Hello readers! Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday. Each week, list-lovers are invited to create a top-ten on a book-related theme.
This meme was launched by The Broke and the Bookish and has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl since January 2018. To get involved, simply visit her website by clicking here.
This week our topic is wintry reads. Some of my best childhood memories involve snuggling up with books during cold weather so I’ve put my own twist on today’s list and named ten novels I enjoyed when (much!) younger.
Outstanding or Awful?
Some of you will have heard the phrase “never meet your heroes”. Well, it’s possible you shouldn’t revisit childhood favourites as an adult, either.
I’m choosing books based on twenty-year-old memories. Do they stand the test of time? If you’ve picked up any of them recently, let me know whether they’re classics or should be consigned to the dustbin of history
- Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Who wouldn’t want to walk through a wardrobe and find themselves in a magical, snow-covered land? When I first read this book, aged seven, I didn’t pick up on the religious symbolism; this was a story about Father Christmas and talking animals. As an adult, I think it’s about stranger-danger. Lucy and Edmund, didn’t your mother warn you not to take food from adults you’ve never met?
The Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
This isn’t, technically, a children’s book but it’s one I read at a young age. Part of Terry Pratchett’s popular Discworld series, it deals with serious issues, such the human capacity for belief and (more importantly) why Father-Christmas-type characters give cheaper presents to children from poorer families. Worth a read.
The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper
If the onset of adolescence wasn’t bad enough, poor Will Stanton has a very unusual eleventh birthday. Just before Christmas, he learns that he’s the last of the Old Ones and destined to wield magical powers in the war against the Dark. Expect menacing enemies and beautiful snowy scenes in the British countryside.
Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken
In this alternate history of England, James III sits on the throne and wolf packs attack rural areas. A dastardly, scheming governess must be outwitted by cousins Bonnie and Sylvia with help from local cave-dwelling orphan, Simon. This version of the UK is in dire need of child protection services.
The Box of Delights, John Masefield
“The wolves are running” must be one of my all-time favourite lines in a children’s book. Magical, wintery and extremely old fashioned, this novel follows Kay and his friends as they safeguard the magical box given to him by an elderly Punch and Judy man. Is the story real or Kay’s fantasy? And, if it’s the former, why aren’t the adults more worried about these children’s escapades?
The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Dodie Smith
When I was in my early teens, I picked up Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and was surprised to see it was by the same author as The Hundred and One Dalmatians. After evil Cruella de Vil kidnaps (or dognaps?) their puppies, Dalmatians Pongo and Missis brave the cold to rescue their missing family members.
The Steps Up the Chimney, William Corlett
While staying with their uncle and his pregnant girlfriend for Christmas, three siblings are dropped into magical adventures. The Steps Up the Chimney introduces fascinating animals, secret rooms and a mysterious magician.
Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
Sorry, Pullman hasn’t written a new novel; Northern Lights is just another name for The Golden Compass. Frozen landscapes and talking armoured bears make this a must-read winter story. Be prepared for vibrant characters and a lot of religious subtext.
The Giant Under The Snow, John Gordon
I picked up this book when very young and have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be as good as I remember. If anyone has enjoyed it recently, please get in touch and tell me I’m wrong. Written back in the 1960s, it follows three children who discover a Celtic buckle and become embroiled in a mythological adventure.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
The tenth book I’ve named isn’t very original, it turns up on almost every winter book list. A Christmas Carol is a feel-good classic, mixing redemption with a wonderful, page-turning, winter ghost story.