Aeneas is nearly three now, and starting to show an interest in bedtime stories. We read Elmer (the one with the brightly coloured elephant) and Babar (the one with the other elephant); and we read books about dinosaurs (his favourite) and fairy tales with lots of pictures (my favourite). I have always loved books – so I really am kind of over the moon that it is starting to look like Aeneas might love books too. Still, I secretly long for him to be that little bit older so that we can start reading proper children’s stories. You know: The Secret Garden, Black Beauty, Swallows and Amazons, and so forth. All the Enid Blyton books – the Famous Five and the Secret Seven - the books that I remember so fondly from once upon a time when I was small too. The books that I am dying for an excuse to read once again.
There is this one Enid Blyton book – The Secret Island – that I remember reading again and again as a child. The one where the four brothers and sisters escape to set up camp on a secret, deserted island. No grown-ups – nothing but birds and trees and little wild animals – a childish eutopia of sorts. They build a house from the branches of a willow tree, and live off wild blackberries and hazelnuts, fish that they barbecue on an open fire and the odd slice of cake with hot cocoa that they steal from the village just across the water. Something about that always captured my imagination and made me want to adventure. [Read more…]