Raiding my childhood bookshelf again

Do you remember these books?

Stories for 8 Year Olds and Stories for Nine Year Olds

This photo might give you shivers of nostalgia only if you’re in Ireland or the UK (or Commonwealth, I suppose) because these are not American editions, and because I don’t know whether these books were ever published in the US.

They were first published in 1971 and these two copies are 1981 editions. A quick look at tells me that these books are out of print now, though I don’t know how long that’s been the case. I’m really happy I kept them, even if the glue of the binding is coming unstuck all over the place, because they are really wonderful collections of stories.

I got them both when I was 7, and I remember being very proud that I was reading stories that were ostensibly for children as much as two years older than me. I very helpfully put a micro review over each story title, to help some reader who was not me decide what to choose. Thus:

"Brilliantley Brilliant" over The White Seal and "Boring" over The Lumber Room

I know the left-hand one is out of focus, but the daylight’s gone now so I can’t retake it.

I’m reading them to Mabel, who is only six, and is still enjoying them quite well. I skip the boring ones, but never “The Lumber Room”, because, having met it again since then for my Inter Cert, it’s one of my favourites. I was happy to find that Kipling was still as good as I remembered, and we both enjoyed the classic “Rikki Tikki Tavi” too. I’m hoping Dash will like several of them just as much, but right now his father has him embroiled in some more of Dirk Gently’s misadventures.

I never paid much attention to who had written the stories, and in the 8-Year-Olds book the authors’ names only appear in the table of contents, not under the titles in the body text – so it was a surprise to me to find that one of my favourites, a delightfully whimsical fairytale called “The Magic Wishbone”, was by Charles Dickens, one of my less favourite writers. Another, “All You’ve Ever Wanted”, was by Joan Aiken, who I’ve only recently discovered.

So, you probably can’t go out and buy a copy to read to your own kids, but if you happen to come across one, snap it up. And if not, just be happy that my stubborn refusal to get rid of all my favourite childhood reading material is turning out so well for me.

8 thoughts on “Raiding my childhood bookshelf again

  1. Sarah O'Byrne

    I have the Stories for Six Year Olds! Unfortunately my six year old has no interest in them! She likes the few old Ladybirds I have though

  2. Pingback: Irish Parenting Bloggers | Raiding my childhood bookshelf again

  3. Raising Mighty Girls

    Loved reading this post. I’m an avid reader myself and thankfully my over-indulgence with books has rubbed off on my three daughters. In fact they post book reviews themselves on my blog. My 7 yr old is loving Winnie the Witch chapter books and my 10 yr old is loving the classics. Thanks for the nostalgia!

  4. readingdickens

    I bought the US paperback editions of some of these books for my (now-grown) daughters; we all enjoyed them. There was a story about a doll who ends up hiding with the frozen peas in the supermarket… My younger daughter (25) still remembers that one!

    Just started looking for these books again, for my granddaughter (which is how I came across your post). Not so easy to find. Wish we’d kept our little collection, though they were pretty tattered.


      1. Chris Highmore

        Sarah Corrin was my education tutor when I was training to be a teacher in the 1960s. She was very encouraging and inspiring.
        I am lucky enough to have one of her books which she signed for me.

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