Sunday, 8 September 2013

Tatty Old Treasured Picture Books by Jane Clarke

When I was having a clear out, I discovered a cache of much-loved and very worn picture books that are over 25 years old. My sons are about to turn 30 (30! How did that happen?) and 28, so I thought a good way to mark the occasion would be to share a few of my (and hopefully, their) TOTPs.

Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (first published 1981, this copy Picture Puffin 1983)

Crumpled cover, splotched with unidentifiable stains and with corners lightly sucked. Inside, every 'peepo' cut-out is torn and patched due to baby sons enthusiastically swiping every page turn whilst chortling 'peepo!'  Spine taped after it dropped to bits, causing tears (mine).

Dogger by Shirley Hughes (Bodley Head 1977)

Inner pages parting company with cover which is ingrained with soil after a particularly exciting Teddy Bears Picnic at the bottom of the garden. Tear drop stains on lost Dogger page. Starting to sniffle, moving on...

Henry's Busy Day by Rod Campbell (Viking Kestrel 1983)

Gift from Grandma and Grampy. Spine fraying.  The 'soft furry coat' of Henry in the last spread still retains hints of something sticky that could be the subject of forensic investigation. Ideal reading for inducing sleep, particularly of the parent reader. 

The Quangle Wangle's Hat by Edward Lear, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (this copy Picture Pufffin 1982)
Weirding out sons alert – I read this rhyme so many times to Older Son  that I could (and did) recite it like a mantra during the birth of Younger Son. After that, I was less than keen on reading it aloud (owing to flash backs) and it got 'lost' for a while. A quarter of a century or so in fact.

Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy (Walker Books 1986)

Edge of cover slightly nibbled by long-gone Rosa and Cynthia the guinea pigs. My (then) small sons failed to understand why Mrs Large could possibly want 'Five Minutes Peace' - but I LOVED this book (and still do). Maybe one day they'll have kids of their own -THEN they'll get it.

Other books come and go (to the charity shop), but these picture books (and a whole heap of others) are so redolent of happy times, I shall keep them forever.

What tatty old picture books do you treasure?

Jane's posts a Tatty Old Treasured Picture Book of the week on her facebook author page,
and she  really hopes some of the picture books she's written will end up being tatty and torn and treasured by someone, too. 


Thinking of the days said...

Funnily enough, I sorted out my children's books too a couple of months ago (they are all in twenties too!)

Our favourites were the Lucy and Tom series from Shirley Hughes, The Jolly Christmas postman and Burglar Bill from the Ahlbergs, The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont....and my daughter was given a whole set of Blackberry Farm books by a which she loved, but I wasn't so enamoured....

Nothing beats the wonderful hours spent with my children snuggled up in bed or sitting on my knee while reading to them.

Linda Strachan said...

One of our family favourites, which is sadly out of print now, was Wide Awake Jake by Helen Young and illustrated by Jenny Williams.
It is a lovely story of a little boy who can't sleep and his mother tells him to go and visit the Yami of Yawn, and if he meets dangers on the way he only has to YAWN and he will be fine!
A lovely story that my grown up children loved when they were little, and they now enjoy reading our, now very tatty copy, to their own children.

(There is a completely different story out now with the same name but by another author, which is a board book for babies.)

Anonymous said...

The Taily-po, text by Joanna Galdone, illustrated by Paul Galdone - one of the great read-aloud stories, fondly remembered by all our children.

maryom said...

Peepo is at the top of our list too! Along with Guess How Much I Love You - great for joining in with the actions - and Peace At Last by Jill Murphy which is great for joining in with the noises!

Candy Gourlay said...

Wow - we come from the same era more or less. How about Papa Forgot by Francesca Simon pre Horrid Henry. Peace at Last and Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. We read those and bought new ones everytime they fell apart.

Jane Clarke said...

Thanks for reminding me of The Elephant and the Bad Baby - now I'm wondering what ate our copy...

Jane Clarke said...

I don't know the book - but it's fab to hear that your children are now reading the same copy to their children.

Jane Clarke said...

Don't know The Taily-po either - adding it to my reading list, thanks.

Jane Clarke said...


Jane Clarke said...

Candy, buying more than one copy of a book, you're an author's dream :-)

Paeony Lewis said...

You already know some of my childhood favourites, Jane, so I've been thinking about my children's favourites (they're now adults). The Whale's Song was a haunting picture book we particularly enjoyed sharing. When I mentioned this to my grown-up daughter she agreed, although I was told a Disney Pocahontis picture book was also particularly treasured (oops, and I'd have thrown that out if I wasn't such a book hoader!).

Jon Burgess Design said...

This brings back memories! My kids are just approaching their twenties but I remember read quite a few of your choices to them when they were small. I love Five Minutes Peace and the Quangle Wangle.
I am a terrible cheapskate and got books from charity shops quite often if they hadn't been too 'loved' ;-) As well as the Library. So I guess I was a few years behind current books of the day. (though I bought them as well sometimes)
The Tiger who Came to Tea was a fave, Babar of course, and Harry The Dirty Dog by Margery Bloy-Graham went down well. Thomas the Tank Engine was a predictable hit for my son.
I still have a some of the greatest hits around somewhere. My daughter is studying textile design and was thrilled when i rescued the Errol Le Cain version of Cinderella from the attic the other week. It had stayed in her head for it's Beardsleyesque eerieness and intricate design qualities she thinks. So you never know what you are triggering by your choice of books for your kids.
It's funny, my kids are the ones hard heartedly throwing childhood books and toys out and I'm the one trying to intercept and keep the good stuff ;-)

Pippa Goodhart said...

'Goodnight Gorilla' was read to shreds, 'Bye-bye Baby', 'Owl Babies', 'Farmer Duck', oh, and the 'Katie Morag' stories where the stories had to be told in particular voices, and with particular pauses .... and so many more books too. Which from the present generation will endure, I wonder?
A post that touches every parent, child and book lover, Jane!

Ragnhild Scamell said...

My son's favourite (and mine) was the hilarious How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake. It was the book that inspired me to become a picture book writer and I have a copy signed by both RH and QB which I treasure.

Jane McLoughlin said...

Sniff...yes, my kids are in that age bracket. Another firm fave for us, was Little Bear, written by else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It was given to me as a child, and then I gave copies to my kids. Not sure if published in the UK. My daughter and I also loved Jane Ray's illustrated classics, especially Ten Dancing Princesses...Thanks for sharing this!

Abie Longstaff said...

I love The Quangle Wangle to this day. The rhyme is so beautiful it is almost like music. Those poetic ones really stick in my head - I can recite most of the Seuss off by heart for that reason! We also loved the Berenstain Bears books, like 'The Big Honey Hunt,' which came out in 1962 and is stuck back together with tape in our house!

Moira Butterfield said...

This really made me smile, Jane. A lovely post! I have kept my son's books in the attic, but I think I will ask him what he remembers most. I wonder if it will be different to me...There is one, called 'Oh, Little Jack', which makes my lip wobble. Jack is not so little now.

malachy doyle said...

My girls (in their 30's now) had a lovely 'Ah! You've still got them!' session recently. Their favourites, still on my shelf because I could NEVER chuck out favourite picture books, are:
The Summer Night (Charlotte Zolotow)
That's My Dad (Ralph Steadman)
Grandmother Lucy and her Hats (Joyce Wood and Frank Francis)
Dogger (Shirley Hughes)
Fungus the Bogeyman (Raymond Briggs)
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (Charlotte Zolotow)
Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles (Terry Furchgott and Linda dawson)
Burnie's Hill (Erik Blegvad)

Jane Clarke said...

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their favourites - I loved reading about them and have a list of books that are new to me to check out.