Guest Post: A Ginger Cat, Children’s Books and New Year’s Resolutions

Today’s post is by the lovely Alice. Enjoy!

It’s funny, and possibly a little bit weird, that I keep finding myself drawn to Alice in Wonderland. For years, I sort of resented it as a book because people would always associate it with me, just because my name was Alice, which at the time was quite an unusual name. Luckily (although that is debatable), soon everyone who used to shout ‘Hey! Alice in Wonderland!’ at me learned two new songs, ‘Alice the Camel’ and ‘Living next door to Alice’.

The thing is, I really like that book now. It’s a collection wonderful, unexpected bits, and stuffed full of great writing. And last year, I went through a phase of following other Alices on Twitter. Which is actually how I found Steph (WutheringAlice is a bit of a mash-up of two of my favourite books.) I like Steph’s blog because we share lots of the same interests – books – magpie-ing, craft – unlike Steph though, I can’t knit, which is a shame. And I know very little about beauty products. But then, that is why it’s great stumbling on blogs that you not only identify with, but you can learn from.

alice

Anyway, back to Wonderland. I found this quote the other day:

“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”

My new years’ resolution – you may as well make resolutions you know you can keep – is to keep reading interesting and magical books. To myself, but also to my children. They are at the point (aged 4, 6 and almost 8) where they are keen to be read to, but also want to read things for themselves. We’ve had years of enjoyment reading the Julia Donaldson books to them, and Oliver Jeffers remains a favourite, as does anything Lauren Child has written. The biggest girl has just discovered Harry Potter books, and is ploughing through them at an alarming rate. And now, on some nights it is just easier to let them read to themselves (or in the 4 year olds’ case, recite a Charlie and Lola book she knows off by heart. ) But there is something about reading stories out loud to children that is especially magical. With loads of kids owning tablets, kindles and e-readers now, I have become more and more determined to continue to read books to the children; actual books they can touch and turn the pages of. I’m all for technology, and I don’t stand in their way of exploring it, but the thought of reading everything on a handheld device gives me the creeps. And so I’ve started by buying a book that made me laugh out loud the first time I ever read it.

Orlando

It’s a book about Orlando the Cat : A Trip Abroad. He goes on holiday to France, by accident. (He was supposed to go to Newhaven! As you do, when you are a cat.)

Kathleen Hale004

It’s just a wonderful story, with great illustrations. The writing is hilarious; there is a bit where Orlando is so excited, he jumps on to a table does his world-class impersonation of a ham. And the illustrations are so brilliant that the book is every bit as attractive to adults as to children; I would own this book even if I didn’t have kids. There are loads of stories in the Orlando series, he goes on lots of interesting, and slightly bizarre adventures. The first ones were written in 1938, so they are dated in places, but haven’t lost any of their charm or wit.

As well as Orlando the cat, I want to read more young fiction. Just because you are essentially a grown up, with a mortgage and a kitchen that includes more than one type of pasta and an actual recipe book (this is basically my criteria for being a grown up) doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy fiction aimed at teenagers. It’s a genre that just seems to get better and better! The Fault in Our Stars and Wonder are two of the best books I’ve read in the last year.

Happy Reading! New Year, Same You,  but with added book-based adventures.

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