Coming back to books from childhood, these two are absolute favourites and I read them many times:
‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ by Norton Juster is the story of Milo, a bored boy who passes through the tollbooth in a pedal car and becomes embroiled in a quest to rescue two princesses, Rhyme and Reason, and so bring peace to the warring kingdoms of Digitopolis and Dictionopolis. It begins with a map of the kingdoms and the many hazards between them. The illustrations are wonderful and the story abounds with jokes and puns, but has enough plot integrity to keep you reading.
And then there’s
‘The Little White Horse’ by Elizabeth Goudge. Completely different, but again completely magical. I read it and read it again; what was it in those pages I needed? Maybe it was the romance of it all; sitting in my suburban bedroom in the seventies, which featured lime-green paint, fake knotted-pine cladding wallpaper and a view out to a concrete path and paling fence, a story set in a beautiful old manor in 19th century England could not have been more exotic .
Written in the forties, this book is seriously old-school. It’s pages are stuffed full of wonderful characters both animal and human. It has a moon princess, a mysterious horse from the sea, a suspiciously leonine dog, bad men thieving from villagers, old wrongs to be put right and more. And it also begins with a map – so many immersive books do, don’t they?
Two wonderful children’s books; I love them still.