It’s Top Ten Tuesday again – it happens every week! Today, it’s Childhood Favourites. Here are mine:
Tim and the Hidden People
by Sheila K McCullagh. Tim finds a magic key which enables him to see the Hidden People. He befriends a black cat and starts riding a broomstick. I came across this ancient class reader series in some dusty attic, and discovered that adventures can happen in the mind.
The Secret Island
by Enid Blyton. With my first book token I picked this – The Secret Stories – which were a forerunner to the more famous Famous Five series. Three siblings escape cruel relatives to live on a secret island, which is the start of their adventures with Prince Paul (!) of Baronia. I would go on to read a lot of Blyton, but this stayed with me the most.
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O’Brien. Talking animals didn’t interest me. I never liked Beatrix Potter or Wind in the Willows. OK, I liked The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann, but the mystery of the secretive colony of rats at the centre of O’Brien’s Newbury medal-winner captivated me.
by Helen Cresswell. When you think of stately homes, what comes to mind? TIME TRAVEL, that’s what. I’d mention A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, and Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce here too.
Five Children and It
by E. Nesbit. The first in a trilogy. Five kids staying at their uncle’s mansion discover a grumpy sand fairy who can grant wishes. Wishes go wrong! I also loved Nesbit’s The Treasure Seekers, featuring the adventurous Bastable children.
The Chrestomanci Series ‘Witch Week’
by Diana Wynne Jones – author of Howl’s Moving Castle. Part of the Chrestomanci series, Witch Week is set in a parallel world, similar to ours, where magic is common! Off the top of my head, Jones’ Archer’s Goon, A Tale of Time City, and The Dalemark Quartet brightened my childhood.
The Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S Lewis. I don’t recall loving Lewis’ writing. Despite that, and my ‘talking animals’ prejudice, there’s no denying the pull that Narnia had on me.
Midnight is a Place
by Joan Aiken. This historical melodrama lays it on a bit thick: wronged orphans, awful guardians, old mansions…I loved it, and also Aiken’s alternate history The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
The Children of the New Forest
by Frederick Marryat. This was my maternal grandfather’s favourite, which he gave to me as a present. Set in Civil War England, the Beverley orphans hide in the forest to escape Cromwell and the Roundheads. Other classics I loved included Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, The Prince and the Pauper by Twain, and the slightly later The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
by Judith Kerr. WWII historical fiction dominated heavily in my reading. Pink Rabbit was probably my favourite, but I also loved Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, and I am David by Anne Holm, which was set a little later.
Soon I moved on to paranormal romance, but also Brontë, George Elliot, and Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier.
So that’s my 10…OK I cheated a bit!