A book is a magic carpet that flies you off elsewhere.
A book is a door. You open it. You step through it.
I make a point of trying to read a couple of classic children’s books each year. When I was little I adored the ladybird books. I still know some of the verses, which shows how many times I read them! The thing that always amuses me when I re-read classic children’s books is how unhappy, or just plain macabre, some of them were.
I will give you an example of my absolute favourite ladybird book, The Runaway. Fundamentally this is a terrible tale of a bored pet bunny who longs for freedom, escapes, has some marginal level of fun, realises it’s pretty scary outside his cage, and heads back home only to find out that he has been replaced by a new bunny!
And I loved it!
Read it hundreds of times!!!
I guess one of the things that children’s books teach us is that life is not always perfect. Yep, sometimes the prince and the princess meet and live happily ever after, but not always, and there can be a lot of trauma (and death) along the way. For all their failings, horror, and foes, I still love the classic children’s books. I love that they are totally unrealistic (who can feel a pea under a hundred mattresses?!), I love that they are sometimes sad (never leave a comfy cage with free food?!), and I love that sometimes they even have a happy ending.