Snakes in pants and worms in hats

It all started because of a hedgehog in a dress.  A moose with braces.  And a snake slithering out of its pants.  The kids and I were at the library and there on the shelf in lurid lime green was a book that I vividly remember reading when I was a kid: Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing.  It’s been re-issued and my kids thought it was as hilarious as I did back when I was small.  Their favourite page was the chicken laying an egg in its trousers. 

It was like being caught in a deluge of rain.  All of a sudden I was being pelted with memories of the books I loved when I was a kid.  The Topsy and Tim series.  Does anyone else remember those?  Or Babar the elephant?  I remember I wanted to be Babar’s wife, Celeste.  It’s probably the only time in your life when you can get away with wanting to be an elephant!

Another book I remember vividly was one of the Curious George books: Zozo Gets a Medal.  In my version, the monkey’s name was Zozo – apparently they renamed him in the books published out of the UK because, at the time, the King’s name was George and they didn’t want to publish a book in which a monkey had the same name as the king.  Looking back, I wonder why I never once thought it was strange to be reading about a man dressed all in yellow, from the top of his hat to the bottom of his trousers, which were so perfectly tucked into his long brown boots.

It’s great to still see so many of the books from my childhood being avidly read by my kids.  All the Dr Seuss books seem timeless – my favourite was Because a Little Bug Went Kachoo! – as do the Berenstain Bears books.  Both my girls can quote large sections of Bears on the Moon off by heart, as can I.  Richard Scarry’s books are also a big hit; it seems that cats wearing braces and worms with hats never go out of fashion. 

So, what books have I missed or forgotten about?  Let me know.  And next blog, I’ll be talking about some of the contemporary kids’ books that I think might become classics, books that might be read by our children’s children in many, many years time.


  1. Trin

    Ah now you have really got me thinking,
    I still have The Honey Hunt and The bike Lesson (both Berenstein Bears) which the kids enjoy so I have now added to the Berenstein Collection and many other Dr Seaus books.

    Another book I have kept which is fun is Tikki Tembo No Sar Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo. A fable about how Chineese names became short after the boy with the long name fell in the well and risked his life. The long name is so funny and I have never forgotten it in all these years.

    Oh and who can forget the beautifully drawn The forteen bears! The Hungry Catepillar which was the first book my beautiful first read from start to finish and Where the Wild Things Are. I could go on and on.

    But the next stage I am so excited because here at our house we are into the stage of Enid Blyton can’t beat the Folk of The far Away Tree, the Wishing Tree Series and the Naughtiest Girl at School. Maybe this blog could be done in age groups I have so much to say…….

    I’ve have definately got some modern classic idea’s I will save that after I see what you have wrote.!

  2. Yes, I’m looking forward to the girls reaching the age of Enid Blyton because I loved all of her books. I’ve been looking for a picture book version of The Magic Faraway Tree because I think Ruby would love the story but I haven’t been able to find one yet. The other 2 classics that I loved as a child and have been able to find picture book versions of for the girls are Little Women and The Wizard of Oz.

    I’d forgotten about Where the Wild Things Are. I’m sure there are so many more books from my childhood that I’d love to remember. If only it wasn’t so long ago then I might stand a chance!

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