29 Dec 2009


When Niece #1 and Nephew were small we always gave books as presents which they loved to have read to them but as they got older, bedtime stories were no longer on the agenda and they certainly weren't going to choose to read a book for themselves, we, largely, stopped buying them unless it was a football related book for Nephew and even then games consoles and the computer soon took over meaning buying books was a total waste of money. Such a shame as we would love for them both to know the joy of reading. Thankfully Niece #2 still enjoys her books and is at that age when some of them also appeal to me - I've just borrowed one of her JACQUELINE WILSON books, HETTY FEATHER, which I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing.

Christmas is a great time for children's books and I've enjoyed reading so many wonderful blog posts on the subject, thank you. Also interesting is the television adaptations of so many stories - on Christmas Eve we had the recent 2005 film version of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe and then on Christmas Day itself we had a wonderful adaptation of one of my favourite books, THE GRUFFALO by JULIA DONALDSON, which brings me to today's post which is about children's books/authors in the newspapers.

Firstly comes this lovely 'interview', Donaldson On Donaldson.

I think that perhaps my favourite bit of The Gruffalo are the roasted fox, scrambled snake and owl ice-cream. Originally the mouse was just going to say "I'm going to have lunch with a gruffalo", and the predators were going to say "Oh help" and run off. Then Jerry (my son) said to me "But they're all a bit stupid because they could quickly eat the mouse" so I thought, yes, the mouse needs to say he's going to have lunch now, here and that the gruffalo's favourite food is them. Then I thought that's a nice bit of scope for a little joke.

The gruffalo wasn't necessarily going to look like that. But the mouse has got to describe different bits of him, so obviously if you're in a rhyming metre they've got to rhyme and scan. If ears had rhymed with something he might have had some funny ears, or horns, or a tail that was odd in some way. You have to think of lots of different ways of saying it and see what rhymes. But what rhymes is just one little part of it.

- the Guardian.

But of course it isn't only books by 'new' authors that are popular, there is a growing trend towards the authors that I (perhaps you) read as children.

Take ENID BLYTON for example. One recent article in the press had a very interesting article claiming she had been banned by the BBC for almost 30 years (click HERE to view story) whilst a second article brought us this news .....

The old girl's done it again! She has emerged as one of the top 10 best selling authors of the decade, as defined by sales on Amazon.

Her continuing popularity 40 years after her death only goes to prove that there is nothing on earth so unremittingly reactionary as a new child reader.

- An edited version of an article by Lucy Mangan, reporting in the Guardian.

And also making it into the news is this list of the Top 10 Child Narrators In Literature at least according to JM of the Guardian. (* Indicates it is a novel I have read.)

10. The Story of Tracy Beaker - Jacqueline Wilson. *
09. Hideous Kinky - Esther Freud. (Judging by the title, surely not a book FOR children.)
08. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson. *
07. Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain. *
06. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer.
05. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time - Mark Haddon. *
04. Now We Are Six - AA Milne. *
03. Songs Of Innocence - William Blake.
02. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle.
01. Down With Skool - Geofffrey Willans.

Agree or disagree with the list, which books narrated by children would you include?


Mary said...

Are any of Roald Dahl's books narrated by a child? His are the books that got my son reading when he was young.

Nina said...

Hi, you got an award at my blog;


....Petty Witter said...

Thanks Nina.

Rob Innis said...

Do children still read?

Alice in Wonderland said...

I loved the docudrama about Enid Blyton that was on T.V. a few weeks ago. It's a shame that the B.B.C. treat her that way, but her books are still going strong, and I have loads of them in my collection!
I'm also looking forward to "The Gruffalo" too!
I have just found one of my absolute favourites on YouTube, and that is "Mouse Soup" which was made into a cartoon! It's brilliant! If you have time, look it up!

Vivienne said...

I hate Tracy Beaker with a vengence. I think she is the worst role model children have ever been given. I have banned my kids from watching her on television as she is just so rude to everyone all the time. She has so much attitude. I am not keen on Jaqueline Wilson books much either, as I feel she tries to make divorce and separation a hip thing to do and I don't want my kids to see that as the norm. I am really moaning today, aren't I?
Did you see the drama about Enid Blyton, I really enjoyed that, but her relationship with her own children was awful. I am surprised they have never written a biography about their home life with her.

Traci said...

I had not heard of several of these books. As my son is growing into bigger boy books, I will be checking some of them out... especially The Gruffalo.

As always, thanks for the good suggestions.

Martha said...

I prefer to read books, not listen to them, so I am completely unfamiliar with any child narrators.
I loved Roald Dahl and the Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, and Anne of Green Gables series.
Happy New Year to you and yours.

Kelly said...

The only books I've read on that list are the Milne and the Twain. Of course I'm familiar with the Blake and the Stevenson, but not the others.

My sister always gave my kids books when they were little. My daughter still loves to read and, at 22, we read many of the same books. In fact, she's anxious to start the Matthew Shardlake series when her schoolwork allows the time.

Traci said...

As you have become one of favorite blogs in the last month and a daily read, there is an award for you on my blog.
Happy new year.

chitra said...

We introduced books to our son at an early age and he became a voracious reader.

Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew are popular among Indian children also.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

LOL to #9 and your comment..... really on the curious incident of a dog int he night? We read that for book club a few years back and I seriously could not get into it.

....Petty Witter said...

Yes Rob, unusual I know but some children, I'm happy to say, do read.
Alice (In Geordie Land)The Gruffalo was brilliant. I'll be sure to look Mouse Soup up.
Vivienne. I can't comment as yet but will be certain to let you know.
Traci. Many thanks for the award, it's much appreciated.

kys said...

I am not familiar with all of those books. I will def. be checking them out. My youngest son loves to read. He takes a book with him everywhere he goes. I wish my oldest felt the same way.

Jenners said...

I keep getting mixed up if the books I'm thinking of are narrated by children or just about children ... I guess there is a big difference. Like Harriet the Spy -- I'm wondering if that was narrated or not? I honestly can't remember.

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