Thursday 26 November 2009

old favourites

Now I have a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas sitting round the living room for a reason. It was one of those divorce things ... he ended up with a big chunk of the children's book collection ... so I have been intermittently rebuilding it. There are certain books that I think children should not grow up without, and a substantial collection of Dr Seuss comes high on the list. I found a copy of Grinch in a charity shop, a lovely hardback in immaculate condition for 75p, but then it got pushed onto the small bookcase behind the living room door and forgotten.
M and I were just sitting yesterday morning, I was on the computer and she picked the book up and started reading it aloud to me for fun. Half way through I picked up the rhythm of the story and started reciting it from memory along with her. It was a lovely nostalgia moment for me because I must have read the book hundreds of times when the children were younger, and not just around Christmas. Now I am not sentimental about Christmas, in fact with the lack of little people around now I resist joining in with the enforced jollity, but this is a nice little story essentially about the importance of belonging.
The Grinch looks down on the Whos , all happily preparing for Christmas, and decides to steal it from them. So he sneaks into all their houses and steals all their present and decorations and food. Then of course, when he pauses to look back and enjoy their misery he finds that Christmas still arrives, without all the trimmings. The Whos still celebrate, and of course forgive him and welcome him back when he has a miraculous change of heart and returns all the stolen goodies.

The one that was really part of the Christmas preparations when the children were growing up was 'Mole and Troll Trim the Tree'. We did read this only at Christmas. Two friends decide to share a tree one Christmas but end have a huge row about how to decorate their tree. They throw things, and then one of them storms out, Troll I think, taking all his decorations with him. But they make up, and in the end decide to put everything in the world on their tree, so much so that there was hardly any tree showing by the time they finish. This appealed to us because we were an 'everything in the world on your tree' kind of family.
It is funny how traditions come about, and I suppose that when your life experiences such upheaval as ours did you find you need to make new ones. I look back fondly on things I did with my kids when they were growing up ... and I look forward now to new things we will do, the potential for new traditions in the future. So I buy children's books that I have loved, hopefully to share with my grandchildren one day.


  1. Dr Seus is amazing. I need to try get a copy of the Christmas one for my daughter. Have you sen Horton hears a Who? So good.

  2. Lovely post. I occasionally find my son's old children's books around and whenever I do discover one nothing gets done for half an hour or so whilst I re-read it and wake up dormant memories.


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