After my social media poll on topics for my blog, most of you wanted to know why I turned down a publishing deal (which I’ve explained here), but many of you also voted for a blog on my favourite children’s books. So I thought I’d write about both!
I’ve picked five favourites from my childhood, all of which I still own (although one is hidden in my mum’s loft). Since I’m quite old now – and most of the books I read as a child are even older than me – none of these picks are recent… but I have enjoyed reading a few newer children’s books as an adult recently so maybe that’s a topic for another blog. Anyway, cracking on with my first choice:
Five Go Down To The Sea – Enid Blyton
So this one is not going to be a shocker for anyone who knows me… I love Enid Blyton and I love The Famous Five! One of the reasons I wanted to write The Adventurers was the nostalgia I felt for adventure stories from this era and the fact that not many contemporary stories (that I could find) seemed to have the same effect. I’ve picked this one because it’s among my favourites from the series – by the sea with some funny moments, memorable side characters and lots of fun!
Most of my Enid Blyton books were second-hand ones I found at my Nan’s house, here’s my copy of Five Go Down to the Sea which I’ve read at least 20 times.
The Witches – Roald Dahl
I read a few Roald Dahl books and whilst I enjoyed them all, this was the most memorable for the sole reason that it scared the living daylights out of me! Roald Dahl was so tuned in to what kids find funny and what they find ridiculously terrifying. Is it just me, or did anyone else freak out at the moment when a real witch turns up underneath the treehouse carrying a snake? *Shudder*…
The Jolly Christmas Postman – Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
My original copy is hidden somewhere in my mum’s loft, but who can forget this absolute classic! Reading other people’s mail has never been so much fun!
The original version is just as outstanding, but I’ve included the Christmas one here as it’s the one I had at home and it’s festive fun!
The Rockingdown Mystery – Enid Blyton
It’s another Enid Blyton book – I’d include 50 of them in this list if I could!
The Rockingdown Mystery is another belter of an adventure story – an abandoned mansion, mysterious happenings, sparky characters and a monkey called Miranda… I can’t find this book in print anymore which is a real shame, I hope kids today still get to discover its greatness through second-hand copies, as I did.
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
This is by far the most beautifully illustrated book in my childhood collection, with wonderful drawings by Graham Rust. Secrets locked away and hidden in a forbidden space… one of my favourite themes in children’s books. The 90’s film adaptation is pretty good too. My brother always used to wind me up by saying I was identical to the main character in the film. We both had a pretty sizable fringe to be fair, but I think he mostly thought it was funny because the main character spends half the film being a total brat!
That brings an end to five of my favourites! Which five would you have picked? Let me know in the comments below!
Bye for now,
*Jemma Hatt is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.