Lit Kid: something old, something new

It’s bookcase reorganisation time. A further spurt of the building project, a purchase of extensions for a couple of bookcases – and a whole heap of considering the children’s books we have in stock.

The extensions are interesting. Almost immediately on seeing them, I’m transported to a childhood memory: the flat belonging to my great-grandfather.

There was a big sitting room. You didn’t spot the bookcases as you came in, but when you looked back at the door, there they were: flanking both sides of the door, and continuing across the top.

[Warning: mention of lots of books coming. I’m not going to cite them all, just for now, but let me know if you want to hear about any of them in the meantime.]

Back in those days, my mother’s stash of childhood books was kept on the top shelf or so.
A run of Famous Fives in hardback. Mallory Towers. St Clare’s. The Chalet School series.

For someone starting to gain the reading bug, it was hugely exciting. There were the books, pretty much being held for me. I could come along and read the next one when I needed it. A bit like your own private library.

Junior Reader is reaching that stage. A welcome set of books at Christmas, and suddenly, the chapter book reading is taking off. Not yet a month since Christmas, and I think eight out of the ten books have been read already.

I remember that rush.

The book reorganisation is not designed around this reading spurt – it just happens to coincide nicely with it.

And so I lay out my wares, not just the books Junior Reader knows, but the others I have held in readiness.

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There are the books that we have read, over the last few years, as we made the move into chapter books at bedtime. There they are, familiar, yet still for Junior Reader to tackle independently.

There are the classics that I am making my way through as read alouds – reserving the right, at least for now.

Wizard of Oz. Winnie the Pooh. Wind in the Willows (probably too early really, but Toad’s escape from prison found a willing audience).

Others remain on that same shelf, still to come: Treasure Island. The Phantom Tollbooth. Maybe more.

Part of the interest, for me at least, is seeing what’s out there now, as well as passing on the pleasures of my own reading childhood.

And with treats such as Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series, who’d want to miss out? Or Cows in Action?

Or Mr Gum, with the slightly scary covers, but with a narrative that reads like Spike Milligan is still alive and well. Or a succession of Dick King Smith animal stories.

I won’t recite the whole bookcase. Really, I won’t. I’ve got a year ahead of me to do that, with who knows what else that we might find in the library along the way.

But I am excited. Partly to share books that I have loved; partly to discover new loves.
Partly to see how Junior Reader gets on with the feast available.

January is often associated with dieting. But that doesn’t have to apply to books, does it?
And certainly not to children’s books.

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