Kid’s Stuff

Children’s literature has enriched our culture for generations. Actually for centuries;  Kathryn Walton argues convincingly that there was a rich seam of children’s literature in the middle ages, albeit much of it oral.

We read children’s books as children, obviously, but they are often enjoyed by adults. Although this has long been the case with books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows I think that books originally aimed at younger readers are more readily enjoyed by older readers than ever before. You might call this the Harry Potter effect. I am old enough to remember when The Hobbit was firmly considered a children’s book (actually, we did it at school) and Lord of the Rings was regarded with considerable disdain by the literati, at least partly because it dealt with what were seen a children’s book subjects while clearly being aimed at adults.

Fantasy has, in fact, long straddled the divide between children’s literature and books for adults with many classic fantasy writers: Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ursula LeGuin, Alan Garner and more, writing wholly or partly for children. Perhaps because fantasy, like children’s books, were rather looked down on by the literary gatekeepers, so there was less to lose.

It seems to me that there are two aspects to children’s literature, coming at the subject as adults: the books we enjoyed as children and those we enjoy as adults. These may be the same books or they might be very different.

As a child I loved Alan Garner and I re-read, and enjoyed The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Elidor a few years back. I compulsively read Enid Blyton’s “Adventure” books and can’t imagine enjoying them now.

I have also enjoyed some children’s books for the first time as an adult. Laura Ingles Wilder’s, The Little House on the Prairie was fascinating but I really loved Diana Wyn Jones’s, Howl’s Moving Castle.

But what about you? What children’s literature did you devour when you were young and what have you enjoyed as an adult – and how much do they overlap?

Finally, which children’s and YA books should go on a list of essential reading?

3 thoughts on “Kid’s Stuff

  1. The Trees Are Laughing

    The wind is light
    But the trees are laughing
    As if mocking the attempt of a mere breeze
    To knock over its mighty fortress
    The ancient wind giggles
    Playing with a young tree
    Like a man with a child on his lap
    For it knows that one day it will succeed

    A C Nicolson

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August Walks

    It is August now
    I go down the road on my daily walk
    Look at the verges on both sides
    At last the heather has come into flower
    A lovely purple colour as far as the eye can see
    Humps and lumps spread over the moorland
    I want to paint this sight but do not know
    If I can manage to portray its beauty
    Will it just look like purple blobs
    I think about how I could do the drawing

    Also standing to attention is the angelica
    Tall stalks like rhubarb
    With flower heads that look like small cauliflowers
    The young angelica slowly unfurls
    Like something out science fiction
    The flower heads stay white for a few weeks
    Then they go brown but the stalks remain
    You can soak the stalks in sugar syrup
    Then cut them up into small diamonds and
    Put them on top of cakes, cake decoration

    Also in August the crocosmia comes into flower
    Its leaves pointed and tall like irises
    But it flowers bright orange
    It spreads everywhere there is some space and soil

    Large bushes of rosa rugosa
    Are in flower mostly white and some red
    A few yellow buttercups remain and
    Some small blue scabious flowers appear
    And lots of greenery leaves filling all the gaps

    All these flower only in August


    Liked by 1 person

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