it's all a little Grimm

reading, writing and other things beginning with "r". . . reminiscences? n'ah. . . perhaps not
(both my brothers were blond and my parents wouldn't let us have a pet,
there were no dogs in my childhood)

so, I learnt to read with the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme
it epitomised my childhood. . . and probably many of those of children of the 60s altho if that were my childhood, and if I were indeed Jane, as opposed to another J, the dialogue would have been something like this. . .

Jane wanted to help mummy. She wanted to make cakes like mummy. "Let me help you, Mummy," she says, "Will you let me help, please? I can make cakes like you. I am a good girl." "No." says Mummy, "No, you are not. Leave me alone. You cannot help me. You will make far too much mess. Talking of mess, go and tidy your room." Jane hides her disappointment and wants to make Mummy happy, so trots off to tidy her room. If she tidies it neatly enough, perhaps Mummy will let her help next time.

I did however, have a pair of shoes exactly like this. . .

(altho I'll bet that Jane's mother didn't cut the tip off the shoes
when Jane's feet grew "too big". . .leaving "Jane" with a life long hatred
of open toed sandals and her too big feet)
(but am I bitter? no - I mean at least I had a pair of shoes, eh)

I used to dream of the happy lives - and all the instruments - that the children having a music party had - which is why I went so over the top with mine own children. . .

(they probably hate me for it)

but my favourite books from Ladybird were, of course, the fairy tales. . .

known, in the trade, as the "Well Loved Tales". . . most of the ones I had were retold by Vera Southgate and illustrated by Eric Winter; of course, I didn't like all the stories
. . .Rumpelstiltskin scared me
. . .I was envious of Rapunzel's hair
. . .Jack just struck me as stupid - I mean magic beans?. . .I always wished I has a sister, like the Snow-White and Rose-Red

. . .and as for Sleeping Beauty, there was just something about her that made me feel uneasy - all those godmothers! what was that all about?

however some of the tales I really really loved and they and their magical qualities have stayed with me

. . .I don't think I will ever see dresses as beautiful as those that Cinderella wore to the ball (altho looking at the pictures now, I can see that my childhood thoughts have really embellished all the details) (which is kind of sweet!)

. . .I'd love to find a door that I could turn up at, in the wind and the rain, soaked to the skin, where someone would take me in and make me and put me to bed - however uncomfortable

and as for my favourite ever story (of the Ladybird variety) - well, it is (as you may recall) The Elves and the Shoemaker

how clever were those little chaps! and what imagination they had, making such gorgeous footwear! and how utterly charming were the little sets of clothes that the Shoemaker and his wife made for them as a thank you!
it wasn't until I had my own children that I realised that all these tales had been written - or indeed, in some cases, genuinely retold from historical folk tales - by people other than Vera. . .

Charles Perrault (12 Jan 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author who laid foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, and whose best known tales, offered as if they were pre-existing folk tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Cinderella

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (4 Jan 1785 - 20 Sept 1863) and Wilhelm (24 Feb 1786 - 16 Dec 1859), were academics best known for publishing collections of folk tales and fairy tales, which became popular. They are among the best-known story tellers of folk tales from Europe, and their work popularized such tales as
Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel. . .

Hans Christian Andersen (2 Apr 1805 – 4 Aug 1875), was a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories. These include
The Emperor's New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl, The Ugly Duckling. . .
and of course, since I've become a grown-up and been in charge of my own reading material, I've also discovered some of the original illustrators of those books of stories. . . and I love some of them even more than Eric's images - but that's another story for another day

. (-:

in the meantime -
what is/was your favourite childhood tale. . .

(anyone who says "Biggles" will be disqualified,
similarly "Just William")
and how did you
learn to read?


Dave said...

Oh, well you've ruled out some of my childhood reading. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea I quite enjoyed, along with other Verne Classics, and HG Wells. Oh, and Day of the Triffids. (Are you seeing a theme here?) Dickens, of course. Great Expectations I liked because I passed Joe's forge on my way to school each day.

You could turn up at my door, cold and wet, and be assured of a bed for the night. Couldn't guarantee there'd be a pea under it though.

Dave said...

Oh, Stig of the Dump. And Children of the New Forest. And Kipling's Just So stories.

I, Like The View said...

Stig was one of my favourite stories too. . .

. . .I loved the fancy dress party especially

and thanks for the offer of rest and recuperation


Christopher said...

This is so evocative, I. Do you still have copies - in such good condition - of all these? They're a little before my time, but my children relished them. Not only these, but the factual and scientific ones too, some of which they still have. The only one I've got left is the Ladybird Book of the Night Sky, which I still consult from time to time.

Childhood reading: Famous Five (oh dear), a book called Purkess the Charcoal Burner (which I would love to find again), Malcolm Saville, Babar the Elephant, Orlando the Marmalade Cat, then a big jump at 11/12 to John Buchan, Anthony Hope... I have written - for a particular purpose - a funeral march which gradually transforms itself into a can-can and I'm feeling VERY PLEASED WITH MYSELF.

dinahmow said...

Mainly English stories...Swallows and Amazons, A.A.Milne,J.M.Barrie, R.L. Stevenson and some American classics...Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Last of the Mohicans, Famous Five (The unmentionable ones, too, I'm afraid.)Oh! I liked maps, too.
Tove Jansen (and hey! what about your Astrid Lindgren then !)
Favourite? I still have it: The Kenneth Graeme Book.And I still read it.
I learned to read early;stories were a huge part of my life, the reading, the telling, the writing.
No telly, see!

Z said...

The first book I read all on my own was a Ladybird book called "The Farm". I still recall the thrill of being able to read every word by myself.

I loved the Just So Stories, Alice in Wonderland, the Jill pony stories, the Billy Bunter stories, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Swallows and Amazons and its sequels, Paddington Bear, and I waited keenly every year for the latest publication, the Secret Garden, which I still love, Malcolm Saville, rather gruesome things such as Coral Island, E. Nesbit's books, the Chalet School stories, Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, Wind in the Willows, the Blackberry Farm books by Jane Pilgrim when I was little, Stalky and Co. -

oh - I've just noticed. You asked for my favourite childhood tale.

How the Elephant got its Trunk, because of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees.

I, Like The View said...

Z that's so funny - I had a google search from Pietersburg, Limpopo this week!

I was a huge fan of E Nesbit too, and S&A - ah! such happy, happy times. . .

The Farm


dinahmow another ah! Tove. . . yes. . . do you know, I have never read Wind In The Willows - not even to mine own

I did a tons of reading because we didn't watch very much telly and also because I loved the library

Christopher I bought quite a few of the Ladybird tales on eBay when it first started up, and I bought piles of the factual books at a jumble sale once; I have a small selection on a bookshelf within view of my desk - it's a very comforting view

did you know that the name Purkis comes from the Greek, purkaeus, πυρκαγιά which apparently has something to do with fire kindling. . .

I didn't phrase my question very well people, was wondering about everyone's earliest reading - books are just so interesting tho, aren't they. . .

. . .we'll have to revisit actually learning to read another time

dinahmow said...

"Katy the kitten, a small tiger cat, is asleep in a ball in the hall in a hat..."
I could probably still recite the whole thing.
I was nearly 4 "amusing myself, looking at a book" while my mother was ironing.
When she heard me reciting this she set the iron down and watched carefully. Yes, I was actually reading, guiding my finger along the words, turning at the edge of the page.
Then...there was no stopping me.Mind you, no one in our house spoke Italian so I grew up pronouncing minestrone Mine Strone!

Christopher said...

Purkis - how fascinating! No, I'd no idea. The story was about this same Purkis (and his son) discovering the body of William Rufus near Cadnam in the New Forest in 1100 and the aftermath. As we lived not very far away (just the other side of Southampton Water at the time - I was about 7 or 8) it had an extra interest. I suppose it was a petal of that flowering of historical novels for kids: Treece and Trease et al.

Mel said...

Foreigner in the bunch that I am--'Dick and Jane'. Who wrote them, I've no clue. I know they were the readers the schools used. I was sad you didn't get to make messes in the kitchen with your mom. But then, neither did I-- Our kiddos did though, eh? Oh BOY did they make messes in the kitchen....LOL

Anyway-- at home, on my own without a teacher standing over me--I have such limited memories I often default to my sister who knows these sorts of things.
But yes to the childhood classics--Mark Twain, Jane Austin, The Little House series, Little Women series and the likes. I'd read them before they were required in the classroom. That was usually the case--but I didn't mind a second (or third) read.

NOW I wanna find a "Katy the kitten, a small tiger cat, is asleep in a ball in the hall in a hat..." book for the bug! k...maybe for me. AND the bug. We'll share!