101 things about me

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Big Tidy Up

Jennifer knew,
as well as you,
that everything
has it's place...
But she didn't care
a whit, a bit,
so her room
was a real disgrace!

So begins my favourite childhood story: The Big Tidy Up!
My mother could probably recite it word for word if I asked her. In fact, if I said the first few words, she would be impossible to stop until the end. The Big Tidy Up was almost definitely responsible for my need to declutter and my agitation at mess... but that is another story for another time!

I was lucky. I grew up in a family of readers. My mother read to me and my two older brothers every night before the lights were put out. Captain Pugwash was a favourite (for Mum and the three of us kids) as she drew us into a world of pirates and adventure. She always used the voices of the characters... hushed whispers followed by frightening pirates, always making us jump and squeal even though we knew exactly what was about to happen!

A little bull called Ferdinand who refused to fight, preferring instead to sit centre bull-ring smelling the roses was also a regular. I have memories of our introductions to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy and the characters of Narnia and was a huge fan of Laura Ingalls and her family. These characters coloured my childhood and encouraged imagination and a love of literature for us all. My brothers' frayed copies of Catweazle and the Swallows and Amazons series still sit expectantly on the bookshelves in my parent's home too treasured to discard.

A few years back, when I was living overseas, I said to my mum (who was in the middle of a clean out frenzy at the time) that she could donate all my books to the local St. Vinnies with the exception of a few named favourites. The Big Tidy Up was high on the list.

It wasn't until earlier last year that my mother made her guilty confession. She couldn't find it. She had a fine excuse. As a teacher for many years it is possible that she took it to read to one of her classes and that was where it remained. Now, many years later, I do not expect to see it again.

But fear not. Surely rescue (Enid Blyton style) in the form of Amazon is just around the corner...

I typed in "The Big Tidy Up" and it offered it to me at the bargain price of (wait for it) $124. It has not been published since 1972! Somewhat in shock, I was not discouraged entirely. Whilst I had resigned myself to never turn those familliar pages again, I decided to recheck, only to find (Hurrah! hurrah!) that it is being re-published in 2008. Amazon has it available to preorder for $8.99!

I am expecting it's arrival not long after May 13, 2008! Hurrah!

So what are your memories of childhood reading. What were your favourites? Gems that you loved and could quote word for word. Stories that still make you smile...


Malcolm said...

Didn't Ferdinand get stung on the backside by a bee?

Always loved Catweazle and his "Telling Bone"...

The lights have come on for me regarding keeping things ship shape... Bl**DY childrens books! LOL

Ames said...

Ooooh, I looove books! I always loved the Hairy Maclary books, then graduated to mum's Donna Parkers and Trixie Beldens!My favourite picture book was called Amy's Place, about a litle girl who ha dpossums come to stay in her cubby house.
I also loved listening to dad read the Roald Dahl books.