What books did you love as a child that really DON'T stand up to re-visiting?(90 Posts)
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.
Willard Price is hilarious. When reading them to DS I used to get the giggles because at the moments of great danger- just about to be charged by a croc/tiger/rhino etc- Hal would go into a 5 page lecture about the animal in question. You want to shout at him to shut up and move.
I loved Emily of New Moon and have pressed it upon DD without actually re-reading it myself.
The Bobbsey Twins. I found a couple in my mothers attic recently and couldn't get past the first few pages. When I was a kid I used to scour the library for these.
It's been a while since I had a re-read of the Little House books, but I do think they've stood up well. DS has read Little House in the Big Woods, but not any further yet. So far all the childhood favourites I've re-read have stood up well, however I haven't read any Enid Blyton since I was about 11 although I still have all of my books from then. Have tried to get DS to try the Famous Five or the Five Find Outers, but he just hasn't bitten yet. From many comments I suspect these will be a major disappointment if I do read them.
I'm trying to find my Swallows and Amazons books, I've got just over half the set, but can't remember where they got packed away. I think DS might actually enjoy those as he and DD recently watched the film of the first book on the telly and enjoyed it. The stumbling block might be the sailing jargon. I loved Biggles books as a youngster and fortunately FIL has quite a few, so both he and I were keen to get DS hooked. We started him on Biggles Learns to Fly when he was in Y2, but he couldn't get past the first half dozen pages. Two years on, after reading a lot of non-fiction about WWI, he raced through it. He just needed to understand the references.
A friend and I were recently discussing modern kids reading books which were already old when we were kids and we agreed that the gap between the books' worlds and our world was big, but many things in the books were still within living memory, albeit our grandparents. Now the gulf is so great, and the kids don't hear such things discussed at all, so a lot of the references are a major stumbling block.
Either I have no taste (quite possible!) or I just haven't read enough Mr Men books -on every thread like this posters appear saying how dire they are,but I always rather liked them.
Apart from anything else they are funny,a bit - always a plus at bedtime IMO!
When I first read Malory Towers as a child I idolised Darrell. Upon reading them to my daughter I realised what a nasty bad tempered bully she was.
I also loved Ballet Shoes, White Boots etc as a chid but reading them to my We are now on the last of the Gemma series and are both enjoying them as the chapters are shorter and much easier to read. DH on the other hand finds them dull and reads the naughty little sister books to her instead which we all love and those have never shifted in my mind as anything other than great however it's hard to explain about the coal man to my DD or the chimney sweep and the fact little sister goes to school one day with her big sister as mother had an appointment she couldn't take a child to - always wondered what that was
perhaps a smear test or similar
The Mr Men are incredibly tedious and not very well written.
The Beatrix Potter books are so dated that DS struggles to relate to them.
I took Swallows and Amazons to read to DS while we were camping on the shores of Windermere.
I still loved it... he fell asleep .
We read a Mrs Pepperpot story a night from a bumper book of collected stories, recently. They weren't as wonderful as I remembered, but the children did like them.
I still like Anne of Green Gables and Ballet Shoes, and the Katy books (excluding Clover and In the High Valley which were always rather ropey), on re reading to my own children.
Blyton, most of Blyton too, not so much.
Agree - DW tried the Mrs Pepperpot ones with DD recently and they were rejected after about two stories....
DW has been reading The Naughtiest Girl In School stories to DD recently and they've gone down reasonably well - the culture of high tea with not a fruit or veggie included seems a very alien concept to DCs brought up with the 5 fruits/veggies a day mantra! Also, it's all about being beastly and horrid and then discovering a nicer side to oneself and these issues of bullying, insecurity etc...are sadly still very much with children in the here and now...
I bought Mrs Pepperpot to read to the kids, in a moment of nostalgia.
We nearly cried; it was so boring.
DW had a very nostalgic vision of the birthday party episode in My Naughty Little Sister from childhood. She was so happy and comforted to revisit it several decades later with DD who couldn't quite believe that two children could eat a whole trifle in one episode of naughtiness! But then she isn't a pudding monster!
Now Ballet Shoes and all the other Noel Streatfields I have really enjoyed revisiting, and DD liked them too - my only quibble being that she really does recycle her characters quite shamelessly from book to book. Swallows & Amazons too - DH read all 12 to dd as bedtime stories over about a 2 year period, and both dd and lots of her friends really like them (and interestingly the 70s film hasn't dated at all either and is still well worth watching).
Not-so-strangely I suppose the books that still seem to me worth reading are actually the ones that were considered 'classics' all along, on the whole it is the less known works that don't seem to stand up, rather than it being an issue of wordiness. I was still very very disappointed by the Oregon Trail, though
I have really enjoyed reading the 'My Naughty Little Sister' books to the DDs . They've stood the test of time for me
I've just re-read Ballet Shoes & Theatre Shoes & loved them!!
I've got all my old children's books (hundreds of them!) on a bookshelf in DDs room as my parents downsized & gave them to me & I can't bear to throw them out!
So far she can only cope with Topsy & Tim (she's 3.7). They're all the very early ones & so different from the copies you buy now.
I agree with Mr Men, I've actually given them away as I can't bear to read them.
Some Enid Blyton, like Mr Twaddle & Noddy I find really dull, oh & the Sunshine book of short stories. It sends me into a daze!!
Oh, yes. Those bits ... I guess it's how society has changed.
I remembered something else that really doesn't work for me now. There's a famous five book where Anne (naturally! ) makes them all nice comfy bunny-fur blankets by sewing together the skins from rabbits the boys and George trapped while they're all hiding out on Kirrin Island.
At the time I thought how lovely and snuggly rabbit-skin blankets would be.
Now I can only think about uncured skin, with gobbets of rabbit-flesh clinging to it, drying stiff as a board. Ewwwwww!
DD2 loves the Noddy books which are quite arduous
re Malory Towers, YES!
Read some of the 1st term one with DD and it's all a bit hardcore, isn't it?!
DD couldn't get her head round 12y old Darrell being waved off on a train though, so we sort of fell at the 1st hurdle
And the girls being mean to Gwen who was crying because she missed her Mother... and the Mother being described as a wuss for being upset when waving Gwen off
The Mr Men (and even worse, the Little Miss) books. Dire. Although my old time fave Mr Tickle was ok
I love milly molly mandy but never read it as a child. V disappointed about Biggles
I like 'wordy' books. A lot of the books we're mentioning and especially the Noel Streatfield ones have a real texture to the description - you can properly see and feel what's being described. There are so many things in childrens' books I loved where the description was so evocative I was really disappointed when I came across the real-life thing later on.
By contrast I think the more modern, dialogue-heavy ones like the Harry Potter books are more cinematic, faster-paced but don't in the same way make you imagine everything.
I remember quite enjoying Biggles when I was at the end of primary school, but the language of those has dated so much I can't cope with them now. Same with the Chalet school.
Does anyone else look back on the Chalet School/Malory towers and similar and think, wow, they were really bullies?! When I was little my aunt commented that she thought the fat girl who didn't like to swim in the freezing cold sea-water pool in Malory Towers had a bit of a point and I had no clue what she meant. I'm with her now!
I really, REALLY want one of my DDs to like Anne of Green Gables...
I also adored the TV series as a child
I found that the Moomins stood up quite well - they were the books that started DS reading to himself. He also loved Swallows and Amazons - rather to my surprise - I guess they are just as remote a fantasy world as Harry Potter to a child born at the end of the 20th century.
He quite enjoyed the Famous Five (which I loathed as a child) but only as a much abridged audio book. He also loved Winnie the Pooh and the Jungle Book as audio books.
I chucked Stalky and Co at DS a couple of weeks ago, now he has reached the grand old age of 13. That has been a total failure whereas I can remember laughing myself breathless at the dead cat episode (I was an odd child..)
And a book I adored as an 8-year-old was 'The Tree that sat Down' by Beverley Nichols. I bought a second hand copy recently and it was awful!
It is not just the attitudes and customs that date some books so badly - it wasn't until I started reading Stalky again that I realised just how much language has changed. It didn't seem particularly odd to me as a child, but it is very ornate and complicated on re-reading it now.
I wouldn't say "they don't stand up to revisiting" because I still like them,but I tried to read Swallows and Amazons to DS,and we just couldn't do it,it takes so long for anything to happen.
I think that may be because DS isn't a brilliant reader - I think as a fast reader I probably shot through and skimmed over things as a child.
Books were "wordier" though - we read The Eagle of the Ninth (and its sequels) and I was surprised by how complex the writing and sentence structure were.
Still love Anne of Green Gables,Little Women,Winnie the Pooh (funny - and recognisably set in a landscape I know)and I am reading the Moomins with DS at the moment,we are on our third book and he loves them (at age 12..)
Ah, I can't drive down either road without thinking about the Fossils and the dolls houses!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.