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?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Four things that make me smile....
This morning, one of my favourite breakfasts. Boysenberry bran muffins (recipe from Serge Dansereau's French Kitchen - full of wonderful and delicious things).

The ridiculous and secret pleasure I get from my crockery cupboard.

 Ludicrously huge mussel shells on Eastbourne beach.

The beautiful architecture of the inside of a fallen ponga (tree fern).