakes I`ve read every Robert Rankin I`ve been presented with, if that`s not the stuff to make a man out of a mouse, I don`t know what is.. So here, I present my answers to the questions (and for once I haven`t been a smart-arse git and put "42" as the answer to any of them... (although I admit I was tempted for one of the questions, but which one?)) Anyways enough of this time-wasting, I`m not an Arsenal player desperately trying to hold onto a one-nil win... q: what is your favourite genre? a: mmmm, I think it would haveto be sci-fi, I have a deep love for the distant and near future, from the technological glory of it all in the bleak gibson-esque techno nightmare to the magical rebirth that seems to be at the core of many current day hard and soft-sf novels.. But, I`m afraid I can`t just leave the answer at that, in my mind their's a joint first-place and Comic Fiction holds a place in my heart also, from the streets of the fabulous Discworld to the bizzare twists and turns that are the trademark of Tom Holt, and all the lessers knowns inbetween.. So there you go SF & Comic Fiction, my favourite(s). It really doesn`t get much better than that. (hell of a lot worse, believe me, read some of my reviews for proof.. but not much better) ______________________ q: do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? a: It depends on the classics you mean, to me stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Original Stories of Winnie the Pooh are all classics but you won`t find them in the classics section of a bookstore, but in answer to the question, Yes I`ve read the "classics", but it was during my time as a schoolboy and if asked to read one today I`d probably rather hide under the bed with the spiders (and remember, I highly Arachnophobic) It`s not that they don`t have
                                  there place in the wonderful world of literature, many of todays greatest writers haver found there inspiration in the early works of the masters, Just like you`d have no David Croft without Constable. You`d also have no Alan Moore without Dickens. So there`s no denying the value in a classic (after all that`s what makes them a classic) but unless you`re really studying the work, getting your teeth into it, tearing it apart to understand it`s structure, it`s power and it`s message they really can leave you cold. ______________________ q: are you interested in thrillers? a: This is a question that deeply depends on the definition of the term "thriller" I enjoy pacey books that like to keep you on the edge of your seat, but to some a thriller is more (or less) than that.. In my own definition I love a good thriller, in my wifes I can`t read them, her thrillers are more based on shock whereas I prefer a more intricate mind game, a deep mental struggle to me that`s thrilling.. _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: Again this is a question that boils down to definition.. I`m not a blood, guts and gore man, I couldn`t stomach a Gemmill, I don`t find graphical indepth details of just how the arm was severed to be essential to a story for me, but a monster (such as the psychic being in Piers Anthony's Mode Series) can be scary and thought provoking without being all about the blood and guts, so again it depend upon who's writing the "horror" as to if I`d enjoy it or not. _______________________ Q: Do you read Science Fiction? A: 42. (Okay so I lied in my intro, in the end the temptation was just too much and this really is the only answer that can truly answer this question...) ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: So far I`ve read all of them, although I don`t admit to it lightly, my excuse fo
                                  r it is that we purchased them for my wife's sister and well they where just sitting there wanted to be read and I felt sorry for them.. I can admit to enjoying parts, some of the ideas I felt where incredibly imaginative and if handed to a more talented author could weave some real magic.. (Not that J.K. is a bad author, She`s just not as good as many others) ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: I deeply enjoyed Bio of an Ogre, (Piers Anthony's AutoBiography) although I felt it come have been longer, I`ve had to read others in the process of creating websites for various people, and mostly I`ve found them to not be that enjoyable.. It`s not that the people in question haven`t lived exciting our interesting lives, just that I didn`t feel I benefited from knowing about them, I didn`t find inspiration in their struggles, or happiness in their triumphs, that might have been due to the style's of the biographies in question as they where all from the same publisher and all followed a similiar format, So I`m not opposed to the idea of reading another in the future, infact I`d be interested to Read Tom Holt's.. ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: I`ve re-read many of the books I enjoyed as a child, I`m also looking forward to the time my daughter is old enough for bedtime stories and then we can start enjoying on the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, etc.. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: I can`t say I`ve been influenced by a book, I`ve had a book touch my soul, I`ve had a main character I truly believed in, that I looked deep into the eyes of and saw a very scared and very afraid me looking back.. The character was actually a girl (oddly enough) Coleen from Pier's Anthony "Mode Series" we connect most in the first book o
                                  f the series "Virtual Mode" Where her school life, home life and attitude to life mirror my own in so many ways, The Mode Series was (in the begining) everything I`d ever dreamed of in a fantasy book, and I still can`t bring myself to review the series, I felt so betrayed by the final too books, so rushed, an idea abandoned in it`s prime, left to die with a terrible conclusion, although I hold a lot of respect for the talent of Piers Anthony I haven`t read a book of his since, and never will.. He let me down, he let us all down, anyone who`s ever been cold, alone and afraid, anyone who`s ever looked inside ourselves and not loved what they`ve seen, anyone that`s strived for freedom from this world with a hastily drawn blade over the wrist, he gave us a hero, a voice and then just as quickly muted her.. _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: At the moment I would say Tom Holt, he imagination and wit is the stuff of genius, if I could bottle that and sell it in supermarkets I`d be Everton's Romam Abramovich! He`s never afraid to cross a line, never willing to cut a corner and his books benefit strongly from that. ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: I`d cheat and take a special edition of "Discworld" that included all the books to date, I just know it`s keep me giggling for years, even reading stories again and again you can always find something new in a Discworld Novel, something you missed last time as you w here laughing too hard for the joke before it, or something that`s even funnier now you know the character a little better.. I truly admire PTerry for staying strong to his characters, for truly giving them heart and soul.. I close my eyes and I can see them, living and breathing, his writing just has that way of capturing your imagination, there`s no one book to pick from the series that stands out above the rest
                                  they all have their merits and faults.. but they would still be a beautiful collection of reads and make that desert island that little bit more bearable! _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: I don`t believe I have one.. (a cop-out answer it might be, but it`s an honest one) I sit here and let the question wander through the passageways of my mind, and it can find no right or wrong door, there`s no answer to it for me.. ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: Just like any addict, I fuel my addiction any old way I can, I buy, I beg, I borrow (I won`t say if I`ve ever stolen, just incase the folks from waterstones end up reading this op.) but if I hear about a book worth reading, I`ve just got to have it, and by the fastest means possible, which in most cases nowadays is the internet.. it used to be my library, but they are getting less and less budget to purchase new books.. ________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A: mmmmm, another tough question for my shelves a hardcover is always going to look nicer, last longer and take more of my daughters "love" (for want of a better word like "Brutal Punishment") But it`s not as easy to slip a hardback into your pocket for that four hour train journey to London, so for traveling purposes I prefer a softback, but when it comes to my own personal collection of "classics" I`d rather have a hardcover. ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: I have, and I have mixed opinions on them, at the end of the day I really think it comes down to vocal talents of the presenter, I think you`ll find no finer AudioBooks that Tony Robinson doing the Terry Pratchett Discworld and Johnny Maxwell Series, but then you get real som
                                  e real duffers like the American Version of the Hitch Hickers Guide to the Galaxy.. Personally I`d love to hear a version of the self same done by the remaining members of Monty Python's Flying Circus.. ================================= and well that was that.. I hope this gave you an insight into my wonderful world, I must say this was a hell of a lot harder than writing a book review, with a review, you have one focus for your thoughts, but when you`re just asked general questions on your own likes and dislikes you have an almost infinite range of posibilities, but well I hope you enjoy my answers :) Cheers..

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