Thursday, 20 August 2009

Children's Books

After I finished university, I decided I needed some down time and came up with a plan to read children's stories. Some were stories I read as a child and loved, others were books I'd always wanted to read and never had the chance.

I discovered there are two types of children's books. Those you love as a child and those you love at any age. Let me explain. Some books have children protagonists that are fun to read as a kid but harder to relate to as an adult, while others have situations that you can relate to at any age (or are just so strange you like despite being older). Now, the books that go into either category will be different for each individual, based on everyone's personal tastes.

Roald Dahl had books that went into both categories for me. During my reread, I found that The BFG, which I loved as a child, was no longer 'realistic'. I just couldn't relate to or believe in the seven year old girl who saves the world. On the other hand, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remains one of my favourite books of all time.

And many of those early books gave me a taste of the impossible, the improbable, fantasy and letting my imagination run wild.

What are some books you've read as an adult that you still like? Or ones you found you could no longer enjoy?

A few examples of children's books I still enjoy are:
James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
The Seventh Princess - Nick Sullivan
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh - Robert C. O'Brien
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey

(Note, this list would be longer if I included children's books I read only as an adult, if I'd reread more titles (I'd love to reread the Mouse and the Motorcycle) and if I gave myself more time to think of books.)


Memory said...

Interesting question. I recently reread THE STORY GIRL by L.M. Montgomery, which was a childhood favourite. I still enjoyed it, but it was definitely a nostalgia thing. I'm not sure that I'd have gotten much out of it if I'd first read it as an adult.

In contrast, I still enjoy all five of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books very much. There are definitely a few parts that annoy me, but I get a big kick out of the series every time I reread it. Given my reaction to some of his other children's titles, I imagine I'd feel the same way if I'd first approached them as an adult.

Jessica Strider said...

I actually didn't read any of Lloyd Alexander's books as a child. I read the Prydain series only as an adult, and loved them. I've always been curious with things like that if I'd have liked them more/less had I read them first as a child.

For example, I read the Narnia Chronicles only as an adult and really didn't like them (too forcefully didactic) but I could see myself liking them as a child...

Another book I only read as an adult was the Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. This one I don't think I'd have understood as a child, so the reading experience would have been completely different as an adult. Not sure I'd have like it as a kid, but loved it as an adult (lots of philosoophy!)