Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Where shall we play today?

I suspect that most parents have half a dozen children’s books that they really love because they take one back to when their children were little. The main books that the children used to like having read to them, tucked up in bed, tired and clean and innocent and just the way that perfect little children should be....

The main book that Son-who-watches-films liked having read to him was Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. He liked this so much and we read it so many times that in the end I wrote and illustrated a sequel for him. I can still recall the villains – Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

Among those which Bryony and Helen both liked were ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle and ‘What a Mess’ by Frank Muir and Joseph Wright.

My favourite from the days of reading to them was "Where Shall We Play Today?” written and illustrated by Gilly Meredith. This latter is one of those picture books whose text sticks in the mind for many years afterwards. “Shall we play in the dustbin?” “ No, that’s too dirty and the dustmen might take us away!” I recently bought a copy of this just for nostalgia’s sake. It now rests on my bookshelves with other picture books like “Farm Babies” with the little foal, Trotty, from my own childhood and Terry Pratchett’s ‘Where’s My Cow’. This latter post-dates all my children being at the picture book stage – it was for my benefit. I’ve never really grown up...



  1. I don't remember what my favourite book was, but will let you know when we get around to sorting out my mother's bungalow later in the month. That is assuming that she kept it along with all the other stuff that she has accummulated!

  2. I still love children's books so much that I am thrilled to have them on my shelf again for my grandbabies!
    ;^) My mother read to us from the time we were very small, at naptime. It was my introduction to a love of literature that has only grown.
    Please! Post your sequel and illustrations to the "Fantastic Mr. Fox!"

  3. How cute!!! I think I'd like you to read Where Shall We Play Today? to us. Would you mind?

  4. I'll have to search in the loft for Fantastic Mr Fox - the Sequel, Cynthia. When I do I'll see if it's scannable for you Cynthia. (Which is my way of saying I'll see if I'm too dshy to share it!)

    If I can work out how to speak onto the blog I'll read Where Shall We Play Today to you, Shabby Girl. I am reminded that Heather still wants to hear GB and I speaking.

    Look forward to hearing what your favourites were, Cheshire Wife.

  5. I still love (some) children's books as well, even though I never even had children of my own. An all time favourite is Winnie-the-Pooh. (With the classic Shepard illustrations, not Disney.) I think we've talked about him before. Recently, I bought the whole Borrowers series by Mary Norton collected in one paperback book. (I have the first four in Swedish translation since my childhood.) That reminds me, I still didn't get round to writing about them in my own blog...

  6. I stumbled across this as I was googling a picture of "Who Shall We Be today?" another classic mouse and hedgehog tale! Your post made me smile - I still have my copies of both these stories from when I was little, and the other books you mention were all favourites too (I have very fond memories of a What a Mess activity book that I definitely made the most of!)and, weirdly, I am also from the Wirral - small world! Thank you for making me smile with ths post!

  7. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been trying to remember the title of this book for ages... "Who Shall We Be Today?" Is the final line, "you wouldn't would you, hedgehog?"
    Guess what, I am also from the Wirral!

    1. Yes - that's the final line of 'Who Shall We Be Today' after Hedgehog says "And then I'm going to find a mousetrap". Great books.


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