Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

My Rating: 5 stars
Copyright: 1943
Published: 1971
Pages: 185

This was my all-time favourite book growing up & unbeknownst to me at the time, my first experience with the fantasy genre. As a child I was so enchanted with the story, I believed the Enchanted Forest and the Magic Faraway Tree were actually real.

Only a few pages in and this delightful story came rushing back, along with the magical, wishful feelings experienced as a child. Fanny, Dick, Bessie & Jo, Moon-face, Silky, Saucepan, Dame Wash-a-lot & the Angry Pixie became old friends once again and the lands at the top of the Faraway Tree re-ignited my love of Enid Blyton. The Land of Do-As-You-Please, The Land of Goodies & The Land of Presents must surely be every child's dream

The Magic Faraway Tree and other stories by Enid Blyton will always hold a special place in my heart.

Posted on my blog The Eclectic Reader

The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

My Rating: 5 stars
Copyright: 1928
Published: 1974
Pages: 176

When I found my 1974 edition of The House At Pooh Corner I just had to re-read this much adored childhood favourite.
It was a nostalgic visit to the 100 Acre Wood to play with Pooh, "a bear of very little brain", Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger & of course Christopher Robin.

The stories within are simple & funny & endearing & silly & I giggled & sighed my way through them. As an adult you realise how 'little brain' Pooh actually has :-) & how neurotic Piglet is & Eeyore's sarcasm becomes apparent. As an adult I enjoyed the rhymes and poems, the funny adventures but I also enjoyed the quirky insight into human nature & the subtle reminder of what's important in life. I'd forgotten that The House At Pooh Corner marks the 'end of a chapter', Christopher Robin is leaving his childhood & his friends behind.

"Pooh, when I'm - you know - when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"
"Just Me?"
"Yes, Pooh."
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
"That's good," said Pooh
"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
"How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded."I promise," he said.

These aren't just characters in a book, they're friends, friends you're never too old to visit.

Posted on my blog The Eclectic Reader

Friday, 24 April 2009

Charlotte's Web

Thanks to the movie, the plot of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is well known to most children. [I love the version with Julia Robert's voice as Charlotte.] In case you missed it, here is the story line: Wilbur, the Pig, lives on the Zuckerman Farm. He was horrified to learn he will be killed and made into bacon and ham. His best friend, Charlotte the Spider, vows to save him. Charlotte does her thing, which is to spin a web with the words ’some pig’ in it. Will that be enough to save Wilbur?

There are more characters than Wilbur and Charlotte. There is Templeton the Rat, the old sheep, the goose and the gander who talk funny. And, there is Fern, the eight-year-old girl, who understands what the animals are saying. There are some grown-ups as well.

Published in 1952, this book has served several generations. I remember first reading it when I was a young teenager to the children I was hired to babysit. Each week they were anxious for me to come and read more chapters to them. My children loved the story too and now the granddaughters.

One of the things I like best about this book is that it does not talk down to children. Charlotte has an excellent vocabulary and uses words like versatile and languishing. Wilbur always asks Charlotte what the word means and Charlotte gives an easy to understand definition.

This is a good book for our four-year-old granddaughter as she loves big words and already has a huge vocabulary. I recommend it for children three and up as a read-to book and as a read-on-your book for big sisters(or brothers) of eight and up.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, HarperCollins Publications, 1952.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Title: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Author: Dr. Seuss
Genre: Childrens
Challenges: Childhood Favorites Reading Challenge, A to Z Reading Challenge, 2009 Support Your Local Library, 20 Books in 2009, Pages Read Challenge 2009, PB & J Challenge, 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge,

Rating: 4/5
No. of Pages: 62
Published: 1960

From the back:
"Did you ever fly a kite in bed? Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?" Such are the profound, philosophical queries posed in this well-loved classic by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. While many rhymes in this couplet collection resemble sphinx-worthy riddles, Seuss's intention is clear: teach children to read in a way that is both entertaining and educational. It matters little that each wonderful vignette has nothing to do with the one that follows. (We move seamlessly from a one-humped Wump and Mister Gump to yellow pets called the Zeds with one hair upon their heads.) Children today will be as entranced by these ridiculous rhymes as they have been since the book's original publication in 1960--so amused and enchanted, in fact, they may not even notice they are learning to read!

What a wonderful rhyming book as usual for a Dr. Seuss. I’ve always love this one and like reading this with my youngest nephew. I always love the illustrations that he does. The Zeds with one hair. How can you not think it’s funny.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Book #3: Mandy

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
Date read: 4/13/2009
Rating: 3*/5

My thoughts:

I enjoyed re-reading this book as it was one of my favorite books growing up. As I read, I smiled at remembering Mandy's climbing over the wall, and even though I knew how it would end, I still worried when she was in the cottage while she was sick.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Book #2: Stuart Little

Stuart Little by E.B. White
Date read: 4/2/2009
Rating: 5*/5

My thoughts:

I don't know how many times I've read this book, but reading it again for the Childhood Favourites Reading Challenge was a joy. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still laughed when I read about Stuart inside the piano, and I felt sad when his friend Margalo the bird left home.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Chilhood Favourites #2

Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson
Illustrated by Adrienne Adams
Translation: R.P. Keigwin
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961

A lovely version of the classic tale, this book was one of my favourites! As a young girl, I was enchanted with the idea of a child no bigger than your thumb growing inside a magic flower. Apparently the narcissus and tulips that grew in our yard, though very pretty, were not of the magic variety. Try as I might, no small girl or guardian flower sprites were ever found.

Stolen from her mother, Thumbelina escapes the clutches of an ugly toad and a tiresome tedious mole, both of whom want to claim her for their wife. A swallow that she nursed back from the brink of death carries her off to warmer lands and a kinder fate.

Exquisite illustrations enhance the experience of returning to a childhood favourite, they just don't make them like this anymore. To see more of Adrienne Adams work in this book, click here for a real treat.

** cross-posted at A Season to Read **