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I have been thinking about the books I have kept with me since I was a child. I still love kid’s books and one of the huge pleasures of having children is dipping back into the world of children’s literature. It’s a world of great invention and talent and often the skill of the authors and illustrators is underrated just because they write for children. Juvenile fiction is in the past for my boys now, but they were the reason I read Harry Potter -before the hype- and the wonderful ‘His Dark Materials’ series by Phillip Pullman and the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer.

Anyway these are some of my old books.

I loved the Moomin family series. I retained some, lost others, replenished the stocks from op shops when I could. You can also see there -just- the old pink covers of the Doctor Dolittle series and of course there’s the Narnia series, also my originals from the 70’s, so a bit worse for the wear. I read that series so many times, I think I know them by heart nearly.

There’s a couple of Uncle books, I don’t know anyone else whose read those, but there were plenty in the Nunawading library where Mum took us regularly, so I read many of them. Uncle was a fabulously rich elephant who always wore a purple dressing gown and lived in an amazing castle with multiple towers where all sorts of incredible denizens and adventures were to be found. He was always battling his enemies and winning of course. The delight of these books was not in the characters who were usually arrogant or toadying or vile to some degree, but in the inventiveness of the situations and the wonderful illustrations of Quentin Blake, one of my most favourite illustrators ever. He also illustrated many of Roald Dahl’s stories, which I, like most children, loved.

Which also reminds me that Quentin Blake featured in the Cricket magazine for kids fairly regularly- does any one else know that magazine? It was a Canadian publication and featured little stories, poems, puzzles and comics. I loved it, but  I don’t actually have many- I remember borrowing more in the series from the library as well.

Anyway the hall bookshelf is full of nostalgia and is really messy and due for a tidy up. But I know if I try to tidy it, I will end up sitting on the floor, surrounded by books, reading and remembering. Then I put them all back and go and have a cup of tea.

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