Monday, July 23, 2012

Stories for a Prince by various authors / artists (Hamilton Publishing Inc)

Here's a book we previously only owned as a story CD (my wife points out that it was originally hers on Story Cassette), but spotted in book form at the excellent Fire Service Book Sale which was held just up the road from us on Saturday. You can read more about the book sale on the excellent Abingdon Blog (the Abingdon Blogger was even lucky enough to get a ride in the massive fire engine crane that was hoisting people up into the big blue yonder for most of the day).

Stories for a Prince collects together tales told by children for the (then) 16 month old Prince William (and illustrated by some superb children's book illustrators including one of our faves, Babette Cole - who illustrated the Nessie story in this book). There's something quite involving and inspirational about the way kids write. Free of the need to nail down their narrative precisely, but with the free-flowing imagination to build deliciously interesting characters, kids could teach adult authors a thing or two and this collection of tales features such a diverse set of stories and interests that even though the book is nearly 20 years old, the tales still work when told to kids of today.

Short bite-sized stories, beautifully illustrated. Books like this should happen a lot more often (if you're reading this, publishers, make it happen!) - It'd be really interesting to see what the differences are between the stories those 80s kids came up with and what the current generation of kids would write in a world dominated by videogames and apps.

Charlotte's best bit: Nessie and Bessie!

Daddy's favourite bit: Naturally, Babette Cole's illustrations for the above story.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Book of the Week


Anonymous said...

Hello , I'm the author of Walter the worm ( Andrew Nicholson ) . I was just messing on Google and found your site . Brilliant to see. I still have the book and audio cassette . :-)

ReadItDaddy said...

You've just made our day (particularly since Walter the Worm was one of Charlotte's favourite stories!) - Wow, thank you so much for popping by and leaving a comment! My wife's copy of the book and tape is something of a family heirloom now and we always like to think that Prince William kept one to read and play to his own kids.

Awesome to hear from you!

David S said...

I used to listen to this over and over again in the car when I was little. I loved Walter the Worm too! Acting as a shoelace to save the ball! I wish I could find this collection now in a more modern format...mp3 or something? I can't play in the car for my little one because we've no cassette player!

Rob Edwards said...

Just stumbled across this review, I'm one of the other writers from this book, I wrote Dragon Valley, a long long time ago. Nice to know there are people out there who really enjoyed the book. I've actually just done a reading of my story for my podcast, if it's of any interest, you can find it at


Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this post after googling "Stories For A Prince" and "Old Scrunge and the spaghetti trees"! I'd had a sudden flashback to my childhood, and those long car journeys when this audio cassette was played on loop - I remember the narrators and the music were fantastic, I can still hear their voices in my head. I was hoping to find a book version. Shame it doesn't seem to be in print!

Thanks for writing about it!


ReadItDaddy said...

Awww, it's lovely to see so many people who have fond memories of this book, and so brilliant that some of the original authors have tracked it back to here. We treasure our copy and were very lucky to happen across it in the way we did as my wife originally had the audio tape version, and the book was brilliant to share with my own daughter. Hopefully one day in a dusty old book shop or car boot sale you might just spot it (National Trust bookshops are also little treasure troves for classic books like this that are sadly out of print). Almost a shame Prince William didn't do something similar for his own two kids :)

J Smith said...

Can anyone tell me if there was a story about a dragon who could not sleep by Joanna ellis? I remember my story had Also been chosen and I have been searching this book for years...thank you !!!

Lulu Hartgen said...

I remember the audio cassette so well, it was bought for my baby sister, but we all loved it. Ed Stewart and Nerris Hughes (excuse if spelling's wrong) were the readers. I loved how each story had its own special piece of music and still remember some of the tunes, especially Walter the Worm, Briney the Donkey and old Scrunge's tune. I also remember the story of Idrys the Dragon and How the Giraffe Got His Long Neck. How extremely politically incorrect that would be today! How I wish I could read the whole book, I'd love to read all the stories, not only the selection which were on the cassette, come to that I'd love to hear the cassette again, especially as we lost dear Ed Stewart last year. I'm really surprised the book's out of print, it's such a time capsule. What a shame a new generation can't enjoy it.