My husband and I love passing time in bookstores. Browsing in a nearby store one day, my eyes suddenly caught the attention of a gem which instantly transported me through time to my childhood! The sudden find sent memories rushing through my head; I stood there with the book in my hand and then I called out to my husband loudly: “Look! This is the book I had told you about” and kept on gushing about it: “used to be my favourite book back in school…look at the illustrations”. I felt like jumping about I was so excited.
That moment of joy also brought back the memories of some other books I enjoyed in my childhood. Here’s a list of four of them along with my fond memories. I start with the book which prompted this post.
1. The Fire Bird – Russian Folk Tales
It’s a collection of amazing short folk tales about princes and princesses. The Russian names used to fascinate me – Ivan, Vasilisa, Baba Yaga (who was a sorceress!!). I used to make paper dolls and name them after these characters. Every afternoon I used to read this book to sleep after coming back from school. I knew all the stories by heart and would narrate them to my little cousins when babysitting them.
The moment I saw the book I wanted to buy it for my children to read it too. A whopping S$50 price tag made me cringe and I resisted the purchase. I remembered to bring back this little treasure when I made the next trip to Calcutta. I am proud that it has survived in good condition for my kids even though it is older than me – it belonged to my Uncle who got it as a birthday gift in his childhood and he had passed it to me and my sister.
2. Pat the Cat and Pat the Bunny by Edith Kunhardt
This book is just right for my sons now – it is touch & feel book for toddlers and preschoolers. Apart from caressing the furry little pets in the book, the kids can have fun doing things like withdrawing fake money from the wallet and handing it out to pay for groceries, playing peek-a-boo, scratching daddy’s beard (a little sandpaper strip on the page), smelling ginger before mom cooks dinner. Haha! So cute, isn’t it?
It was such a fun book for me and my sister when we were kids. The books are presently with her, so I ordered a copy from Amazon. My son loves his Cat book and every time he reaches out for it, I relive my childhood once again! Ah! – the nostalgia. By the way, I had no idea that the book is so popular in the U.S, one of the best-sellers since its publication in 1940s. No wonder!
3. Animalia by Graeme Base
Oh Boy! This is by far the coolest book I have ever owned! And it screams out nostalgia to me! I cannot remember how many hours me and my sister and sometimes our parents have spent pouring over this book trying to name all the crazy things in the pages! It is a hit with children and a fantastic way to keep them busy.
It is an alliterative alphabet book, which means each page of the book is dedicated to a letter of the English alphabet and has pictures of numerous animals starting with that letter. The fun part is that the beautifully illustrated pages of the book have many many other things which start with the same letter. The game is to name them all. It surely did keep me engaged for a long time. To make it more challenging, the author had a hidden picture of himself in every page – finding him used to be very interesting.
Animalia is great for kids to increase their vocabulary and although I have not let my 2.5 year monkey play with it yet, I am sure we are going to have some quality mother-son time once he is old enough.
It is a keeper for sure. It has won the Young Australian’s Best Book Award in 1987 for Best Picture Story Book among other awards (courtesy wikipedia).
4. Feluda series by Satyajit Ray
The fourth is not one book but a series of novels on the character Feluda – the creation of one of the greatest Indian film-maker and writer of the 20th century. Do I hear a loud cheer from my Bengali friends! Lol!
Feluda’s character was written by Mr. Ray with teenagers in mind – but it has become a favourite for all ages! He is the famous suave Bengali sleuth, who makes use of his brains more than his brawn. He’s our homegrown Sherlock Holmes! Mr. Ray also made movies from few of the books. My father and I still use dialogues in our daily conversations, we are so fond of Feluda.
To be honest, I think he was my first crush! The coolness in his attitude was unbelievable and the way he used to solve challenging cases was incredible. I have read re-read all the books in the series and I still do, whenever I get the time. It transports me to those golden memories, where my dad would buy a new book for me at the annual book fair. I used to wait the whole year for that. Reminds me of the simpler times. I feel grateful that I could enjoy the books in the language they were written in and not the translated ones, and I wish my boys can get the same enjoyment someday.
Writing this post made me go back to my childhood in a sort of way. I will be taking the a Feluda novel and a big smile (which I am wearing right now) with me to bed tonight.
What are the books that remind you of your childhood?
Good night! xo