One, two, Three With Ant & Bee, by Angela Banner
Cheeky Ant and sensible Bee were best friends who had lots of little adventures as they learnt about the alphabet, counting and countries of the world in One, Two, Three With Ant & Bee. I couldn’t get enough of them, especially in this book, in which Ant is a badly-behaved invalid while Bee loyally looks after him. When I showed the books to my children, they weren’t as excited as me but apparently the books now fetch pretty good prices on eBay.
Millions Of Cats, by Wanda Gag
It took me ages to track Millions Of Cats down – all I remembered was a magical book about a lonely old couple (aren’t they always in children’s books) who desperately wanted, not a baby but a cat, and then find thousands and millions of moggies. Tracking it down on the internet, it’s just as beautiful as I remember, especially the detailed black and white drawings, although be warned it has a very unsoppy ending. First published in 1928, I’m clearly not the only one to have fond memories – someone’s even posted up a picture of a cake they’ve made to celebrate it.
Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik
With illustrations by Maurice ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ Sendak, I treasured Little Bear, especially the story where Little Bear is cold and puts on lots of clothes to go out until his mum (a very loving, clever mum – good role model) helps him discover he has his own fur coat after all. The book still gives me a warm, toasty feeling today.
James & The Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
I was a huge Roald Dahl fan and it’s a toss-up between James and Charlie, but the boy with the disgustingly horrible aunts (and the parents trampled by a runaway rhino) wins the day.
King of the Copper Mountains, by Paul Beigel
A charming but little known book about a decaying old king who’s only kept alive by the captivating stories told each night by a different animal. When I read King of the Copper Mountains to my daughter, I cried into my sleeve all through the last three chapters – even though it doesn’t have a sad ending. I think it’s about old memories, loss and time passing – my children think it’s about talking animals…