Favourite Childhood Books Recalled

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 Book Review by Dr Keith J. White

Four books came immediately to mind when the Editor suggested the theme of the November issue.

Teddy Goes Shopping

This was a story of a young bear entrusted by his mother with a trip to the local shop to purchase some groceries.  He went carrying a basket and list, and ended up battered and bruised from a detour into a field in which he encountered a bull.  He had tried to pick some blackberries, I seem to remember.  But he made it home with the shopping, and his mother treated his wounds with sticky plasters.  I suppose it’s a metaphor for life.

If Jesus Came to My House

This is a poem with some evocative illustrations.  It resonated with me on first hearing it read aloud, and it still resonates.  How would I react if a stranger came to my house?

The Island of Adventure

It was the first big hardback book that I recall reading.  I cannot remember much of the plot, but I do recall the feel of holding the book in front of the coal fire as I lay on the carpet.  I imagined I was a grown up.  What I did not realise was that years later I would be reading English at Oxford, living in a house lined with books, and adding to them with a few of my own!  If there was a starting point to my love affair with books, then Enid Blyton might have created it.

Little Black Sambo

Because of the title I hesitate to mention it in today’s climate, but I loved the pictures of the tigers running around the tree and turning to butter.  Where anyone else came into the story I can’t remember.  Later I read Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and I suppose there is a similar surreal transformation at the start of this novel.

Thomas, Joan Gale (?) If Jesus Came to my House
Mowbray (new impression 1970)

Blyton, Enid (1944) The Island of Adventure
Children’s Books

Bannerman, Helen (1899) Little Black Sambo
Grant Richards, London

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