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What are your favourite children's books?

Razia Iqbal | 12:45 UK time, Friday, 10 October 2008

gruffalo_300.jpgWe all know about the boom in children's literature, led by the boy wizard Harry Potter and those other heroes, such as the boy spy Alex Rider and the girl adventurer Lyra Belacqua.

It has been a remarkable decade or so for books for children. Anything and everything that is done to encourage them to wander into a library or bookshop and get lost in other worlds is important and serious business.

As we are in Children's Book Week, I thought I would ask you what your favourite books were as a child or what books you read to your children now? I wasn't read to as a child, but devoured books myself.

With my own children, (a boy aged 11 and a girl aged 7) favourites have now become classics, still talked about and mentioned from time to time.

Here are my top three:

1) The Gruffalo, by Julie Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was loved by both my children. Such a simple and clever story.

2) The Tiger Who Came To Tea, by Judith Kerr, is one of my all time favourites, for its ordinary delight in imagination, and the fact that my daugther has often said at the end of every reading "I wish we could have a tiger who came to tea".

3) Michael Rosen's Don't Put Mustard In The Custard, both book and tape (listened to in the car in the days when they had tape decks). Brilliantly read by him, and lines of such dreamy truth, and hilarity that they still come up in conversation.

What are yours?


  • Comment number 1.

    My daughter Alex is 3 and loves The Gruffalo too, in fact she's enjoyed all the Julia Donaldson books we have read. I'm sure Santa Claus will be bringing her 1 or 2 this Christmas!

    Lola and Charlie books are always well received as are the Little Miss stories which I also enjoy as I was a huge fan of the original Mr Men series as a child.

    I have to admit as an avid reader myself, books are the one thing that I indulge Alex in, buying a couple of new ones each month which we then circulate amongst friends and pass old ones onto younger children. We are also regular visitors to our local library, Alex has been a member since she was 9 months old. I have also taught Alex to look after her books and she now takes great care of them!

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm twenty-four and still catch myself saying 'Not now, Bernard!' after the story, which at the time gave me nightmares of being eaten by monsters and my mother not noticing. It turned me into a right Angry Arthur.

  • Comment number 3.

    Part of me believes that the impact of books on children's understanding of the world is greatly underestimated. We genuinely believed that worms could drive cars made of apples, as I deemed everything I read to be true, and took it upon myself to educate other kids of rabbits with watches and mad Danish princes and one-armed lampposts.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have 2 sons that are 5 and 3 years old and both they and I love Oliver Jeffers books, especially "The incredible book eating boy". His books are beautifully illustrated and make both me and my boys laugh.

    "How do dinosaurs say good night" by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague is always a crowd pleased as well with great 50s style artwork of dinosaurs living with human Mums and Dads.

  • Comment number 5.

    I love The Giant Jam Sandwich by the wonderfully-named John Vernon Lord and the more averagely-named Janet Burroway.
    Any slice of bread that requires a tractor to help spread the butter, and is robust enough to remain intact under such weight, has to be worth reading about.

  • Comment number 6.

    I used to pester my parents to read me a book called Don't Forget The Bacon every night for what must have been an entire year. It revolved around a child being sent out on some errands by his mum (a thrilling concept in the busy city I grew up in) and his ever-growing shopping list, which always ended in the line "...and don't forget the bacon!". That quote still gets used when I go home to visit the folks.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Gruffalo is a firm favourite in this household along with Room on the Broom also by Julia Donaldson.

    From my childhood and what we have for our little boy:
    There was an old lady who swallowed a fly and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

    Oliver Jeffers books as someone else has commented are beautiful.

  • Comment number 8.

    Where the wild things are - such a great book, and also a book i had as a child, think it was called katys new umbrella, i had a new umbrella and just waited for it to rain just like katy in the book. I must have read it over 100 times. The hungry catapillar was another great one, and dear zoo such a great way to get a child intrested.

  • Comment number 9.

    There are two books which I read as a child and have read many times again since becoming an 'adult' (allegedly!). They are - The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and Anne of Green Gables.

    The first I read when I was 9 and still adore it. I have, thus far, managed to avoid all adaptations of a celluloid manner as I don't want my own colourful imaginations ruined by viewing someone elses.

    The second was first read when I was 7 / 8 and last read four months ago.

    Unfortunately, I can't pass them onto my 8 yr old step-son as both books have a distinct lack of dinosaurs in them!!

  • Comment number 10.

    When I was growing up, Roald Dahl was very much the writer of choice, and my own personal favourites were "Danny, the champion of the world" and "James and the giant Peach"....

    Long may they remain classics...!

  • Comment number 11.

    At primary school I LOVED 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' and can't resist reading it whenever I see it on sale in bookshops today.

    Also avidly collected the ladybird series of little hardbacked books, particular favourites being 'The Magic Porridge Pot' and 'The Enormous Turnip' - I can picture the illustrations vividly and recite pages from them even today, twenty-something years on.

  • Comment number 12.

    My childhood favourites (most of which I still own, waiting for me to have kids of my own so they can be handed down) included:

    - Enid Blyton (Famous Five being a particular favourite)
    - Roald Dahl
    - AA Milne's Pooh stories and poetry books
    - Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer (for 10-14 year olds)
    - Anne of Green Gables

    Having recently been on holiday with friends and their small daughter, I can certainly confirm The Gruffalo is an excellent book and I bought two more Donaldson books for my little friend's 2nd birthday!

    MummyofAlex has just the right idea, the library is a great place to go to source books for your child. My dad is not big on reading, but Mum signed him up for the library when I was small so that I could have twice as many books out each week!

  • Comment number 13.

    I have no kids, but I see my little cousins reading Mr Men.

    I loved reading since I was a kid. I still love Roald Dahl's novels, like The Twits and the B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant). I as a kid I read alot of Enid Blyton, Sweet Valley and Goosebumps books.

  • Comment number 14.

    2. Loved both 'Not Now Bernard' and 'Angry Arthur' as a child and now read them to my daughter - who (although pretty sure she doesn't understand) appears to love them anyway as Daddy makes a fool of himself!

    A big fan of Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen as well.

  • Comment number 15.

    My 9 year old loves Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon and captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.

    He's also discovered a spooky new series - Scream Street by Tommy Donbavand.

    My younger son (2) loves The Gruffalo.

  • Comment number 16.

    A particular favourite of mine (once I'd gone past the joys of Beatrix Potter) was a book called Fattipuffs and Thinnifers. It was about two young brothers (one fat and one very thin) who fall through a crack in a rock and end up in an underground world, where a fat race a thin race are considering going to war. The boys manage to de-fuse the situation and the two races get along famously - a proper happy ever after ending. My copy went to another home many years ago. I'm now the wrong side of 40 and my husband managed to find me a copy last Christmas - I think I'd read it by lunchtime!

  • Comment number 17.

    My favorite childhood books were (and still are!):

    Anything written by Rosemary Sutcliffe
    The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
    Just William (all of them)
    The Compleet Molesworth
    Stalky and Co.
    The Mossflower series by Brian Jaques
    Anything written by Terry Pratchett
    Anything written by Robin Jarvis

    and, naturally, the Church Mice books by Graham Oakley. Wonderful stuff.

  • Comment number 18.

    When read to as a little kid, some of my favourite stories included:
    - "The Train Who Was Afraid of the Dark"
    - "The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark
    - "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear"
    - Rev. W Awdry's "The Railway Series"
    - The "Mr Men" series

    Plus many others i can no longer recall the name of =[

    Then when i was older and reading to myself, i enjoyed:
    - Enid Blyton's "Famous Five", "Secret Seven", "Barney and Miranda", and "Mysteries" series'.
    - Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" series.
    - Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series.

    Favourites as a young teen included:
    - Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl".
    - JK Rowling's "Harry Potter".
    - Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events".
    - Anthony Horowitz' "Alex Rider".

  • Comment number 19.

    I love childrens books and was very lucky that as a child my mother worked in a bookshop so my brother and I had hundreds.

    Before I was born Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was such a firm favourite of my brother's that if I was a boy I was going to be called Max. I also love it and In the Night Kitchen.

    I loved all the Roald Dahl stories, going from The Enormour Crocodile when I was small to Going Solo when I was older. Much of my love of then when I was small might be due to the work of Quentin Blake.

    I think my absolute faves were the Meg and Mog books.

  • Comment number 20.

    I loved The Tiger who came to Tea and remember reading that about 25 years ago. I also read Black Beauty with my Dad as a bedtime story.
    Now I have god children they all seem to enjoy the Mr Men books. I'm just waiting for my god-daughter to get a little bit older and I will introduce her to Anne of Green Gables. I read all the books in the series and collected them in lovely old hardback editions with green covers, sourced from many a charity shop!

  • Comment number 21.

    Oh and the Mog the Cat books, and Each Peach Pear Plum, Richard Scarry Books, Green Eggs and Ham, and so many more!

    I'm now off to order my friend's children a LOT of boooks fro Xmas!

  • Comment number 22.

    'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'; how good will always triumph over evil (or naughtiness, anyway!).

  • Comment number 23.

    My daughter loves The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson as, according to her, it features our cat (twice) and Daddy!
    As a child I loved The Children of Green Knowe - I still read it over when I'm at my parent's (maybe I should get my own copy...!)

  • Comment number 24.

    My favourite childrens books were theAbbey Girls series by Elsie J Oxenham which I read in the 1950s and 60s and still collect

  • Comment number 25.

    My personal favourites when I was a kid were Flat Stanley, The Secret Seven and (less so) The Famous Five, then when I was a bit older The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators and Willard Price's Adventure books.

    I have recently revisited Asterix and Penelope Lively's The Ghost of Thomas Kempe.

    My daughter is 4 and cried last week because Little Rabbit Foo Foo had to go back to the library.

    She also loves Horrid Henry - although I am slightly concerned that it may be giving her bad ideas!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    James age 3 last week loves all the Julia Donaldsons but has just dicovered Hairy McClairy, (from Donaldsons Dairy) which he thinks are hysterical and can recite them word for word.

    And the Large Family are bedtime favouites, and quite funny for me, especially if you make Mrs Large as exasperated as you sound sometimes!

    My favourites from childhood are the Famous Five. I think there should be more lashings of ginger beer available these days?!

  • Comment number 27.

    Our boy is nearly 5 and loves Oliver Jeffers, as do we. And he was good enough to respond to an e-mail we sent saying how much said boy loves his books.

    When boy is older I shall MAKE him read "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster.

    But I think the best children's book I've ever read is "A balloon for a blunderbuss" by Bob Gill.

  • Comment number 28.

    The Gruffalo is my favourite book that I read to my young daughters. Monkey Puzzle by the same Scheff/Donaldson is another favourite read as is 'Where's my Yellow Zebra'.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have been reading to my daughter since she was in the womb. She is now 2 and gets a story every night before bed. I have relied usually on all the classics such as Peepo by the fantastic Janet & Allan Alhberg, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,Not Now Bernard, mixed in with modern Noddy and Postman Pat, and she's just discovered and loves Topsy and Tim.
    I am an avid reader myself and want my daughter to enjoy expanding her vocabulary and experiences by enjoying a good book!

  • Comment number 30.

    I love the Gruffalo too, in fact we went to see the show and I was really wondering how they could make a full blown show from such a short book but they did and it was as good as the book.

  • Comment number 31.

    Apart from Julia Donaldson's books, which I agree are fantastic (try Room on the Broom!), my 3-year-old twin boys love the Amazing Machines series by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. They rhyme, have great illustrations and explain how things like submarines or trucks work in real detail. For older children I would try exploring
    Astrid Lindgren. She is a giant in Scandinavian and German children's literature but sadly quite neglected here bar Pippi Longstocking. The Brothers Lionheart is a beautiful introduction to talking about big issues such as death and conflict, and is also a rollicking adventure story with dragons and clever children galore. Mio, My Son and Ronia the Robber's Daughter are also lovely books and well worth a try.

  • Comment number 32.

    Peepo was a big favourite when my children were tiny and eventually I'd read it so often I could just recite it to them when we were on walks. The Jolly Postman, with all the little inserts and references to nursery rhymes also by the Ahlbergs is just amazing.Other favourites are Bear by Mick Inkpen which invites the reader to make the final decision and now brings on hoots of laughter from my two when they don't answer the expected way.The beautifully illustrated Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper, now comes out every halloween and the children shout 'the best you ever tasted!' if ever we buy some.Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae, Please Don't Chat to the Bus Driver by Shen Roddie and The Kiss that Missed by David Melling are others we think are really great.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mine would have to be 'The Hobbit', sent to me by a friend of my father's when I was seven, and which pulled me into the world of reading. Nearly fifty years later, having been an English teacher for all my working life, I can see what that book did for me.

    For my middle son, it was (sorry for the cliché) 'Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone'. Read when he was nine, on a rainy holiday when there was nothing else to do, it turned a reluctant reader into (this month) a first-year undergraduate reading English Literature at Oxford!

  • Comment number 34.

    My favourite book as small child was Horton Hatches An Egg by Dr Seuss.

    It was my introduction (at age 7) to the world of peculiar-looking creatures that populated Dr Seuss' imagination and his books and I quickly sought out The Cat In the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham at the school library.

    It wasn't until six months ago, when an exhibition of Seuss' work came to Croydon Clocktower, that I discovered that children's book writing was something that he turned his talents to long after establishing himself as an illustrator and humorist.

    Another favourite book was The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey - it may be more of a children's book for grown-up children, but I still love the tale of the peculiar pengin-like creature in trainers and a striped scarf that "came 17 years ago to this day and still shows no intention of going away."

  • Comment number 35.

    Terry Jones' 'Fairy Tales' was published just about the time my first daughter was old enough to read to - and I enjoyed the stories even more than she did.

    Later my second daughter loved them as much as we had.

    Now that all three of us are grown-ups we still remember the corndolly, and the slow ogre, and doctor bononculus - they are as real to us as the ugly duckling or alice's wonderland.

    It surprises me that the tales are not more widely known.

  • Comment number 36.

    Although my child is a teenager we still remember The Gruffalo, We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Guess How Much I Love You.

    Recently we were at a wedding and some lucky little girl's daddy was reading the Gruffalo story - doing all the voices too! - and my daughter and I just smiled at each other as we remembered all the fun we had with this book and The Gruffalos child.

  • Comment number 37.

    My favourites along with the wonderful 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea' were...

    Go To Sleep Little Bear by Jan Morgensen, a lovely little story about a bear who will do anything to avoid going to sleep with beautiful illustrations,

    And any Janet and Allen Alberg books like Cops and Robbers, Each Peach Pear Plum and the Postman books.

  • Comment number 38.

    Z for Zacchariah

    The Dark is Rising

    "Z" would also make an excellent film ^_^

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm 44 and loved 'Stig of the Dump', 'The Secret Garden', 'The Little Princess', the Narnia stories and any Enid Blyton.

  • Comment number 40.

    Our little one (who is fond of telling me she is a big two) loves 'Eat your Peas' by Kes Gray. We laughed with her on the first read and now recommend it to everyone. She loves anything from Julia Donaldson and the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd. She knows all the words to the classic Hungry Caterpillar and Bear Hunt.
    I think she would be happy with any book as she loves being read to. We made a point of reading to her every night since she was 5 weeks old.
    She now like to 'read' to me and I cant help but smile when you uses vocab like 'one day', 'firstly' and 'suddenly'!

  • Comment number 41.

    We liked "Cowboy Baby" and "Winnie the Witch". The Alfie stories by Shirley Hughes were great as well.

  • Comment number 42.

    My first best loved book was "A Child's Garden of Verse",by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith. It got lost during a removal many years ago. I walked into a shop in Edinburgh this summer and saw an old copy for sale. I burst into tears. It was like meeting a very old and much loved friend after a long seperation. In fact it was exactly that! I love any book illustrated by B Wildsmith

  • Comment number 43.

    Had a rather transatlantic upbringing.

    Dr Seuss, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew, Reg Dixon's Pocomoto series, from Jamaica Anansi the spider, and from Poland Koziolek Matolek, about a globetrotting Billy Goat, surely everyone's heard of him.

    #39, we're about the same age, I also loved The Secret Garden.

  • Comment number 44.

    My 3 year old son's favourite is definitely The Gruffalo. We're luck because he loves his books which I think is great to start at such a young age.

  • Comment number 45.

    My favourites were all Roald Dahl books, the best one was George's Marvellous Medicine - love all the ingredients he puts in! Also loved Enid Blyton, I was named after George in the Famous Five and always wanted to have one of their adventures! Still read them now along with Harry Potter; have read that series about 7 times and keep on going through it! Dahl, Blyton and Rowling send you on an adventure that many 'grown-up' authors just can't match! Loved them then and love them now!

  • Comment number 46.

    My particular favourites as a child were the Little Grey Rabbit series. As I got older, the 7 Narnia books were read and re-read but my absolute all time fave - Fantastic Mr Fox.... Bogus, Bunce & Bean anyone??

  • Comment number 47.

    My 3 year old daughter loves The Tiger Who Came To Tea - so much so that we routinely have to look for tins of Tiger Food when we go shopping.

    Also "One Snowy Night" by Nick Butterworth. She loves Percy The park Keeper and this one makes her chuckle when the animals all fall out of the bed

    Personally I think there is no such thing as a bad children's book - anything that captures their interest and gets them reading is great, regardless of whether it's a piece of classic childrens literature or a comic

  • Comment number 48.

    As a child 'Tootles the Taxi' was one of my favourite reads mainly because it meant my mum had to create lots of different voices for all of the characters.

    So despite reading alot of the books others have mentioned, my son's favourite for about a year when he was 2 was 'Hello, Goodbye'. I got it for 50p from a charity shop and still can't believe that nobody else had heard of it, or that it hadn't become a classic.

    Then again without imagination and lots of silly voices many would not see the fun in it.

  • Comment number 49.

    I recently cleared my loft out and found 'The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark'.

    Wow. What a book! I used to read that every night and even carried it around with me. I couldn't help reading it again when i found it and the memories came flooding back.

    Also i used to be transfixed with 'Where The Wild Things Are'.

    As i got slightly older i remember the other book that i would read over and over was Eric The Viking.

    Ahhh. The old ones are the best!

  • Comment number 50.

    My daughter is now nearly 4 and we have read to her every night since she was about 6 months old. There is a 3 story limit, and a newly introduced rule of 3 different stories!!! (reading the same book 3 times in a row by day 5 gets a little bit boring!!)

    The fav's are anything by Julia Donaldson (we have a couple of the song CD's as well and they are well played too), Charlie and Lola, anything that Mick Inkpen has done, but to be honest just books in general!!! Whenever she sees a book shop she wants to go in and have a look for a book or two .... and we visit the library regularly as well (Nursery also take them to the library).

    She also has some of the 'Monster' books that her Dad had when he was little (illustrated by Quentin Blake) and loves these .... these seem to fetch a lot of cash on e-bay, but they are being read and enjoyed as they are meant to be instead!!!

    The other weekend when she was feeling under the weather with a cold, it turned into cuddle and story time in the afternoon - 25 books later I must admit I was in dire need of a cup of tea, but she loves to be read to and will recite the words back as well.

    Even as she learns to read, I am going to carry on reading to her until she begs me to stop!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Young (being read to):
    - Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" and "Fox in Sox (my Mum apparently hated them!)
    - Richard Scarry (anything)
    - Meg & Mogg (specifically "Meg's Eggs")
    - Where the Wild Things Live by Maurice Sendak

    When I was a bit older:
    - Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
    - TinTin on the Moon (i.e. both books) by Herge
    - Garfield (does that count?) by Jim Davidson

  • Comment number 52.

    A book that my sister and I remember fondly from our childhood is "The Piggy In The Puddle" by Charlotte Pomerantz and James Marshall - "Mud is oofy, mud is poofy, mud is oh so oofy poofy!".
    We also loved 2 great books which we inherited from our Mum's childhood. They were about a fairy boy called Widgery Winks. The books are ever so slightly tatty these days, but once in a while I take them down off the shelf and remind myself of simpler times.
    Other favourites from my childhood included the Narnia series, Watership Down (which I still enjoy reading today) and Alan Garner's books.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well, as a lad in the seventies and early eighties, I used to love ghost books - the Armada series spring to mind - and I had a soft spot for the 'Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigators' books.

    Now I'm a dad to a wonderful two year old boy, I'm having great fun watching his reaction to books. His current favourites are the 'Hairy McLary' / 'Skinny Malinky' books, the ubiquitous 'Gruffalo' and a book called 'Come to tea on planet zum zee' (which facinates him, bless!)

    I'm really looking forward to the day when I can pull out my big box of childhood books (including the 3I books) and start reading them to him. For him, of course, not me, though it'll be a fun journey once again :-)

  • Comment number 54.

    As an adult my favourite books to read to my children have to be the ones that also have humour that appeals to the adult. Of course the classic of this is Winnie the Pooh, which has much which goes over children's heads but is very funny. I would also include The Large Family and the Kipper books. (The absolute opposite are Spot stories which are simply deadly, sleep inducing stuff - for the adult!)

  • Comment number 55.

    Razia Iqbal here: Thankyou all so much for sending in your favourite books and ones you read to your children. I have loved reading what has clearly been a trip down memory lane for some and revelling in what you currently love doing, all bound up. My son, now 11, still loves being read to. I just finished reading Jamila Gavin's Blood Stone to him, which i really enjoyed reading too! Am going to try Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Ruhsdie on him next. That was the first book he wrote after the fatwa in 1989. I don't think there is an age when adults should stop reading to children, though I am always hoping that he will instinctively pick up a book and lose himself in the story. Doesn't happen too often, though was staggered at the way he raced through the last Harry Potter book! Keep the stories coming. Great to provide a resource we can all tap into!

  • Comment number 56.

    Blast-off from Woomera by Hugh Walters (and the rest of the series, all sadly out of print)
    The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe (I think)
    Historical fiction by Geoffrey Treece
    Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine stories
    Most things by Enid Blyton (except Secret Seven, I hated Secret Seven).
    Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (and the rest of the series)
    Little Women (and the sequels) by L. A. Alcott
    What Katy Did (and the sequels) by Susan Coolidge
    Weirdstone of Brisingamen (and the sequels) by Alan Garner

    Yes, I read a *lot* (and still do).

  • Comment number 57.

    Great to see so many classics mentioned already, the owl who was afraid of the dark, don't forget the bacon (still a phrase in my family too) Roald Dahl & the tiger who came to tea all definitely make my list.

    However no discussion of childrens' books would complete without mentioning How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen, and A Near Thing for Captain Najork by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, two books of outrageous lunacy, high jinks and frivolity featuring Captain Nafork, Aunt Fidgit Wonkam Strong, a jam powered frog and kids getting one over on their parents. Anyone for friggldy hoops?

  • Comment number 58.

    I used to love the Mossflower books by Brian Jaques and as a Yr 6 teacher overseas I have been pushing them on my students and they love them as well. Roald Dahl was also a big favourite. I have been discovering the genius of Michael Morpurgo, an author who I think I missed when I was a child. I am currently reading one of his books to my class and as well as being good stories it's wonderful to see the way it applies to their lives. Brilliant!!

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with all of the above mentioned - all the classics of course should be included, AA Milne, Lewis Carroll, CS Lewis etc but I have to mention Nicholas Stuart Gray, nowadays seemingly forgotten, although his most famous 'Over the Hills to Fabylon' appears at astronomical prices on Amazon and Ebay. Have managed to find others such as 'Grimbold's Other World' at more affordable prices. I was addicted to him as a child, his magical stories rival JK Rowling and her ilk but it was the humour in his stories which made me read him again and again. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy him, she is seven, a little young yet. At the moment we adore anything by Lauren Child, especially the chapter books about Clarice Bean. When she has a new one of those we have to read another chapter as soon as she comes in from school. Thanks to all the great children's writers who have enriched our childhoods, and equally, thanks to all the great children's book illustrators whose work is an art form in itself.

  • Comment number 60.

    I love Beatrice Potter's children stories because they are much more than just that. Kids find them fun, and entertaining, and love the pictures. Adults can find deeper ideas and can truly enjoy it when reading to their children, for example, try "Johnny Town-mouse". That is one of my favourites.

  • Comment number 61.

    This has been great to read to get some inspiration for my 6 year old son, I now have Swallows and Amazons on his Christmas List! We're currently reading Fantastic Mr Fox as bedtime reading.

    The books I enjoyed as a child are all listed by others previously but one seems to be missing which is the Mary Plain books. I used to get these out from the library as often as I saw them and loved them as a child. I haven't seen them for years and don't even know if they are in print.

    They are about a real bear who lives in the bear pits in Berne, Switzerland. She's quite naughty and very outspoken and quite wonderful.

    Has anyone else enjoyed these books?

  • Comment number 62.

    This is one I guarantee you will not have heard of!
    "Voice in the Mist" by Nigel Cubbage, a children's ghost story mystery set in the Scottish Highlands. This is the kind of book I would love to have written - and kids will love it. You need to buy it online as I cannot find it in bookshops - hopefully it will only be a matter of time as this book deserves to be talked about.
    It is beautifully written, intelligent, humourous, with a touch of Local Hero in the gentle humour of the Scottish characters. The Anglo-Scots rivalry is well explored. There are twists and turns at the end of every chapter that leave you on edge to know what comes next. Definitely superior to JK Rowling, in my humble opinion.

    The plot is clever and ultimately satisfying - it weaves historical fact and fiction together very cleverly, taking us on a journey that brings in Viking warriors, ghost wolves and Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is about the first ghost story I have read which is believable. And there is an interesting twist at the end which eaves you thinking and wondering.

    The main character Rebecca is a bright, sassy girl and her interplay with the local lad Drew is amusing and insightful. Very refreshing to have a female lead character who does not conform to stereotype.

    And if this author hasn't lived in Scotland, I'm a monkey's uncle. He has a clear love for the Highlands and the descriptions make you think you are there - you can smell the fresh air, feel the mountain breeze.

  • Comment number 63.

    Mutara Nebula and other readers should ask their local independent bookshop to get titles like "Voice in the Mist" for them. If you really love books then the best place to browse and fully enjoy them is in your local bookshop where you will generally find that helpful, informed staff will be happy to get you anything not already on the shelves. These days, children enjoy browsing through all the fantastic titles, too.
    For instance, in the pre-school market, how can you possibly choose between Mairi Hedderwick's classic set on a Scottish island, "Tiresome Ted," or the latest Debbi Gliori or anything illustrated by Anthony Browne, unless you can leaf through them gleefully with your little one?
    For slightly older readers, "Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf" really has stood the test of time and for teens who like science fiction and fantasy but have worked their way through most of the current crop, did you know that John Wyndham is enjoying something of a revival? "The Day of the Triffids" still takes some beating.
    This year's best seller in our shop though? "Gallop." Go down o your bookshop and check it out!

  • Comment number 64.

    Not so sure about the ability of local bookshops, Moltovivace! What is the point of going to a bookshop to browse if the book is not there?!

    I too have read Voice in the Mist - bought it off Amazon. It is superb. Such imaginative writing, humour and excellent characterisation. More Pullman than Rowling, certainly.

    My personal favourites though have to be Narnia - unbeatable.

  • Comment number 65.

    My 6 yr old is now through Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl - she loves anything with a hint of mystery and magic. I have just looked at this "Voice in the Mist" on Amazon and it looks great - perhaps a bit old for her still though. Seems to be aimed at 11/12 upwards.

    My favourite book from Childhood was Wind in the Willows, from the day it was read to us in class by a favourite teacher!

  • Comment number 66.

    I hope that Llanellitillidie will forgive me for saying that he/she has missed the point. The great thing about independent bookshops is that you will see different titles, not just stack-em-high-sell-em-quick towers of blockbuster novels. Of course we sell all the latest, popular, new books, but instead of filling the shop with vast numbers of copies of those we also like to make space for more unusual titles, reflecting local history and supporting local creative talent, for example. In our shop we have had "Voice in the Mist," for instance.
    My point is that our customers really enjoy browsing in our shop for fresh ideas, but if there is something specific which they want us to get in then we're only too pleased to do so. We enjoy offering that service to our customers.

  • Comment number 67.

    RaziaIqbal: I am excited! Ordered and just took delivery of Nigel Cubbage's "Voice in the Mist". I agree that we should support, independent and preferably local bookshops, but I wanted to get this asap, and see how good it really was. I love the enthusiasm that goes with discovering something you didn't know; will let you know what I think of it once I start reading it .. or maybe I should get my son to put up a post and get him to say what he thinks! I need to persuade him to stick his nose into the book first though! Thanks so much for the recommendation.

  • Comment number 68.

    i would have to say that the giving tree is a real treat. however, the dr. seuss books are just tough to beat.

    these are my top 3:

    1. The King's Stilts
    2. Scrambled Eggs Super
    3. On Beyond Zebra


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