When I spotted that it was International Children’s Book day today it really got me thinking. My own childhood seems like forever ago sometimes but there are some books I look back on fondly and there are of course books like we read to Tigger, and that we’re looking forward to introducing her too.
When I think back it is some classics that stick in my mind, although I don’t know how much of that is down to the regular reminding you get these days, especially as a parent. For instance The Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiger that Came to Tea were favourites of mine and I absolutely loved the colourful illustrations. Another that I adored was The Mousehole Cat, written by Antonia barber and illustrated with the most wonderful images by Nicola Bayley. I got to visit Mousehole in Cornwall when I was around 19, and even then (and now!) I could still vividly remember the pictures which made looking out at the harbour, calm and still as it was, just magical. Unfortunately I can’t find a good enough image with proper credits to give you an idea of just how fabulous the illustrations are but here’s a link to the search results on Google and I’d really recommend a look.
Currently Tigger’s favourite books include a Peppa Pig book (I could recite it off by heart!), and she loves her range of pop-up books we’ve got, especially the animal ones. To be fair she’s only 18 months old but there are some classics in there like Dear Zoo and of course various The Hungry Caterpillar books which include the fantastic illustrations by Eric Carle.
What is so clear is that many of my favourite books as a child were ones that had wonderful illustrations with them which made them memorable and fed my imagination. It also meant that when I got older and the books I was reading had less and less illustrations my imagination had been fully primed to do it on its own which it did with aplomb. I remember seeing the first Harry Potter film and thinking how different it was to how I’d imagined it, having started reading them long before the films started. I can only hope I can do the same for Tigger!
To finish I want to include a poem, the fourth verse of which has stuck with me (and my dad!) ever since I had bed-time stories and from what I can remember the illustrations were also wonderfully detailed, colourful yet muted and perfectly suited to this poem. Unfortunately I can no longer find the book in print, or its published date, but the magic of online means I’ve found the words! The poem is from Fun and Frolic (Ed. by E. T. Roe) and is called Going to Bed written by T. Hood:
What were your favourite books as a child, and which would you make sure you could pass on the next generation?