tripartite children's book mememe

Posted: 02/09/2006 in books, Me Me Me

Brought to you by way of Reading Matters.

Name your three favourite children’s series.

Although, I cut my teeth on Ms Blyton’s serial creations it is the Just William collection by Richmal Crompton that will always be number one with me. I remember when my Mum introduced me to William and the Outlaws, Elizabeth Bott and the long suffering Brown family. I loved that Richmal Crompton wrote adult style prose for children. I enjoyed being engulfed in the scrapes that William got himself into; my favourites are when he invented a twin (Algernon) so he could continue stealing fish to build an aquarium and pretended to be a unrealistic wax work.

Next up is the Bagthorpe Saga by Helen Cresswell. This family is so funny and screwed up that your own (or mine in this case) pales in comparison. Everyone in the book is obsessed with adding strings to their bows or getting one over their more successful counterparts apart from ordinary Jack. One of my favourite episodes involves the family getting into competitions and collecting wrappers from tins. It gets to the point where the larder is full of naked tins of food and you don’t know whether you are opening dog food or peaches. I remember my dad going through a similar phase and bulk buying mints in order to get the digital watch.

I haven’t actually read any of the other books in the Green Knowe series apart from Children of the Green Knowe. It has all the ingredients of a good children’s story: the abandoned child, a spooky house, ghosts, a mystery and Christmas. I just wish the BBC would release on DVD (or any format) the adaptation they filmed many many years ago.

Name your three favourite non-series children’s books

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, a tale of children separated from their parents during the second world war. Powerful, moving and still brings me to tears nearly twenty years after I first read it.

Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. Poaching, living in a gypsy caravan and a whole village conspiring together against those fools in authority. To this day I can’t eat a raisin without thinking of them soaking them to plump them up, then filling them with ground sleeping pills and finally sewing them up.

Box of Delights by John Masefield, a Christmas adventure filled with magic and suspense.

Name 3 favourite children’s book characters

The cigar smoking, retired witch hunter granny in Roald Dahl’s The Witches. The granny Mrs Oldknow in Children of Green Knowe (because she really cares for Tolly) and Minty from Mooddial (I just love her name).

I think my choices are rather telling. I would appear to have a thing for dysfunctional families, grannies and a preference for a male protagonist.


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