Monday, 30 July 2012

Children's Classics

One of my favourite parts of the day is snuggling the children and reading them a story. I still enjoy reading picture books like Harry and the Dinosaurs with the three year old, but I love, most of all, reading my own childhood favourites to the older two.

We finished Charlotte's Web last weekend, in a fog of disappointment. I remember it being moving; I remember crying. I remember loving it. Reading it to the children, it seemed a trifle slow, and I was tempted to skip parts. I didn't find the characters half so enchanting. I wonder how the children will remember it - perhaps it is only magical if you are the right age, and not some middle-aged woman attempting to fake it a seven year old's mindset.

We're reading  Eric Knight's Lassie Come Home now. If your only experience of Lassie is TV, you're missing out. This children's book, although sentimental in places, is fantastic and powerful and moving, and has lost none of its beauty.  I remember my mother reading this aloud to my sisters and I in front of the three-bar fire, struggling to read through her tears. I remember re-reading it (over and over again) as a child, and the way the hairs on my arms would lift when I got to the climax.

I'm enjoying it just as much this time, although I'm glad no-one is eavesdropping on my Yorkshire accent (which is quite good in comparison to the vague attempts I'm making at the Scottish accent). I clearly haven't missed a career on the stage.  A couple of times I've had to swallow hard to collect myself enough to read on...I'm loving it, and will have the tissues ready for the pay off moment at the end. Some books can bear endless re-reading, and this is one. Classic.

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