When I was a very little girl (before I could even read), my Scots Gran gave me The Golden Treasury of Children’s Literature for a birthday or Christmas present. She must have gone up to Glasgow to buy it, because I don’t think American publications were that readily available in East Kilbride in the mid 1960s.
I first loved the illustrations (some from the original editions, some specially commissioned) and over the years I read the pages off the whole book on a repeat cycle. Here I was introduced to classic fairy stories (Perrault, Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson), fables (Aesop), stories from the Arabian Nights, Mary Poppins, Alice, the Wizard of Oz, the Selfish Giant, Doctor Dolittle, The King of the Golden River, Peter Pan, Brer Rabbit, the Water Rat and Mole. It even includes The Unexpected Party.
My own copy was lost along with most of my childhood books in a house fire in the 1980s, but after reading Lucy Mangan’s book a few weeks ago, I went nosing around the internet and found a reasonably priced copy on Abebooks. It arrived yesterday, all the way from St. Louis and I am now in my 8-year old heaven.
I spotted this one in Waterstones while casting around for a Mother’s Day present, and knew instantly that
I had to read it my Mum would love it. So I did the decent thing; bought the book, gave it to Mum, and borrowed it back once a decent interval had passed (I actually waited three weeks, turns out she hoovered it up on the day I gave it to her).
Lucy Mangan is just a few years younger than me and there is a huge amount of overlap between her reading childhood and mine. It’s not total; she seems to have missed out on the historical fiction novels that had me in their grip around the age of 10 (Joan Aiken, Barbara Willard, Rosemary Sutcliffe). And I never encountered what must have been the early YA genre, so no Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High etc. Also.She.Doesn’t.Like.Tolkein. But apart from that I’d say it’s an 80% match. So I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone who wasn’t also a bookworm growing up in the South East of England in the 1970s/early 1980s
I have recently inherited an elderly aunt’s L.M.Montgomery collection (hence the rather bizarre 1930’s book sleeve) and so have been re-reading what I recollect as my favorite of the “Anne” books.
Still quite like it, possibly not quite as much as I did at fifteen.
In which Moominpappa has a midlife crisis and drags the family off to a remote, windswept island.
The fourth in L’Engle’s quartet of first-generation “Kairos” novels, this is fantasy SF with a Christian(ish) underpinning (not allegory, more like the Space Trilogy than Narnia). Quantum physics, time travel, angels in disguise and mythical beasts all come together to weave an original story set in a society based on the events described in Genesis 6. A couple of American teenagers (twins) are sent by mistake to ancient Mesopotamia and are taken in by Noah and his family in the months leading up to the flood.
I quite liked it and it raised some interesting questions, but it’s not particularly orthodox, doctrinally. Oh, and it isn’t a book for reading with young children………If you haven’t read any of these novels before you’re probably better off starting with “A Wrinkle in Time”, the first in this series and L’Engle’s most popular and well-known novel.
Quick re-read inspired by my current following of The March Family Letters
(If you are interested in this sort of thing I can also recommend The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Emma Approved)
Re-read for the umpty-somethingth time. If you don’t enjoy this story then you must have a heart of wood.