Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Wishing Chair.....again

I have been waiting and waiting for B to be ready to read 'chapter books'. Not because I think there is anything intrinsically good about them, or bad about other sorts of books, but mostly because they are the books that I remember reading most clearly in my childhood, and I've been looking forward to the excuse of revisiting them.
Somewhere along the line between England and New Zealand, I bought a second hand edition of the Adventures of the Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton.

I think this is one of the earliest books I can remember loving, and I definitely read it a lot (along with the Magic Faraway Tree series). I don't think my edition had any of these covers, but there is some fantastic cover art to the Enid Blyton books over the years - enough to occupy more time on Pinterest than I can justify!

Anyway, we went camping last weekend (more on that another day I suspect) and I'd taken this book just in case - it seemed like lots of story for your size/weight ratio - very important with the car packed to the gunnels. And on the first night, as the rain pattered on the tent roof and the kids tried their best not to explode from excitement, I suggested we read a chapter.

It went well. We read another. And another. Then I had to stop as the night drew in. The boys went to sleep. In the morning, B woke (after sleeping in - yay!) and the first thing he asked for was another chapter! Since then, we've been reading 2 chapters a night, and loving it. I love coming across chapters that I remember - recalling mental images of parties where you wished for the food and it appeared in front of you. Of a magic chair made invisible, then visible again with paint. Of fairies and pixies and gnomes and wizards and witches and lemonade and ginger beer.

Most of all, I love watching B as we read. While I revel in my memories, he is caught in the story, pulling the blankets over his head at the scary parts, sitting with his hand over his mouth at the tense parts, laughing like crazy when it all resolves, and looking forward to another the end. Initially I wondered if the stories were a little dull - they are certainly nothing like the 'adventures' he is presented with on TV, internet or more modern children's books. While his friends talk about Hobbits and Harry Potter, I thought he might find pixies and magic chairs a little...old fashioned. I was so wrong - this is perfect. It is captivating, but not worrying. There is little he doesn't understand conceptually, but the language is beautiful and challenges him (I think his vocabulary has been much improved by a little Blyton!).

Spectacles. In a trice. Wickedly. Most unpleasant. Perfectly wonderful.

We are both having a ball.

Did you read Enid, or other 'older' children's books, or do you read them to your kids? If so, what would you recommend we put on our list?


katieh said...

I haven't read any Blyton to W or L yet, but we have read lots of Dick King Smith, and HB has read a lot of the Little House on the Prairie books to W (I'm planning to re-read Little House in the Big Woods to both of them, since I think Lara could probably handle it in short chunks.)

hmmm, what else? The first wombles book is good, and the Pooh books, and Mrs Pepperpot!

My sister was a big Wishing Chair fan when she was little. I liked the Adventure series - particularly when they were set on islands. :)


Never read the Wishing Chair, I'll have to look for it. About the only Blyton I remember reading as a child was Greek myths, which is the first book I remember reading to myself. P is a big fan of Dinosaur Cove, which is fine, but I wish he would let me read Milne or similar. We have the complete Pooh but there's not enough derring do. He loves the abridged Beowulf I have though!

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled you and your little men are enjoying something from your childhood.