Thursday, 24 January 2013

Threesome Thursday: Children's Books

Today I am sharing my three favourite books from my childhood

1. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

 Written by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Julie Vivas


This book is the heartwarming story of a little boy with four names who lives next door to an old people's home. His favourite person of all is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper because she has four names just like him.  Wilfrid overhears his parents talking about Miss Nancy losing her memory and being the curious and caring child that he is, Wilfrid wants to understand what memory is so he can help Miss Nancy find her lost one.

The rest of the book involves Wilfrid asking grown ups (mostly the residents of the old people's home) what memory is and then finding things of his own that match the descriptions. He then presents the "memories" to Miss Nancy and she shares with him the stories of her life. The final page of the book says

She bounced the football to Wilfred Gordon
and remembered the day she had met him
and all the secrets they had told.

And the two of them smiled and smiled
because Miss Nancy's memory had been found again
by a small boy, who wasn't very old either

Its Mem Fox, what more needs to be said? The illustration by Julie Vivas are still some of my very favourites to this day. Needless to say, as a kid who grew up with a Nanna she loved and adored more than life it's self who was suffering from Alzheimer's, this will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm crying now just from reading that final page.


He called on Mr Tippit who was crazy about cricket
he went into the hen house and took a fresh, warm egg from under a hen
She smiled at the puppet on strings and remembered the one she had shown to her sister and how she had laughed with a mouthful of porridge


 2. The Friends of Emily Culpepper

Written by Ann Coleridge, Illustrated by Roland Harvey



Emily Culpepper is an old lady who enjoys
cooking and travelling, but most of all
she enjoys talking to her friends.

Sound like a fairly innocuous start to a book right?! But we soon discover that this old lady likes talking to her friends so much that she makes them small and puts them in jam jars, pickle jars and coffee jars. She's not cruel to them of course, she lets them out every day to eat lunch and have a play in an old doll's house. Sometimes she has trouble catching them and "the hunt is quite exciting". Eventually a policeman comes and tells her she has to let them go... of course nothing is ever that simple in a children's book but I'll let you discover for yourself what happens next.


3. The Pinkish Purplish Bluish Egg

Written and Illustrated by Bill Peet


This book is about Myrtle, the Turtle Dove, a very loving bird who is experience empty nest syndrome having said goodbye to her grown up children birds. Feeling a bit weepy, she hides in a cave for a mope and finds the pinkish, purplish, bluish egg. With the help of some squirrels she gets the egg into her nest and sets about trying to hatch it.

Soon all sorts of birds began flocking around


To see the big egg that Myrtle had found-

Blue jays and redbirds and noisy magpies

And a big stuffy owl who was worldly and wise.

'It won't hatch, said the owl. 'That egg is stone-cold.

Why for all we know it's a thousand years old.'

"If it does hatch,' a jay said, 'I'll bet it's a turtle,

For, after all, you are a turtledove, Myrtle.'

But the dove didn't listen to what the birds said;

She was bound and determined to go right ahead

So once the egg hatches it turns out to be... dun dun dun... a GRIFFIN!

Of course all the other birds are very unaccepting of Zeke the Griffin because he's "different" from every one else, stupid bigoted birds. They eventually drive him out of his home and away from the only mother he's ever known because he's "dangerous" (code for different to us and makes us feel weird and uncomfortable because we like every one to look and act exactly the same because even though we are birds we are actually a representation of humanity in case you didn't realise).

Then some bad dudes come and threaten the safety and well being of the birds and Zeke, despite having been treated like crap, saves the day cause that's what Griffins do cause they are noble and honourable and fierce and loving. Then of course, because he saved them, the birds somehow find it in their hearts to accept him as one of them (except for the arsehole Owl who continues to insist that he's mythical and doesn't actually exist).

Bill Peet is a fantastic author and his books always contain hidden moral lessons and fabulous illustrations. I obviously loved this book a lot growing up because I named one of my children after the main character! (Not on purpose, not consciously anyway).

Honorary mentions go to 

About a quite unintelligent baby bird who doesn't quite understand the way the world works
The quintessential Australian Kids' book, it has Vegemite in it FFS! Can't get much more Aussie than that
I hesitate to put this book even on the honourable mentions list because my little sister, Alex, and my mum used to torment me with it by reading it EVERY SINGLE TIME my sister had a sleepover. But of course, my torment was all for show, it made my sister laugh! This one gets a mention for the memories

Another great Australian kids' book that involves outsmarting the "bad guy"





















What were your favourite childhood books?

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