Tuesday 19 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Childhood favourites!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by the Broke and the Bookish. This week were to choose any of the previous top tens. I picked Childhood favourites.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. I couldn't have a list without this on it. I loved this so much I don't know how many times I checked it out the library. A tiger turns up at the door and is invited in to tea. He eats everything the family has in their fridge and cupboards. I loved both the story and the illustrations.

George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. As a kid I devoured all Dahl books. The first one that was read to me was Charlies and the Chocolate Factory. This one though remains my favourite. It was probably my evil streak which was attracted to it. Unlike the gran in this book both of mine were lovely ladies and yet I wanted to make them a potion to see if they would grow taller than the house. Thankfully my mum vetoed the idea (have a feeling it had more to do with the mess I would make).

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. This was a birthday present from my favourite aunt. She usually got me books for my birthday and I love that. This book though I didn't like straight away. Took me a few attempts to get past the first few pages. I think it was because Mary was so unlikable at the start (which she was meant to be). Determined not to let my aunt down I finally did make it through the book and loved it. It then became one of those books I would read over and over again. Drawing secret gardens became a favourite too after that.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read the entire series in one sitting when I was off school sick. I loved it from the start. I just couldn't imagine a life where your dad would build the house you would live in. It was all so different and I remember my mum telling me that it was based on true stories. This made it all the more appealing.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This was a present from my parents, probably because I loved the Secret Garden so much. It became a firm favourite and again one I read over and over again. I loved the idea that this little girl used her imagination to help get her through tough times. That she was still able to be kind to her friends despite it all and of course that it all turned right in the end. There was just something magical about it.

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I don't actually remember much about these books although I remember loving them. I do remember Katy was the oldest of four children who were brought up by their father and an unappreciated aunt. Katy had a fiery temper which her father was always trying to help her with. At one point she has an accident and she has to learn to walk again. It's only then she appreciates what her aunt does for them. My favourite in the series was actually What Katy Did at School. I had a thing for boarding school stories and was disappointed that it was so short.

Gemma by Noel Streatfield. Gemma is taken in by her cousins who are all talented musicians. They perform regularly. Gemma wants to be one of them and she takes up the banjo. I have always wanted to learn to play the banjo thanks to this series. I am sure Gemma was a little selfish and spoiled at the start of the book and was quickly taught to be otherwise through her cousins. It was the music side of things that appealed to me though.

Emily Of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery. I did read the Anne of Green Gables books growing up but whilst I liked them they weren't my favourite. I preferred the Emily books. The character Emily had her flaws (unlike Anne if I remember correctly) and it was for this that I liked her more. Like Anne she is an orphan but is taken in by her aunts and cousin. She learns life on the farm and makes friends in the process. She also has to convince her aunt that writing isn't a waste of time. It still shocks me that these books are now out of print.

Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. Criticise Blyton all you want but when I was growing up no one thought they were particularly harmful. I read some of the Famous Five but I wasn't particularly interested in those. If I wanted detective stories I read Nancy Drew. As I mentioned earlier I love books about boarding schools and the Malory Towers series were my favourite. Yes, I know now that they were sexist amongst other things but I liked stories of midnight feasts, pranks and school plays. At that age I didn't think about the negative side. It was just good fun and for that they are on my list.

The Diary Of Anne Frank. This is another book I read over and over again although I haven't done so in years now. I found this book so heart breaking because it was real and yet so inspiring. It was a book we had to read in primary school and I am glad that we did.

You will notice that almost all of my childhood favourites have female leads. There is a reason for that. I was such a girly girl back then plus much of what I read was influenced by what my mum read when she was little. My dad didn't read much until his late teens so he didn't really have favourite books to share with me. Later when he tried with the Hobbit it was too late. I wasn't interested in reading about smelly boys. As an adult I realise I missed out on so much; Huckleberry Finn, Wind and the Willows and of course The Hobbit to name but a few. There are also other books that I loved but didn't quite make the list; anything by Shirley Hughes, My Naughty Little Sister, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and The Children of Primrose Lane.


  1. What a perfect list. I grew up loving Dahl, Blyton, the Little House books, The Secret Garden & A Little Princess too. It's funny how just seeing their titles can bring me back to the first time I read the books; or, with the Little Princess, the first time I saw the movie. (A special day at the theater with my mom, and we had it all to ourselves - what a shame, because that was a good adaptation.) It's also funny to realize that I, like you, mostly loved books with female leads...I was especially into stuff like Nancy Drew, Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, though now my reading tends to stuff written by men and I'm pretty oblivious as to the gender of the main character. I wonder when that happened?

    -- Ellen

  2. Thanks for stopping by!

    I loved little House on the Prarie! I've never heard of George's Marvelous Medicine, but I love other Dahl books, so I'll definitely have to check that out. Man, this list makes me want to plop down at the library and read children's books all day.

    I'm a new follower. :)

  3. I loved Nancy Drew, Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley too. Like you I have grown out of the female leads. I don't really notice it, the story is more important now. Plus most of my favourite authors are male. I don't know when that happened either. Possibly when I moved into high school.

  4. Thanks for following, have followed you back. Definitely read George's Marvellous Medicine. It's one of the best. Lol, know what you mean. When I was putting the list together I had an overwhelming urge to abandon it and go and pick up these books again.

  5. I thought about doing this as my list, but I couldn't resist the chance to write about villains. :)

    If I had picked this one, I think people would have been confused. I read everything as a child, without caring if it was geared towards boys or towards girls. This includes Goosebumps, Boxcar Children, and the Babysitter's Club. I just wasn't a very picky lad. If it had words, I would read it.

  6. I picked Childhood Favorites this week as well. I can't believe I forgot to include A Little Princess and The Secret Garden! I loved both books as a child. I also had a hard time warming to Mary, but as you mention she was supposed to be unlikeable. Great choices!

  7. Diary of Anne Frank was one of my favorites, and Roald Dahl too. Great list!

  8. I read a lot og Roald Dahl but not the others. I was a bit too much into horses though!

  9. I still can't help but love Enid Blyton, even though I watched this biopic with Helena Bonham Carter and she was totally horrible to her own children... I liked The Naughtiest Girl in the School best though :). I also love Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild- have never read Gemma though!

  10. I loved The Secret Garden. Still do. It's one of my favourite books of all time :)

    Great list!

    Books of Amber

  11. @Gabriel, I did consider doing villains as I love a good villain but my mind went completely blank when it came to making a list. I honestly whish I had been more open minded as a child. I missed out on so much. I'll read some of the classics now but I know how much more magical they would have been as a child.

    @pwb, animal books was another bias I had. I tended to avoid them (apart from the Fantastic Mr Fox and The Enormous Crocodile). Again I think I missed out that way.

    @Laura, I haven't seen it but I have heard stories that Blyton pretty much ignored her children. Hard to believe since all her books were for children.

  12. I just love this topic. I love Roald Dahl and I think I've read all his kids' books. I had forgotten about George's Marvelous Medicine.

    Here is my list