#Openbook – My favourite childhood book

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My favourite childhood book? This is a tough question. I have been an avid reader since the age of four years and have so many favourite books that narrowing it down to one seems quite impossible.

So instead of trying to determine which of The Enchanted Wood series; The Mallory Towers series; the St Clare series and the Wishing Chair series all by Enid Blyton or the Sue Barton series; the Pollyanna series; the Anne of Green Gables series or the Emily of New Moon series was my actual favourite [you get the idea of how hard this is], I am going to tell you about two of the books I remember having the biggest impact on me from my childhood.

Mary Poppins in the kitchen: A cookery book with a story

Blurb

Get a unique glimpse at the famous Poppins cast as the spit-spot English nanny and the Banks children take over the kitchen for a week. With the help of familiar visitors like the Bird Woman, Admiral Boom, and Mr. and Mrs. Turvy, Mary Poppins teaches her irrepressible young charges the basics of cooking, from A to Z. And young readers can re-create the week’s menus by following the thirty different recipes. Kitchen adventures were never so much fun!

In full color for the first time, this enchanting new edition will delight both old and new fans of the inimitable Mary Poppins.

Impact on me

I remember my three younger sisters and I have amazing fun making up these recipes. We had a little oven that worked with globes and cook tiny trays of food. We spend many pleasurable hours reading this book together and mixing up the recipes for our many tea parties.

Der Struwwelpeter (English version)

The blurb

FULL COLOR, ENGLISH TRANSLATION. By Heinrich Hoffmann. First published in 1845, Der Struwwelpeter is without question one of the most popular children’s books ever written.

Each of its ten illustrated rhymes contain clear moral lessons—and shows, in an exaggerated way, the consequences of bad behavior.

Read about the boy who would not brush his hair or cut his nails—Shockhead Peter.

Read about the boy who would not stop sucking his thumbs.

Read about the boy who would not eat.

Read about the boy who would not look where he was going. . .

And many more!

A great classic which children of all ages will enjoy time and time again.

This edition contains all original 25 color images, and the special bonus image created for the books 100th edition in 1876.

Impact on me

This book is weird and creepy and it scared me to death when I was given a copy as a young girl. Strangely though, it fascinated me, and I read it over and over again. My favourite of these stories was called Harriet and the matches. I found it as a Youtube video:

If you listened to this video, you will understand what I mean by weird and creepy and why this scared a small girl of about eight years old. What were my parents thinking? Well, my dad had this book when he was a young boy so why would he think it was an odd choice of gift for his daughter who loved to read. Maybe this book is the reason I can think of such spooky and creepy stories now that I am an adult.

Would you give this book to your child? Let me know in the comments.

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64 thoughts on “#Openbook – My favourite childhood book

    1. I have noticed that the US has different children’s books. That makes sense to me and I have discovered dozens of new children’s books through the many American book reviewers. Struwwelpeter is quite famous but is also controversial due to the nature of its stories.

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  1. I think those stories were meant to stop children from doing things that would harm them, like playing with matches. But I’m glad I didn’t read them as I would have had nightmares for years!bIt is funny how certain stories can make an impact on a child. It is no wonder you enjoy baking after reading the Mary Poppins Cookbook. I think Pollyanna was one that impacted my life. Her ability to play the glad game and look at things in a positive way made a huge difference to me. I still play the glad game!

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    1. The Pollyanna series was amazing, Darlene. I also loved the film with Hayley Mills. My MIL was horrified when I found Struwwelpeter on Amazon an bought a copy to read to my kids. I did read them to Greg and perpetuated the cycle of passing it on [smile]. It is a fascinating book.

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    1. I am glad this interested you. I also read Fattipuffs and Thinifers, Helter Skelter [the Charles Manson story], I am David and The Diary of Anne Frank when I was 10 years old. All great and informative books you son may enjoy in due course. Michael loves Fattipuffs and Thinifers.

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  2. Must confess, I’ve never heard of ‘Der Struwwelpeter’ – but it looks and sounds fascinating! I think my favourites in he under-10 group were probably W E Johns and CS Lewis. Oh – maybe Arthur Ransome. And the Famous Five before that. And ‘Ladybird’ history books!

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  3. I’d not heard of the Mary Poppins cookbook and don’t recall my sister having it, but we did have Der Struwwelpeter, which I also found odd! At that age I was working my way through Capt. W.E.Johns Biggles books, and the Jennings and Darbishire books by Anthony Buckeridge. Boy/girl stereotyping from an early age!

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    1. Hi Clive, I also read and loved Biggles. I don’t know Anthony Buckeridge but I will look him up. I preferred books for boys and read Just William, The three investigators, The Hardy boys and the adventure books by Willard Price.

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      1. Hi Robbie. I read a few of the Just William books too, but not the others you mention. Jennings and Darbishire books are set in a boarding school, with lots of scrapes and jolly japes. They kept me happy when I was about 8 😉

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  4. That video was so creepy, I’m glad I didn’t read the book. I was afraid of matches anyway and went into a panic when Mum and Dad were trying to teach me to safely light the gas rings on the cooker!

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  5. I hadn’t heard of either one. My parents used to read Grimm’s Fairy Tales to me. The originals had much scarier endings than the sanitized versions of today — or even what you could buy in the bookstore (mind you from an American perspective). I have no idea where my parents got that book of scary tales. It was destroyed in the 1967 Food, and I didn’t think of it again until I encountered the book at a local used book sale and went “What, these aren’t the endings in the modern books?” Sure enough. The stories are a lot better in the original version. A little scarier, but just overall better.

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    1. I also read Grimms [the originals] and read them to my sons. Hans Christian Anderson’s tales are also scary. The Little Match Girl made me cry buckets. My favourite was The Elvin Mound with the elves with hollow backs. Creepy!

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    1. I loved Beatrix Potter especially the story of Two Bad Mice. I loved Hunka Munka and Tom Thumb. I also read Grimms and was so scared by Blue Beard. I think children need to experience all sorts of things in life. If you shelter them to much they can’t cope when things go wrong in life.

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      1. I agree Robbie…I was reading Dennis Wheatly and Black Magic by 10 years old and loved it…Do love sound of the two books you mentioned and will try to get them….I am sure Strewwelpeter will provide a timely message …Kids need that…xxx

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  6. My girls would have loved that Mary Poppins book!
    As to creepy…my older daughter’s favorite story was “Hansel and Gretel”. Children do not benefit from sanitizing life. (K)

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      1. So did I. Also I read that they are not ‘diverse’ enough in today’s multi-cultural society. Again… so what? Kids don’t care I’m sure – they’re more interested in the adventure stories rather than the nationalities of the characters. Adults have interfered in what are basically children’s books.

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  7. The first one sounds like a lot of fun, but I think the second one would give me nightmares, LOL.
    Although I have to say the cover (of Der Strewwelpeter) would make me want to peek inside!

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    1. I don’t remember being unduly scared by Der Strewwelpeter, Mae. I think I took the lessons in my stride. I found the stories darkly fascinating. The video I shared here is much creepier because of the voice of the reader.

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  8. I think some people will always be able to handle the darkly fascinating better than others naturally. I’ve really enjoyed this post, and the topic in general. It’s added some books to keep an eye for!

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  9. I’m not surprised to learn that one of the books that had most impact on you as a child was a book with recipes. I wonder how many will say the same of your books in the future.

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