Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Reader of Books

Childrens' publisher Puffin Books celebrate their 70th birthday this week, and when I read about this, I knew I had to join in with the fun as well. Sadly, I only have a few of the many, many Puffins that I kept on my bookshelf as a child. The others may well be still hanging around in my parents' loft, but of the well-loved and dog-eared paperbacks, I can still lay my hands on Matilda, The BFG and George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl, and Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce.

I'll never part with these books; they are far too special. The pages are yellowed and the spines cracked. I've scrawled my name, address and age into the front page of every single one of them. These brilliant stories are as much a part of my own history as they are for Puffin. Only the slightest glance at Quentin Blake's now iconic Dahl illustrations takes me right back to my childhood. The words of Phillipa Pearce, Roald Dahl, and of many other writers no longer on my shelves transport me and make me grin from ear to ear.

In celebration, Puffin have released a list of their top seventy books. My own favourites from their list is as follows (All Roald Dahl books are on that list for me, too!)

Charlotte's Web by E. B White, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle...The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, Meg & Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski, Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs...The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith, Good Night Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, Five Children and It by E. Nesbitt and Bad Bad Cats by Roger McGough...

Happy Birthday Puffin! Here's to another 70 years of magical stories, and of publishing authors who inspire young children to write tales of their own...

Quentin Blake's Matilda illustration courtesy of Puffin

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