Wednesday, April 17, 2013

#ReaditMD13 - "Classics from the Attic" - Our little collection

Inspired by Loll Kirby's brilliant Loft Treasures post, we thought we'd take a look through our bookcases for books my wife and I owned and passed on to Charlotte.

We both had very different upbringings, but both came from families who loved books and passed that love of books on to us, just as we're doing with our own daughter. I had a tough time as a kid, we had very little money but we always had books - and when we had to leave London to move to Oxford, about the only thing we could transport with us for one reason or another was our book collection (mine and my sister's).

This one was undoubtedly something my Nan would've picked up for me second hand, a book by Racey Helps called "The Tale of Hunky Dory" - And though it doesn't look like much, it's been a very well loved book over the years and one I've owned since I was about 2 years old or thereabouts.

"The Tale of Hunky Dory" by Racey Helps 
The 'scrawl' on the cover was there when I was originally given it, and it had long lost its slip cover but the illustrations inside are stunning...!

Aww! Just look at him! So cute!

Look at those Hazelnuts, you can almost taste them!
Moving on a step or two, both my wife and I loved Richard Scarry books when we were kids, and I was so pleased when my mum found one of my old ones in her own loft (there are probably a heck of a lot more books stored at her place but we've not been brave enough to go looking - there's an awful lot of stuff in their loft!).

Teeny Tiny Tales by Richard Scarry
Just as it says on the cover, there are 11 bite-sized stories in the book and it's one of the few Richard Scarry books I can ever remember seeing real kids in (as opposed to animal characters). A girl who plays with a fantastic little doll's house, and a boy who takes a lonely pony for a ride.

I love the guy on the cover, Farmer Pig and of course Farmer Junco and his colour-swapping Tractor!

Moving on again and this was one of my wife's books - an early convert to the fabulous works of one Babette Cole - who my daughter now knows and loves for an entirely different reason (thank you Doctor Dog!)

Pingwings - a Flying Bird by Oliver Postgate and Babette Cole
A brilliant little story and the Pingwings are adorable characters.

More you say? How about this rather fantastic book...

Twinkle and Winkle - Two Dormice by Phyllis Kelway and Len Fullerton
Hmm I think my Nan liked books about Dormice, she also bought me this one. Back when Jumble Sales were 'the thing', she used to pick up a lot of books for my sister and I from there. Thank goodness, those books are so brilliant and have amazingly stood up to a lot of reading!

Next, something that belonged to my younger brother.

The Garden Gang - Percival Pea and Polly Pomegranate by Jayne Fisher
Jayne was 9 years old when she started writing and drawing this collection of fruit-and-veg based books for Ladybird. I wonder what she's doing now? Jayne if you're reading, get in touch we'd love to hear from you!

More from my brother's collection, which he's kindly donated to Charlotte...

The Wuzzles - Rhinokey's Opening Night by Mel Gilden and Jim Magon
Wuzzles were a popular toy range by Hasbro, mutant animals mixed up and available as luxurious plush toys (with a price tag to match). My brother loved them and still has quite a few of the toys (which Charlotte gets to play with whenever she goes to stay at Nanny and Dodo's house). The book's not too bad, think "Pokemon" about 15 years before the whole Pokemon thing exploded. We love the maps inside the covers.

The last couple are from my collection, which again Charlotte has inherited (or at least will inherit when she starts to read on her own).

The Ultimate Alphabet by Mike Wilks
The Ultimate Alphabet is utterly brilliant. It takes detail to a whole new level as Mike Wilks painstakingly painted huge illustrations full of objects starting with each letter of the alphabet (often putting himself into the pages, no narcissism there then!)

I think I remember there being a competition to find all the objects and list them all - but it's still a delight for Charlotte who loves picking out the tiny little objects and details. It's a great big hard cover, which I rather mercilessly used to use as a lap board so it's been leaned on for drawing and even sculpting (!) - Amazingly it's stood the test of time and is still in fab condition.

One more from my collection. You'll now realise where I get my love of terrible misprints from...

Even More Fun-Tastic by Denys Parsons
So cheesy, with great illustrations all the way through.

Last but by no means least, this isn't really my loft treasure it was someone else's. I originally owned a copy of this book which was lost during countless house moves, and it took me around 25 years to find another copy.

The Giant Under the Snow by John Gordon
To me, this is the true definition of a loft treasure, a book that you loved so much as a child that you can't wait to share it with your own children. This book has been hugely influential, and even as an adult I still read it just to savour how I remember it making me feel when I first read it as a very young child (probably around the same age as Charlotte is now). The characters are fantastic (Jonk, Bill and Arthur) as they're three ordinary kids that - in retrospect - were almost the Harry, Hermione and Ron of their day. The baddies are truly spine-chilling. A huge black dog that chases the three kids around, a nefarious giant rising again from the dead to stalk the earth, and the hissing alt-human leathery skeleton warriors that filled many of my nightmares. Just look at that cover! Would that not make you want to read this book?

I found this copy at a car boot sale, priced at 50p. I handed the vendor a fiver, with tears in my eyes and told him the story of how I'd been hunting for a replacement for my childhood copy for so long. He took the fiver, rather stunned that anyone would place such importance on something he was (to all intents and purposes) chucking away!

We'd love to hear about and see some of your classics from the attic. Dig 'em out, take a pic and drop a comment below or tweet us on @readitdaddy. 


Catherine said...

The Garden Gang - I had forgotten about them :o) Will try and get a pic of my classic all time favourite to you.

ReadItDaddy said...

The Garden Gang books are quite fun - would love to see any classics you find, so yep please do :)

olivia280177 said...

I used to have that ultimate alphabet book. Those Garden Gang books - i used to be allowed one from the supermarket if i'd been good!