I am of the mind that many children’s books appeal just as much to adults as to their intended audiences. Below are five books I would recommend to any child, and to the adult reader yearning to reconnect with their own childhoods.
1. The Borrowers – Mary Norton
The Borrowers tells the story of a family of little people – the ‘borrowers’ of the novel’s title – as they face the threats and cruelty of the humans around them. The borrowers are all delightfully endearing in their own ways, and the way in which they use human tools to aid their own lives is just lovely. If you enjoy The Borrowers, I am pleased to let you know that there are several more books in the series, each just as wonderful and exciting as the first.
2. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
I read this for the first time a couple of months ago whilst travelling down to London to see the marvellous play version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Whilst I normally pick something a little more grown up to take with me on journeys, it was the only book on my to-read shelf which was small enough to fit into my satchel along with the many other items I had to transport with me. Charlotte’s Web is an adorable story, even for an arachnophobe like me. Wilbur the pig is the most endearing, but every single character, however small their appearance, plays some importance in the grand scheme of things.
3. Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren
I was trying to shy away from using already popular books in this list, but I couldn’t help putting Pippi Longstocking in. Pippi – full name Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking, or Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump in Swedish – is one of my absolute favourite protagonists, and the adventures she gets up to are full of wonder and imagination.
4. The It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit – Sylvia PlathFew people know that Plath wrote children’s books alongside The Bell Jar and her poetry, but she did. All of her children’s stories are delightful, but The It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit is particularly charming. It tells the story of young Max Nix, who is searching for the perfect outfit. Plath’s writing is both simplistic and lovely, and the illustrations throughout are just gorgeous.
5. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Ian Fleming
Suffice to say, Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is so much better than the film which many of us watched at some point during our childhoods. The story is simple but well crafted, and there is no creepy child catcher in sight.