As an adult, there are certain moments in life when I feel the need to revert back to my childhood and enjoy the perks of being young. This often involves going a little nuts at the cinema candy bar, dressing up as my favourite Disney princesses, and reading the books of my youth. To this day reading the Tale of Peter Rabbit still has the ability to transport me back in time. To a place that smells of cinnamon, sweetness and burnt toast, my grandmother’s kitchen. This is where I would sit eating ‘eggs with soldiers,’ listening to her describe the antics of Peter and his furry siblings.
Not only do childhood stories allow you to indulge in mystical adventures, filled with fun, laughter and hope, they also allow you to relive special moments of your own childhood. Everyone has their own favourite titles and accompanying memories, but here are a few from my personal selection, which I know are still cherished in many ‘grown-up’ homes.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
I can’t help but start with my most beloved book. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Peter Rabbit, his story is one of mischief- making. He is a delightful little bunny who one day decides to disobey his mother and venture into Mr McGregor's garden. Peter finds himself lost, scared and regretful, but eventually makes his way home to Mother Rabbit and his three siblings.
I think that the reason I love this book most, is because it reminds me of the time I spent visiting my grandparents when I was a little girl. I wasn’t a very brave child, so perhaps Peter’s mischievous ways gave me the opportunity to run-a-muck, without leaving the comfort of my own bed.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baun
It would be very hard to forget about the story of Dorothy and her red ruby slippers. However despite her charm, I believe it was actually Tin Woodman that captured the hearts of Baun’s readers.
Dorothy visited the Land of Oz in hope of returning home, Scarecrow wished for some brains, the Cowardly Lion wished for courage and Tin Woodman dreamed of having a heart.
The endearing character ‘Tin Man’, tells his story of love and loss, and leaves us with the message, that he ‘shall ask for a heart as brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.’ As a true romantic, I am in complete agreement, and was swept up in the sweet story of a man made of metal, hoping to find true love again.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
At the tender age of eight years old, the religious tone of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was lost on me, however the triumph of Good Vs. Evil was not. Just like the Pevensie children, I could not help but adore Aslan the lion, the true king of Narnia. In this magical world of fantasy young readers were introduced to the concept of greed and gluttony, as well as sacrifice and love.
It was a book that offered me true adventure and allowed me to experience a roller coaster of emotions. I learnt the value of friendship, bravery and courage through this story. And I think that Lewis did an incredible job of teaching young minds such intense concepts through a wonderfully entertaining, and heart-warming story.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A Milne
Every family household has a Winnie the Pooh, the toy may not be named Winnie and it may not be a bear, but it will be someone’s most loved toy. Winnie or more commonly known as Pooh Bear is a silly, but thoughtful toy bear who is very loved by his owner and best friend, Christopher Robin.
Children and adults alike can relate to the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and the relationship shared between a child and his favourite toy. The friendly character Pooh Bear represents everyone’s beloved cuddle companion as a child. For me it was ‘Rabsy’ the rabbit who I took everywhere with me, he made me brave and kept me company on many adventures, just as Pooh does for Christopher Robin.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B White
The story of Charlotte’s Web is another magical tale of friendship. For anyone who owns a childhood pet you can understand Arabel’s distress when she is separated from her little pet pig Wilbur. The young runt of the litter is eventually shipped off to be slaughtered. That is until he is befriended by unlikely companion, Charlotte the Spider.
You can’t help but be fond of Wilbur’s young and vulnerable nature, and Charlotte’s protective motherly instincts. It is a story that resonates with the best of us, as we follow two friends who devote their lives to looking out for each other.
After taking some time out to enjoy some of my beloved childhood books, I can see that the reason these beautiful classics still resonate with me as an adult is due to their universal values.
Children’s books teach us to take pleasure in the little things. Not to get too caught up in life’s trials and tribulations, but to focus on the joy of family, friendship and hope. They often say that seeing the world through a child’s eyes is a lot simpler, and I believe, that is what these brilliant authors teach us to do.