As you know here at the Riskies–and I’m sure we’re not the only bloggers to do so–sometimes we tear out our hair trying to think of topics to blog on. One of my standards is Historic UK which gives dates of birthdays and historic events. I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place–today is the birthday of children’s author Enid Blyton. Tomorrow is Prinny’s birthday.
I grew up reading Enid Blyton, and my mother later admitted that she couldn’t bear reading her unlimpid prose aloud, but she did, bless her, just as I much later gritted my teeth and read the Berenstein Bears to my daughter (it’s part of the mother job description). So, what better way to celebrate these auspicious personages than to present an excerpt from Enid Blyton’s forgotten masterpiece Prinny Goes Adventuring Again.
“I say!” Prinny said. “Are you sure you aren’t a girl, George?”
“No I’m bally not,” said George “Beau” Brummel, tossing his head of black curls. “I’m naturally pretty.”
“I say, chaps,” said Julian, Lord Manlyboynaturalleader, “Don’t be such rotters. I think there are foreign spies on that mysterious island on the Thames. I’ve seen lights there at night and heard people speaking in French.”
“And this morning this washed up with the tide,” said Lady Ann Mostlydecorativegirlygirl. “It’s a box but I can’t open it.”
“Let me try.” Prinny took the box from Ann and ran his hands all over her.
“All you need to do is use the key that washed up with it,” said plain sensible Marjorie, the Duchess of BoringCharacter-Movestheplotforward.
“Gosh!” said Julian as the box clicked open. It was full of papers covered in mysterious symbols.
Timmy the dog barked!
“That looks like a foreign language,” George said. “Let’s all get in our curricles and ride out there. They are obviously desperate criminals.”
“I’ll bring the ham sandwiches and lemonade!” Marjorie said. “And a bone for Timmy.”
“Shouldn’t we ask Papa first?” Prinny said.
“No, he’s busy in Windsor Park. He’ll be talking to oak trees for hours,” George said. “Get your clothes on, Ann. There’s no time to be lost.”
Timmy the dog barked again!
What books did you like reading as a kid and which books do you like or hate reading aloud to the kids in your life?
My gran says I was obsessed with a nature book about ants when I was small and drove her mad by forcing her to read it over and over and over. I can still remember some of the pictures quite vividly, LOL! Apparently my love of non-fiction started early.
My mother read us A.A. Milne — both the Pooh stories and his poems — and I loved them. I also read a lot of Edith Nesbit as a child.
When I was little it was horses. Anything with horses, though racehorses were preferable to any other kind. I loved the Black Stallion series, but my favorites were Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind and Black Gold. I think my Oklahoma native husband was amused/dismayed to learn that most of what I knew about the oil boom that briefly enriched his ancestors was from reading the latter.
As for reading aloud to my daughter, the worst, bar none, were media tie-ins. Dora the Explorer picture books, Scooby-Doo chapter books, etc. In her picture book days, my favorites were Mo Willems’ Pigeon and Elephant & Piggie books. Now I love reading her Harry Potter, Narnia, Jenny and the Cat Club, etc.–anything fantasy and/or with dog & cat characters–but am sad I can’t get her into Little House, All-of-a-Kind Family, or any of my horse books!
My son, when a toddler, LOVED Barney and also the Berenstein Bears.
Barney books made my head explode and my eyes bleed, but I quickly learned that I could turn the pages two at a time with NO discernible effect on the story. At least they were over faster. The bears books were harder to speed up in that fashion.
Once he was beyond the picture book stage, I soon just started reading him books well above his age level, and he did just fine.
Ants. Hmmm. Isobel, that must mean something but I’m not sure what.
Barbara, I loved AA Milne and Nesbit too. She was an interesting woman. I should blog about her one day…
I liked horse books too, Susannah, particularly Black Beauty, and all the weird English books about girls and ponies (can’t remember the names of any of them).
Caroline, the PCness of the B Bears made me gag! Did your son like the Redwall books? My daughter used to enjoy me doing the accents but I had no idea what the books were about and could read them while my mind wandered. But she too read on her own quite early and spared me a lot of dreck tho she still liked to be read to.
My mother would read to us for hours. There were so many it is hard to remember which ones I liked the best. I really liked Charlotte’s Web.
I don’t really hate reading any of my son’s books. The only thing I do hate is reading the same thing every night when he has a hundred other books to read. There are several books he has that I need to buy new copies of because the are falling apart.
Forgotten masterpiece, huh. It was fun.
I never really minded reading the books to my children. Dr. Seuss was always fun, even if we read the same books every night for weeks. FOX IN SOX was really the only one I tried to avoid. Thank heavens Barney wasn’t around when they were little.
It is a good thing I enjoyed reading children’s books. I was a children’s librarian until recently. There are really some lovely books out there. The many variations on Cinderella are wonderful
And for all you romance fans, try SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA by Lisa Wheeler. The illustrations are delightful, the faces expressive. It is a traditional romance in format with a heroine, adventure, pirates, the hero reformed, and an HEA in a cottage by the sea and a family. It is a delight.
Thanks for a fun post.
I read my share of Berenstein Bears…..
My daughter had this wonderful Edward Gorey pop up book, called The Dwindling Party. A family visits a spooky mansion and, one-by-one, they disappear.
My son had a book he LOVED. It was called Truck and it had no words at all. Just pictures.
Me? I was a real Cherry Ames fan. And Nancy Drew, but Cherry Ames was my favorite.
I read the Enid Blyton books over and over as a young girl. Then I moved on to Austen, the Brontes and Heyer. My maternal grandmother used to tell us bedtime stories in the great oral tradition of her Creek and Cherokee ancestors. We each had our favorites and she told them exactly the same way every time. One of my biggest regrets is that we didn’t get all of them recorded.
When I taught high school English I used to read aloud to my students. Their favorites? Anything by Edgar Allan Poe, the blood-thirsty little darlings.
I despised Goodnight Moon, but so did my kids so we didn’t read it much. Favorite bedtime stories were Stellaluna, Grandfather Twilight, Witch Witch, In the Night Kitchen, and Mother Goose.
My favorite book as a kid was John Burningham’s Cannonball Simp and anything about horses or knights.
Diane, I really want to see that Edward Gorey pop-up book now!