Friday, 28 March 2008

Book Journal

I bought my son a book journal today, so that he can keep a record of the books he reads (or has read to him) and say a little about what he thought of them. This present falls into the 'I wish someone had made me do that when I was a kid' category and as such may come to a grinding halt (as his scrapbook did). We'll see.

But what a fantastic thing it would be: to have a record of everything you had ever read from the age of ten. I can remember some stand-out books from when I was a child. I remember dragging Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea home from the library when I was about nine and being read A Christmas Carol at about the same time. I can remember Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth series and Henry Treece's Road to Miklagard and War Dog. I can remember C S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and even the mawkish Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. I remember the brilliant Dr Seuss: The Cat in the Hat and One Fish Two Fish and I remember Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories. But as to all the countless other books I read or heard at that age; they are probably gone for good.

And in any case it is different remembering books as an adult and having the evidence there in front of you of what you really thought at the age you read the book. One of the nice things about writing for children is that they are such an appreciative audience. That is not to say they are uncritical. If they do not like something, then they are far more resistant to it than adults. The difference is that they are enthusiasts by temperament and so, if they do enjoy something, each book (or movie, or holiday, or birthday party) will be the 'best yet' or the 'best ever'. There are always caveats with adults.

Anyway - the first two books in my son's journal will be Jack London's The Call of the Wild (another book I can remember reading), which he read to himself and finished yesterday, and Mark Walden's 'Hive 2', which was read to him. He thoroughly enjoyed both, but it will be interesting to read what he has to say about them.


  1. I know it's an obvious choice but has he read 'My Family and Other Animals?'I got this as a school geography prize once and still stands as a favourite.

  2. Thanks Peter. Good idea. I loved that book.