When I think of my childhood there are a few key memories:
3. Being the first girl on the school football team.
2. Family bike rides to get 99 ice creams.
1. Reading Brer Rabbit.
What a wily rabbit he was! Always up to no good, dangerously clever, alarmingly funny and he always got away with it…poor old Brer Fox and Brer Bear never stood a chance! And this isn’t the zip-a-dee-doo-dah Disney song version either; this is Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit by Julius Lester with black and white illustrations!
It’s funny what you remember from a young age. It’s interesting too, that despite the popular titles of the time; it’s the old ones that I went back to again and again. I’m not alone in my musings. Highstreet bookshop The Works conducted a survey in recognition of International Children’s Book Day on 2nd April, finding “that classic children’s books and characters are still holding favour with kids throughout Britain”.
A voting poll took place and showed that while JK Rowling’s Harry Potter is the nation’s best ever character, it is Roald Dahl who wears the crown for best children’s author. With a 50% majority books like The BFG, Matilda, The Twits and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory have been well and truly cemented into place as the best ever children’s books, as voted by UK children. The Boy That Lived succeeded to second place with 30% of votes but he was sandwiched between another classic, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Parents also took part in the voting. They put Dahl in first place, seconded by Potter with Rowling in third place. The Works stated “parents’ own preferences [are] presumably swaying their little ones’ reading habits”. Interestingly, 51% of parents admitted that their kids are reading the same books that they did as children. It was also found that while children do own and use e-readers, 88% still prefer paperbacks.
There must be something about those old books that attracts children of every generation. Is it the characters? The writing style? The illustrations? Maybe it’s the fact that you need to use your imagination so much more? Whatever it is, there’s no denying that those are some of the best books ever written and that many adults will think of their childhood and remember reading about the exploits of those famous characters. Maybe even some will remember Brer Rabbit getting up to no good.
It’s often said that nothing can beat a good book and what better way to enjoy reading than sharing your favourite stories with your young family? Perhaps the old ones really are the best but if you’re thinking of writing a children’s story then check out these top 6 tips from an earlier blog!