What books did you love as a child that really DON'T stand up to re-visiting?

(90 Posts)
Takver Sun 16-Dec-12 21:49:04

Mine is "Children on the Oregon Trail" - our teacher read it to us at primary school in the top class and I loved it, we made maps of the children travelling across America etc etc. I tracked down a copy for dd and was sadly disappointed, partly because I had thought it was a true life story (it isn't) and partly because it just wasn't as good as I'd remembered.

Any others?

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 09:40:23

The Famous Five. I adored them and had battered copies of all the books.

I was aware of the sexism and just used to handwave it by thinking "this was written in the past".

But what shocked me on reading some to DS last week was the violence! We had to abandon Five Go Off in a Caravan because the boy who lived in the circus was getting more and more beaten up by his uncle. I remember a bit of "cuffing" but nothing so graphic!

I am beyond shocked to hear about Mrs Pepperpot.

I remember when I was small my mother announcing a project to read "Little Women" together. And I remember her saying - o dear, this is really pretty dull, sorry about that. And what she said was the same as what posters are saying here - when I was small this is just what there was to read! Books are so much better now!

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 10:01:59

x-post 41!

Takver Thu 20-Dec-12 10:03:37

Not just the Famous Five - I couldn't believe how awful the children in Secret Seven were to their siblings. DD got a running commentary on how badly behaved they were and how unkind it was to speak like that grin

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 10:10:23

In general though I am still a big fan of old-fashioned children's books. I know they are wordier than is currently fashionable, but I think it's important that children get into the hang of listening to/ reading them (good ones obviously) as otherwise they may have difficulty getting in to literature later on, Shakespeare, Austen, Brontes etc, being thrown by words and concepts before they are able to "get" the story.

I think that would be a shame, but I did study English literature so others may feel differently. I have been reading DS Milly Molly Mandy and other older books and I hope that he will feel comfortable with and not thrown by "old-fashioned" words and concepts when he comes across them in other books. I hope that doesn't sound too snobbish, maybe it does blush

On the other hand, Willard Price's Hal and Roger books, which I loved when I was young, really haven't aged well either. Well done, "take 'em alive men", at least you're not killing the animals eh? Just dragging them out of their natural environment to stick in your dad's zoo.

gazzalw Thu 20-Dec-12 10:12:13

Winnie the Pooh - such stilted, old-fashioned English and DW reckons the Milly-Molly-Mandy books start every chapter with the same paragraph about her family...

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 10:16:08

gazzalw I think they do! But I think children like that. I used to like the fact that Nancy Drew books always opened with a description of red headed Nancy, tomboyish George and plump Bess and their various boyfriends and the fact that Nancy lived with her Dad and housekeeper!

Takver Thu 20-Dec-12 10:20:20

Now Milly-Molly-Mandy I think definitely does still hold up well. I know it has lots of very repetitive phrases about her family, little-friend-susan etc, but I think that is appropriate to the age group and for reading aloud.

Takver Thu 20-Dec-12 10:20:38

x post with stella!

FloatyBeatie Thu 20-Dec-12 10:21:25

Winnie the Fucking Poo. I was so excited about the chance to revisit that series of books when I had children of my own to read to. But their saccharine, arch tone is just nauseating. As a child you only see the lovably vulnerable woodland creatures. As an adult you cringe at the writer's twee-but-somehow-still-quasi-lecherous idealisation of Christopher Robin. <vom>

swanthingafteranother Thu 20-Dec-12 10:22:41

Anne of Green Gables! So flowery... tried reading it to dd - she fell asleep
Chalet School...endless recapping and repeated storylines about headstrong girls running away, and well brought up Austrian girls.
Pippi Longstocking is actually much better read when you are an adult...I was laughing till I cried over the bit when Pippi is pretending to be a grownup lady talking about The Help/cleaning lady, whereas dd didn't get joke at all, aged 8
Tarzan series I dread reading again...I remember it being tremendously exciting aged 13 but even then I got a whiff that it was vulgar and violent and racist.

And I adored the Moomins, especially the rather elusive Exploits of Moominpappa, but I read it again and it seems...just well so tricksy and elusive, not meaty at all. The Treasure Hunt was my favourite part, but now I can't capture the emotion I had when I read it first or share it with dcs. sad

swanthingafteranother Thu 20-Dec-12 10:25:23

And my fave Milly Molly Mandy story is the one where she has a penny and manages to do all the suggestions with it...and ends up with a penny to buy herself sweets!!grin I have tried to explain the principle to the dcs although again they would never listen to the actual story when the right age.

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 10:28:22

DS's fave is the one where she makes a tea cosy after gathering all the bits from various sources. DH bloody hates it. "And then Milly Molly Mandy had a black bit and a yellow bit and some rainbow cord and a blue bit and a pink bit AAARGH".

TheElfOnThePanopticon Thu 20-Dec-12 10:30:55

I still love and reread the Little Women books, and the Chalet School and Moomins.

StellaNova Thu 20-Dec-12 10:31:44

I did my dissertation on Louisa Alcott!

FairyPenguin Thu 20-Dec-12 10:32:57

The Beatrix Potter stories. DD is 5 and insists I read them, but I don't enjoy them and I know the story is going over her head. I think she just likes looking at the pictures.

FairyPenguin Thu 20-Dec-12 10:34:04

I quite like the Milly Molly Mandy stories - haven't had to explain too many old words or phrases from those, and the stories are just the right length.

Arcticwaffle Thu 20-Dec-12 10:36:00

The first few Biggles books, the ones set in WW1, stand up to re-reading much more than the later ones, they were written before the series got toned down for children. Lots of hard drinking, swearing, death and depression in them - which is probably quite realistic.

FloatyBeatie Thu 20-Dec-12 10:36:25

I love B. Potter! Samuel Whiskers was my very first horror story. I found it really scary, especially when read by my mother who was rather phobic of rats owing to one having run out of a rain barrel right up her arm.

I loved the fact that it was possible to get lost an a house's secret structure (in the chimneys, behind the walls etc), so that you were right next to the adults who could help you but still trapped beyond their reach. That really is the stuff of horror films.

I adored reading it to my children.

Takver Thu 20-Dec-12 10:36:55

I love the story where MMM wins a huuuge fairy doll and swaps it for a much smaller but nicer toy

SuseB Thu 20-Dec-12 10:43:31

Have just read Milly Molly Mandy to my six-year-old, she loved it! Our favourite story is the one where Father has a bonfire and Milly Molly Mandy, Little Friend Susan and Billy Blunt cook their lunch on it...

I have been rereading Little House on the Prairie series lately, and have had the good fortune to find copies of two books I was missing second hand at school fairs, in the right editions with the right illustrations - yay! I still love those books and will be reading them to the DC very soon.

Also just read The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse - that had stood up well too, although the poor horse's adventures were more traumatic than I remembered. I need to raid my parents' bookshelves again soon.

Arcticwaffle Thu 20-Dec-12 10:44:39

I liked Little Black Sambo as a child but (unsurprisingly) it's not widely available these days so I can't check how good or bad the story is.

Smeggnog Thu 20-Dec-12 10:46:08

The Nancy Drew books. Admittedly I was (and still am) a total bookworm and would read any old shite, but those were particularly awful. Especially the series aimed at the tweenager market.

GreatCongas Thu 20-Dec-12 10:50:37

I'll have a look through then and find some of the earlier ones (and the worrals) we have hundreds (as dh whinged each time we move house)

notcitrus Thu 20-Dec-12 10:56:30

The Secret Seven books, and the Five Find Outers. Horribly sexist to the point of tedium. Though most of the rest of Blyton stood up fairly well to rereading.

Adventure in Forgotten Valley was my favourite book as a child - kids get trapped in a valley and meet dinosaurs and cavemen. On reading recently the dialogue was terrible and the two girl characters were solely to make up numbers to the extent that one had one line and the other screamed once in the whole book.

Winnie the Pooh is even more tedious than I remembered, though it's readable if you miss out the asides and humming.

The Phantom Tollbooth was still fantastic, though.

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