Thursday, July 26

Wishful Wednesday- for kids to read....

The sad passing of the inimitable Margaret Mahy (if you have never read any of her books step away from the computer & go immediatly to the local library, you wont regret it:) got me thinking about books in general, and children’s books in particular. When Mum moved we were under strict instructions to please finally remove the piles of books we had left behind! A few treasures were unearthed, what follows is a completely arbitrary run down on my fav’s……….

Little House in the Big Woods

For starters, my all time favourites, the Little House series. From The House in the Big Woods right through to Almanzo & Laura’s wedding in These Happy Golden Years I devoured the lot. The wonderful description of the maple dance, the day the family kill the pig, Caroline Ingills making butter, so much fascinating food history (I was all about the food even as a kid…….), I recently reread several of the books and enjoyed them just as much. Again I am not sure the iPod generation would find them as fascinating, I can only hope……..

The Classics: The Little Woman series by Louisa May Alcott, oh how I wanted to be Jo, although I have always suspected I may have more in common with conservative Meg. I read the entire series of these books, growing up with a gaggle of sisters I could certainly relate (although surely none of us were as sweet and kind as Beth!) Do girls still read them? I hope so………

Now I know kids still read these, The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. If you have not read the adventures of Jo, Bessy & Fanny with their friends Silky & Moonface, you must immediately befriend a child with even a modicum of reading taste, they certainly will have. I have the box set, although I realized the other day they actually belong to my sister………whoops

More recent reads: Beverly Cleary’s brilliant Ramona Quimby stories. Poor Ramona has many trails to deal with, not least her bossy older sister Beezus, but she handles everything with her brilliant imagination, even when things don’t go to plan….. I loved these books, so funny and clever; I was surprised to find they had been made into a movie. I watched the first 20 minutes on a flight back from Fiji, but the characters were so far away from the ones in my head I had to switch it off; don’t you hate it when that happens?

My younger sister started reading about Carbonel (the King of Cats!) by Barbara Sleigh and I followed suit. The books have been reissued, and are a great read, especially if, like me, you fully appreciate how clever cats really are……….

Sweet Valley High, yep, I am a child of the 80’s! Francine Pascal series follows the lives of impossibly pretty popular twins Elizabeth & Jessica Wakefield living in Sweet Valley California where it never rained, they never got zits, or chubby, despite living on milk shakes & French fries . Apparently there were 152 books in the series (?!) I got my fix courtesy of my best friend across the road. Looking back the stories are so incredibly American I wonder now what the appeal was, but at the time they were compulsive reading. A follow up book Sweet Valley Confidential, following the lives of grown up Elizabeth & Jessica was released last year, I am reliably informed to give it a miss ……….


I cant not mention Mollie Katzen and her amazing Moosewood Cookbook, and the follow up Enchanted Broccoli Forest, I LOVED these books, I got them out of the Library so many times I should have just brought them………all that wonderful hand lettering, and some of the dishes seemed very exotic to me, tofu, really????

So, what were your favorites??


  1. For me St Clare's & Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton...I dreamt of going away to boarding school & lots of midnight feasts. And yes being a child of the 80s I loved Sweet Valley High! Oh & not to forger Anne of Green Gables :)

    1. Oh yes, Boarding school did sound very exotic (although when my friend in the UK tells me what they used to eat I may not have lasted long....?) How could I overlook Anne of Green Gables?!


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