There is no genre quite like children’s literature when it comes to the creation and sustenance of our most ethereal, elemental dreams. Even the most notoriously bookshy of us remember the tales of our childhood. Even if your favourite youthful adventure or fantasy is not in any book you know, surely it was told to you…whispered in your ear during a rowdy recess break, or murmured across a campfire. If parents allow themselves to release their grip on adult sobriety, they, too, derive an equal pleasure from reading to their children, as their children delight in the listening and the looking, the reaching out to touch ornately patterned pages.
I have never denied myself the joy of reading a child’s book, of immersing myself in the story, of delighting at the quality and expressiveness of the illustration — and I daresay I am the merrier for it. Deciding to embark on this feature sent me back to the bookshelves of my parents’ house, where I grew up, where I often return. Instinctively, I knew just where to find certain titles; memory drew me back to them unerringly. Others I discovered by searching, rummaging through stacks, disrupting fine layers of dust. The revelry of rediscovery was no less than the satisfied thrill of anticipation. I read; I reread. I traced out lines of familiar faces and places, amazed at how it all came back to me, wondering whether it ever really left.
Beginning now and continuing indefinitely (as far as the road may wind, hopefully), Novel Niche will feature two children’s books each month. Some of these books I read when I was in pinafores, thigh-high white socks and brilliant red ribbons. Some I savoured in a business suit and sensible heels. All are beloved to me, and I am pleased to share them with you.No tags for this post.