Childhood favourites

yvonne yvonneh at
Fri Feb 14 20:51:15 EST 2003

I'm joining in this thread a bit late, but I can't resist -

1. Marigold at Godmother's House - by  Joyce Lankester Brisley. Who also wrote the Milly Molly Mandy books. I LOATHED Milly Molly Mandy, but I love Marigold. Marigold's godmother was a REAL fairy godmother. I still love it, but I've only ever met two other people who have read it. (They loved it too)

2. The Billabong books by Mary Grant Bruce. Another series that is apparently politically incorrect for her portrayal of aborigines, Chinese and and various other nationalities. Which I find fascinating, because the overriding message that I found in the books was that the main characters treated everyone with respect regardless. So I got 'respect' and never believed that all Indians, Chinese, etc were employed as market gardeners or hawkers and spoke broken English. There was a segment on one of the
current affairs shows on these books being republished in a new (censored) format, and the justification was that LIBRARIANS wanted them changed. I spent hours on the phone trying to find that wretched publisher. I wanted his evidence, I still want his evidence!

3. Narnia. We only owned The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. My mother tried to tell me there were other Narnia books, but as she then told me that Lucy and Emund and Susan and Peter were not in them I didn't read them. Now when my daughter asks questions like that I smile sweetly at her and say "Read it and find out". My first purchase with my very first pay packet at the age of 17 was the complete set. My daughter owns the complete set in hardcover - she smiles sweetly at me whenever
I see her with one of them. She's twelve. It's not fair.

4.Le Guin. I read the Dispossed, and then discovered the Earthsea books. The Tombs of Atuan was my favourite, and still is, but The Dispossessed was astounding. That was when I discovered that books didn't just tell stories, they make you THINK!

5. White Boots - Noel Streatfeild. Skating Shoes, for the Americans on the list. Probably a favourite more because it's the last book I remember my mother reading to me. The only problem with learning to read was Mum didn't read to me anymore. Some people can read aloud, and some can't. My Mum is one of the best. I had a weaving project in high school, which drove me crazy, because I couldn't read and weave at the same time (I'm sure there has to be a way) and astonished my mother by begging her to read
White Boots to me while I finished it.

6. Sorry I'm cheating -Horse books. Especially the Pullein Thompsons, K M Peyton, and  a series by Anne Farrell (closely related to a member of this list!). About a family who live at Guara, a dairy farm in Tasmania. I still have a copy of Shadow Summer, and I'm constantly checking second hand bookshops for the others.

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