Sunday, 19 June 2011

I took some books

out of the cupboard last weekend, picture books. My great nieces are still too small for them but my brother wanted to look at them.
They were books we had when we were small. There are not many of them. Although we were exposed to a good many books we did not actually own many. My father used to borrow them from the school in which he worked and read them to us.
We did have a few however and my mother, who often gave away things she felt we had "finished" with did keep some of the books. I think she used them when she was teaching and kept them until she retired. By then she had grandchildren and probably thought they would be useful for them as well. For that reason we still have some books from our childhood.
They are mostly "Little Golden Books". They must have been relatively cheap. There is a story about a tug boat which my brother remembered loving. There is the "Rainy Day" book which has all the tiny fold out pieces still intact. Underneath those are the raincoat and hat and boots etc. There is Old MacDonald's Farm and the Little Red Hen. We knew the stories so well we could recite them.
There are other books as well. We still have The story about Ping by Marjorie Flack and I have since bought copies of that for the Whirlwind and my godchildren. There is a story about Epaminondas which would now be looked on as extremely politically incorrect. There are two tiny, tiny books - each about two inches square - that we were given by my paternal grandfather. He found them in a local delicatessan one day and gave them to us for good behaviour.
And there is a copy of "When we were very young". It is old and battered. My brother opened that and started to read and then to recite. My father joined in. He can remember those although it has been thirty years since he used AA Milne in a school.
I had been to our local indie long before the family arrived. My father wanted to be sure his great-grandchildren also had access to the works of AA Milne. They were wrapped and ready to go in my brother's bag. There are copies of "When we were very young" for this coming Christmas. There are copies of "Now we are six" and there are copies of "The House at Pooh Corner" for future occasions. My father wanted to be sure that they would get there.
My brother and I know there are other books we want our father's great-grandchildren to read too.
We know because my nephew picked up one of the books and held it up for his sister to see saying, "Remember this?!"


jeanfromcornwall said...

There weren't many books available when I was small (late '40s to early 5o's) but I remember having a couple of Golden Books - one of them was "Little Yip Yip and his Bark". They were American and they were colourful, when not a lot else was - austerity.

My childhood AA Milne were the ones my Mother had from her Grandfather - one of them is a first edition! They will stay on my bookshelf and new, more robust copies have already been installed on the Grandaughter's bookshelf.

I can still make shift to recite all of "The King asked the Queen and the Queen asked the dairymaid" and many others. This is culture!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, yes, yes Cat - AA Milne is something all children should have!
I need John's great big waterproof boots right now too! Chris

Frances Thomas said...

Did you ever come across a picture book about a girl called Matilda (of course) who lived in Australia? It rhymed Australia with 'paraphanalia' I recall

catdownunder said...

Yes Jean, definitely culture! Chris you left your wellies with us years ago. They have rotted by now - should have come to see us earlier.
Hello Frances, no I do not know the book. I am not sure I have ever heard of it. I will have to look at Saxby (the authority on Aussie children's lit) and see if it is mentioned.

Frances Thomas said...

It was many many years ago, and since I was reading it in London, it probably wasn't even an Australian book. But I did love working out (probably with a little help from my dad) and remembering that word paraphernalia - even though I just now had to look up the spelling.
But those books we read when we're small really become part of your mental furniture, don't they?

catdownunder said...

Was it Diana Lawrenson's book, "Paraphernalia's Present" I wonder? I don't know it but I googled and came up with that! You are right about books becoming part of your mental furniture!

frances thomas said...

Alas, no, but thank you for looking. I suspect it may simply have been called 'Matilda' but of course any search for that just ends up with Roald Dahl. Never mind; I might locate it by chance one day