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Monday, November 21, 2011

Storybooks from the 70s and 80s

Yesterday, browsing on Amazon, I came across the exact same edition of a book I had in around 1980. The book in question was There was an old lady who swallowed a fly by Pam Adams, first published in 1973. Of course, I promptly bought it for the modest price of 3.78 euros! But childhood nostalgia apart, I bought the book to use in the classroom. I loved the story as a young child, partly because the fact that an old lady swallows a horse is hilarious to a four-year-old, but also because the story has fantastic rhythm and rhyme.

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird. How absurd she swallowed a bird! She swallowed the bird to catch the spider that wriggled a wriggled and tickled inside her.
The story also contains a lot of repetition, (think along the lines of The Twelve Days of Christmas) always ending each verse with "perhaps she'll die". My mother, who used to read me the story, is tone deaf, but even she got the rhythm right!

Finding this book, however, got me thinking about other storybooks I loved as a child and whether they are still in print. Here is a list of books I read frequently in the early to mid 80s:

1. Paddington at the Seaside by Michael Bond
2. The Topsy and Tim series by Jean Adamson and Belinda Worsley (an eighties Charlie and Lola?)
3. My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards (I had one!)
4. Mog's Christmas by Judith Kerr
5. The Secret Seven by Enid Blighton
6. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
7. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
8. The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
9. The Naughtiest Girl in the School by Enid Blyton

These are the ones I can remember, but I'm sure there were many more. I loved anything by Enid Blyton including the Mallory Towers series (boarding schools sounded so exciting!). Most of these books were first published in the 60s and 70s ( the Blighton books in the 40s!) but most are still available in new prints or second-hand on Amazon. It just goes to show that a good book will never disappear.

The next few posts will be dedicated to children's storybooks, old and new, and how we can use them in the classroom.
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