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What was your favourite children's book?

Prepping for our Writing for Children Course, the Jericho Writers staff have been feeling very nostalgic recently thinking about the books that defined our own childhoods. 

My favourite was Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree and others included The Secret Garden, Babar the Elephant, Mrs Pepperpot and lots of Jaqueline Wilson's books, although we also discussed that the topics of these were quite advanced for young readers... 

What were your favourites? 

If you want to join our brilliant Writing for Children Course with Eleanor Hawken, you can find out more here.

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Replies (12)
    • The Twits, Roald Dahl,  The Chronicles'of Narnia, really enjoyed these as a child….. 

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      • I preferred the early Roald Dahl - Charlie and the chocolate factory, fantastic Mr Fox, James and the giant peach and my favourite Danny the champion of the world. Probably because by the time The Twits was written I was too old for them!

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      • You've probably read that Jacqueline Wilson has been tasked with 'reinventing' The Magic Faraway Tree; there was a piece on it in The Guardian.

        Now let's see, childhood favourites...

        Charlotte's Web, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Tiger Who Came to Tea...Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, CS Lewis...The Hobbit, Tom's Midnight Garden. Then it was John Wyndham and Nicholas Fisk and the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I also had an illustrated edition of The Odyssey that I reread countless times.

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        • “Choose your own Adventure” I read something quite similar to those, 

          Fighting Fantasy, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone and the Lone Wolf series by Joe Dever . Really enjoyed playing/reading them. 

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          • Yep, I read those too. Good times!

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            • I’d forgotten those Jackson and Livingstone ones. I had those too, they we great fun.

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            • Love dredging up memories like this!  For me, my favourite picture books were an Italian version of Alice in Wonderland, Peepo (a classic I still read to my children), The Tiger who came to Tea, Paddington as well as Rupert Bear, The Jolly Postman, Mr Gumpy's Motorcar, Usborne's Classic Poems which my dad always read with brilliant voices!, There's no such thing as a dinosaur, Each Peach Pear Plum.

              If we're talking 'chapter books' as my children now call them, I am a little embarrassed to say I loved Sweet Valley High, Stephen King, Paula Danziger, Judy Blume, Virginia Andrews as well as Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and all sorts of classics like Treasure Island, The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier (my all time favourite), Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird,  Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, The Hobbit, Charlotte's Web, The Magician's Nephew and all the others,.  Oh there were so many good ones! 

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              • Oh gosh. Too many and too various to enumerate! 😁 

                But certainly (off the top of my head) 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'The House at Pooh Corner' (and the AA Milne poetry anthologies 'When We Were Very Young' and 'Now We Are Six'). Dr Seuss. 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through The Looking Glass'. The nonsense poetry of Edward Lear. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. 'The Water Babies' by Charles Kingsley. Babar. Orlando the Marmalade Cat. Obviously 'Peter Pan and Wendy'. 'Stig of the Dump' by Clive King. 'The Midnight Folk' and 'The Box of Delights' by John Masefield. 'Charlotte's Web'. 'Little Grey Men' and 'Down The Bright Stream' by 'B.B.' All Tove Jansson's 'Moomin' books. John Reade Falkner's 'Moonfleet'. 'Treasure Island', 'Gulliver's Travels', 'Robinson Crusoe', 'Little Women', 'The Secret Garden'. 'A Wrinkle in Time'. 'True Grit'. 'Swallows and Amazons'. The 'Jennings and Derbishire' books... The 'Just William' books... Herges' 'TinTin' books... should I go on! 😂 

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                • Gosh too many to choose from. My Aunty had a full set of Little Grey Rabbit books, beautiful original hard backs with gorgeous illustrations. There were dozens of them and we worked our way through whenever we visited. They’d probably be worth something now if she still had them. Paddington and Winnie the Pooh (proper Winnie the Pooh with E H Shepard before Disney came along and stole him). Then as I got older Swallows and Amazons which we used to act out on holidays, my Dad still has the full set in hardback from when he was a boy. The Chronicles of Narnia, E Nesbit books (Five  Children and It and The Phoenix and the Carpet), anything by Norman Hunter. Treasure Island, The Silver Sword, Watership Down (which I still have and it still has tear stains on the sad pages but I read it again and again). I had a lot of books by Joyce Stranger (more animals). Oh, and that reminds me of another when I was very little called The Anita Hewitt Animal Story Book. I remember wondering what Anita Hewitt meant because I had never heard of anyone called Anita before. It had stories about animals from all over the world, one of them was called Brolga Bird Dances but I can’t remember any of the others. And I had a lovely book called The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race which I loved because the story was brill but also because it was illustrated with line drawings and I coloured them all in.

                  Thanks for that little nostalgia trip 😀

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                  • I'm supposed to remember anything from that long ago? Yeah, right. Anyway, there's also that technicality that I don't have favourites, of anything.

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                    • I got lost in Andrew Laing's Red/Yellow/Blue/Green Fairy Books - his tellings of the Grimm and Perrault classics. Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen haunted me, and I still can't watch Frozen (with the kids) without flashbacks to it. Likewise The Magician's Nephew, which introduced the witch Jadis who froze Narnia, was so much darker than all the Narnia tales that followed. 

                      What was it about ice queens?

                      Fun fact, kids: did you know that Cedric Diggory, he who was killed by Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire, was named after Diggory, the magician's nephew himself (who brought Jadis out of her eternal sleep?)

                      On the lighter side, I loved and still love AA Milne, especially the poems.

                      More recently I read the Skulduggery Pleasant series to my son, to mutual agreement that they were the best of the era, even better than Potter. Why why why no film franchise?

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                      • I am so old that most of it I can't remember. I loved Famous Five and similar then went onto the classics like Treasure Island, Dickens (all books which were in my house) and once let loose in the library,(around 9 or 10)I went onto adult books (no YA then). I started on fantasy and horror, so Stephen King, Tolkien, that kind of thing. One children's series I remember vividly was Ruby Ferguson's Jill and her Ponies, I was mad on horses around 11-15. There was also an excellent horse series set in Australia called Silver Brumby, I think most of these are now out of print. I read most of the classics in my teens and just before. I wasn't into child's picture books, but was taught to read before going to school, can't remember the stories though. One absolute legendary book for me is Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go. I still have that one and it would be in my great desert island books for sure 

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