1. My Naughty Little Sister, Dorothy Edwards. Especially the one where Dad ‘looks after’ her for the day (that is, leaves her to play while he reads the paper) – and loses her.
2. Little Grey Rabbit, Alison Uttley. Little Grey Rabbit was too good, Hare too stupid, Squirrel too vain, but I loved them all. Friends who shared a house – who made their own family. Fuzzypeg – the only ‘child’ in the stories – was my favourite.
3. Milly Molly Mandy, Joyce Lankester Brisley. I spent hours with the map of the village – aren’t maps in children’s books just the best? My school friend Alice had a pink and white stripped dress – like MMM’s. Although as she was blonde and I was dark, really she was Little Friend Susan and I was MMM.
4. The Enchanted Wood, Enid Blyton. I remember reading it, and the sequels, in one go – sitting on the landing, no doubt getting in everyone’s way.
5. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Rumer Godden. Like The Secret Garden (another favourite) this is about assuaging loneliness by befriending the lonely.
6. Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery. I wished I had red hair and was brave enough to answer back.
7. The Family from One End Street, Eve Garnett. The big, happy family, the cleverest of whom was called Kate.
8. Ponder and William, Barbara Softly. Because I had a dearly-loved panda too.
9. Little Pete Stories, Leila Berg. Alone, but for his shadow.
10. Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban. I would have been happy eating marmalade on toast everyday, just like Frances wanted to eat bread and jam all day. I loved her made up songs too.
I wanted to add to this list a book called Tales from the End Cottage, but although I can vividly remember the cover – an old lady with an apron and hair flying out of her bun, surrounded by chickens, I can’t remember anything about the story itself. I’d love to see it again. It is, of course at the National Library of Scotland – the very same edition. And it’s by Eileen Bell. I am reunited with my own childhood.
But what was your favourite childhood read? What are your book memories? Do you remember a story, but have forgotten its title? Do you have fond memories of a particular edition of a children’s classic?
For The Hidden Library on 31 May, our Book Detectives will try to reunite you with a lost book from childhood. Give us some clues and you could see your book in the reading room on 31 May.
Enter our prize draw and to win a personalised tour into the depths of the NLS to find your book!
Send your book enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 May
Meet children’s classics chosen by staff at the NLS and your childhood book at The Hidden Library on 31 May. Bring the family for an afternoon of workshops, mystery tours, competitions and more.