Books and Me

Childhood Favourites

After registering my daughter for the UK Summer Reading Challenge (a UK library reading scheme to get children reading throughout the summer holidays), I started thinking about my favourite childhood books.

I have settled on three favourites- Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh, Stig of the Dump by Clive King, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. These three books hold vivid memories and sentiment for me.

The picture above is of my copies of these books from childhood. I held onto them all these years and now have the pleasure to pass them on to my daughter. She has also acquired my extensive Roald Dahl and R.L. Stein collection. As the quotes says, ‘Blessed are the children of the bookworm for they shall inherit all the books.’

1. Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh.

Synopsis From Book: This is a story of a cat, a broomstick, and quite an ordinary schoolgirl called Rosemary. She bought them both in the market, the broomstick for two and fivepence, and the cat for three farthings, which was all the money she had left. Of course, neither cat nor broomstick were just what they seemed, and they turned up just when Rosemary badly needed something nice to happen to her.

A good cat is apt to be independent, so she did not have things all her own way, and as Carbonel proved to be a Royal cat in a very special sense, that was understandable. Between the cat and the broomstick, Rosemary picked up some nice, useful spells and magics, and the adventures they brought about turned a dull-looking holiday into one long to be remembered for it’s unexpected excitements and rewards.

This book was the book that kick started my love of all things magical and fantasy. Before there was Harry Potter there was Carbonel!  It was also the first book (without pictures) that I read in just a few days. To a child the idea of a talking cat, magic, and witches, was epic and enthralling.

2. Stig of the Dump by Clive King

Synopsis From Book: Barney is a solitary eight year old, given to wandering off by himself. One day he is lying on the edge of a disused chalk-pit when he tumbles over, lands in a sort of cave, and meets ‘somebody with a lot of shaggy hair and two bright black eyes’ – wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig, they learn to understand one another, and together they raid the rubbish dump at the bottom of the pit, improve Stig’s cave dwelling, and enjoy a series of adventures that are sometimes wildly improbable and sometimes extremely practical: one day they discover how to make a chimney with a batch of old tin cans, another they rescue the family silver from burglars, and on another they capture an escaped leopard.

Living in Cornwall, and growing up close to quarries and mine shafts certainly gave this book more appeal to me as a child. From a young age we were warned to stay away from mine shafts/ quarries, and the idea of a cave man living inside one fascinated me.

This story enthralled me with discoveries, adventures, and Barney and Stig’s secret friendship. At the time I never realised I was being educated on morals, ethics, numeracy, friendship, right verses wrong, recycling, and language barriers to name just a few.

3. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Synopsis From Book: This is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur, and of how Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful, grey spider, saved Wilbur from the usual fate of nice, fat pigs by a wonderfully clever plan which no one else could have possibly thought of.

I devoured this book as an eight year old, relishing in the relationships. I wanted my own Spider called Charlotte A. Cavatica. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ taught me the value of friendship, loyalty, courage, and life and death.

Clive King’s writing is superb, and he covers sensitive subjects without being heavy-handed. A perfect circle-of- life book for children.

I’m glad I experienced these books in my childhood, although re-reading them as an adult is an eye opening experience, but still just as magical.

Here are links in regard to this post:

UK Summer Reading Challenge: Summer Reading Challenge Information

Any Goosebumps fans will appreciate this link: Goosebumps Film Trailer I squealed with excitement when I saw this.

Buy Carbonel- Amazon Books- Carbonel

Buy Stig of the Dump: Amazon Books- Stig of the Dump

Buy Charlotte’s Web: Amazon Books- Charlotte’s Web