Book Club Friday Goes British!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Of Woods and Words

End the week with bookish chat. I share what I'm reading, you share what you're reading. If you've written a bookish post yourself in the last week or so, slap the above book club button on it and link up below!

I couldn't resist using the Royal Wedding as an excuse to talk British children's literature. Make yourself cozy and please, won't you have a cup of tea?

But before we go any further . . . Kate Middleton's wedding dress? Yay or nay?
Big, BIG "YAY" in my opinion. Dare I say, it's a little ala Princess Margaret? Nice work Princess Catherine!

Now then . .  .

I've been trying to figure out just when I got to be such an Anglophile and while I'm not exactly sure what happened, I'd like to blame books nonetheless.  

Specifically, these guys . .  .
Actually, now that I think of it, although Pooh and Piglet and the rest of the original A.A. Milne gang (aka not the Disney Pooh . . . what the heck was with Pooh's red shirt anyway?!) were a huge part of my childhood, I think I probably got my first dose of English literature from a Ms. Beatrix Potter. Because of my springtime birthday (aka, the stores were stocked with Easter stuff), I always seemed to receive a lot of bunny stuff for my birthdays and for all the stuffed bunnies and little bunny knick-knacks I once owned, the bunnies who had the most impact on me were Potter's little rabbits. 

I grew out of bunnies, eventually, and moved onto other British children's literature, the kind without sweet little illustrations. I read my copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses until the book jacket wore out. I got lost in the worlds of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and the Borrower books by Mary Norton.Who can resist tales about little people living under the floor boards?!

In my teenage years, I discovered Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.  The books, with their complicated discussions about freewill, sexuality, and religion, have already proven themselves far too complex to work in movie form. They're best reread over and over again to get everything packed into these books. I think I could reread them every year if I didn't think there were a lot of other books out in the world that also deserved my attention.

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (who also wrote 101 Dalmations . . .wait, another culprit in making me a nutty Anglophile!), is another British young adult classic. The story is charming, sweet and very British. What more could you want?

I'm missing a ton of other British classics that entertained and help shape both my childhood and my decisions as an adult, but these are the books that came to mind as I pondered childhood favorites by British authors.

What were some of your favorite childhood books? Any favorite British authors? Happy Friday all!


  1. I just finished reading The Borrowers with my 7 year old, who loved it as much as I did at that age. I love British literature and am a total nut for Masterpiece Classics. My husband studied at Oxford as part of a program in college and he lived in the same dorm as JRR Tolkien...our love of British literature is a family affair : )

  2. Well, I know he wasn't *born* British, but my personal favorite British author has got to be C.S. Lewis. I just get him, ya know? Not just his stories, but also his story...

  3. I loved The Borrowers when I was a kid :D But I read SO much I could never really have a favourite. I remember reading Bruce Coville books, Road Dahl, R.L Stine, and so much more!

  4. Cute dress, but a little plain, which is cool, because they're trying to be more charity based. Still, glad the damn thing is over.

  5. Oh I loved the borrowers! I'm thinking Kate's dress is tilting quite princess grace of monaco to me? pretty, but I was hoping for a pretty updo!

  6. I LOVE her dress. simple and yet classic. something years later she won't wonder what in the world she was wearing! ;)

    I also LOVED reading the borrowers with my youngest daughter, years ago. We use to read chapter books at night while she was in bed...I would curl up with her and read a couple chapters to, the good ol' days!!!!!

  7. i didn't read "his dark materials" until i was an adult. they're STUNNING! i do have to say that i thought the movie was well done for what it was-- clearly you can't capture the whole books on screen, but the heavy parts they kept were tastefully re-created.

  8. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett got me through some dark days of childhood! As did The Secret Garden. Those stories were captivating and I was able to get lost in them when I needed to.
    Kate's dress was stunning. I agree on the Princess Grace comment.

  9. I think we read the exact same books growing up. I was a complete anglophile. Actually studied in London for a semester (and now am on a kick to move back there, Lukus keeps saying "how can you pick one of the few market's that are more expensive than LA?!" he is practical like that!) As a teenager I loved Jane Austen.... deeply. I read her books voraciously. I was a hopeless romantic (or at least in the confines of my brain!)

  10. Oh man, I wish I could say I have some favorite books as a kid but I don't really remember any! It's terrible, I know. Right now, does reading my Abnormal Psychology book count? Or what about the Book of Romans in the Bible? I've got about 4 chapters left of "The Help" and then hopefully, I'll get another good book under my belt, but until then!

  11. Love the wedding dress: classic and romantic. As for my Favorite children's books: Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Katie John, Caddie Woodlawn, and of course the Little House on The Prairie series and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle... I wasn't in to Winnie but I did read some of it to my babies. Collection of Beatrix Potter in tiny paperback form...
    and thank you for your encouraging words left on my blog. :)

  12. First of all, loved the dress. I am a total Anglophile as well; in the middle of my MA in British Literature. Who knows when I'll finish that ;) I read Milne to both my babies as infants, as well as Peter Pan to my son. I loved that story. I also linked up my children's book recommendation of the week. I don't know if that's what you had in mind. Let me know if it's not and I won't do it again! ;)

  13. I loved her dress. It complimented her personality. TBH, I loved her sister's dress more though....

  14. Thanks so much for coming by to follow me during the last blog hop! I'm now following you too!
    I love children's literature. :)

    2nd grade teacher
    Mommy of 3

  15. Loved the dress just had to say that- as for childhood books I remember "I love you this much" as one of my favorites and as I got a bit older "Poppy" was a fav of mine. As for British authors I cant think of any of the top of my head but I know for an adult British author I am a P.J Woodhouse fan :)

  16. I LOVED the dress too, absolutely beautiful. And love me some classic English kids literature. They really are all so 'magical' :)
    I also wanted to thank you real quick for linking up to the Storytellers Blog Hop!! You made for a great addition :)

  17. Ah, I have read and loved all of these! I didn't know of anyone else who read "The Borrowers," and I loved it!
    I must add everything by Roald Dahl. Since my Grandad was British and most of my interaction with him until he died was via letters written on blue air-mail paper, I melded the two of them into one person in my mind. I can still remember the day I found out Roald Dahl wouldn't be writing any more books because he had died a couple of years earlier.

  18. Oh--and how could I forget? All the Enid Blyton books, especially "The Faraway Tree" whose limbs reached up to other worlds for the kids to explore.
    And the Mr. Pinkwhistle series. Very Do Good-y books, but I loved them.
    I wonder if Ballet Shoes/Theatre Shoes were British, too?


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