For those of you into children’s books you may have noticed a definite resurgence of many of the much-loved stories from my childhood and from past generations. Grug is back in a big way, as are the Mr Men books. The ever-popular Beatrix Potter stories have a prominent place in most book stores and even Enid Blyton’s Noddy is back in circulation after it’s somewhat controversial fall from grace some years ago.
To me this is pure heaven (keeping mind that I named my dog Beatrix and even my daughter has the same name as one of Potter’s endearing animal characters). I seem to have chosen the perfect time to start my own family and introduce my daughter to the delightful stories I remember as a child. Having said that, she definitely has her own favourites as well as those influenced by me. I am fortunate in another way as well, and that is as a self-confessed bibliophile (from a family of bibliophiles) I seem to have raised a child that, at two, has a book obsession to rival my own. To say I’m one proud mother would be to understate the fact immensely.
Those currently in high circulation at our house include any of the books featuring Maisey or Alfie (I’m sure she would like us to name the next child either one of these names depending on its gender). Hairy McLary is well liked as is her collection of Grug and Dr Seuss. Of course there are other classics that come and go in their popularity including Possum Magic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Paddington Bear.
Among the most enduring of her books however are two very old-fashioned nursery rhyme books, many of which would not be considered very PC at all. I’m sure the Old Woman in the Shoe would be reported to child protective services these days (not to mention being offered some serious family planning advice) and Jackie from See-Saw Margery Daw would be saved from a life of enforced child labour or at the very least the face of a TV campaign by Amnesty International. Not only has she loved these two books from a very young age, but she can now recite many of the rhymes, in part at least, as I read them. She loves to peck off her own nose for Sing a Song of Sixpence, stars are forever known as ‘uppers’ thanks to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (“…up above the sky so high”) and ‘Baa Baa Baa Sheep’ is the favourite to sing into her karaoke-style microphone attached to her toy keyboard.
And while I may encourage her love of classic children’s stories and those loved by my generation, she also seems to be naturally drawn to these rather than the more modern tales. My one failure at this point is that I have not been able to pass on my absolute unconditional love for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – I may have to move to Timbuktu if this isn’t remedied in the coming years.
I only hope that with the beginning of Kinder and then school she isn’t enticed to the Dark Side by that ever-present peer pressure to find a love for Hannah Montana, Dora the Explorer or anything else of a similar genre. Perhaps home-schooling might be the only solution to keep my delightful little retro-toddler just the way she is…. then again maybe not!