Do you remember these books?
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 Amazon.co.uk 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:
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.