Monday, February 3, 2014

The Childhood Classics I missed out on. . .

I've been delving into the world of classic literature more often lately, thanks to the Classics Club, Back to the Classics Challenge and my classic-loving sister-in-law. One of the big realisations I've taken out of it is just how many classic children's novels and stories I missed during childhood. I grew up, like many of us, on a diet of children's classics, but that didn't mean I didn't miss out on a few greats!

What I did read and love as a child: The Little House series, Enid Blyton, Swallows and Amazons, Milly-Molly-Mandy, The Borrowers, What Katy Did, Pollyanna, The Phantom Tollbooth

This is by no means an extensive list and there are certainly more books I loved as a child and consider 'classics' that others may not, such as the Sophie series by Dick King Smith, Jeremy James series by David Henry Wilson, and the New Zealand children's classic Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

And although I loved all those books and more, I'm still shocked by the classics I missed out on! Some came into my life with my husband, as he introduced me to books that he had loved as a child, like The Children of the New Forest, Just William and Paddington. Needless to say, I'm now looking forward to introducing our own children to all of these too one day!

But it still feels like there's so many I'm missing out on! Some that I've been vaguely aware of for years and just never read, many that I'd never even heard of before. Most of these are from the Northern American side of the Western cannon (which being raised in an English dominion, I just wasn't as exposed to as the English childhood classics) or outside of the Western cannon altogether. Last year I read Little Women for the first time. This January was the first time I'd ever opened the pages of Anne of Green Gables. At the moment I'm thoroughly enjoying Daddy Long Legs.

What children's classics escaped you as a child? Are you like me and trying to catch up? I want to be able to present a wider selection to my own children, not just the ones I first experienced. What else have I missed? (especially outside of the Western tradition). Let me know!!

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