TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
One of my favourite childhood authors died last month. Dick Bruna started writing the Miffy books in the early 1960s but the little rabbit has continued to be adored by children today.
My earliest memory of school was being asked to read Miffy in the Snow to my headmistress. As a reward I was given three gold stars and could choose a huge, glossy, boiled sweet she kept in a large jar on her desk. I do wonder now at the wisdom of offering five-year-olds cavity-inducing choking hazards full of e-numbers.
Last week my Facebook timeline was full of adorable kiddies dressed up as their favourite book characters for World Book Day. Would I have dressed up as Miffy if this event had been around in my day or are there other contenders?
The Cat in the Hat is a favourite World Book Day choice. I loved reading all the Dr Seuss books but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I found it too stressful to think about the mess he created and I longed for the children’s mother to come back early to give Thing One and Thing Two a piece of her mind. Though what was the mother thinking; leaving two young children alone for that length of time with just a goldfish as a babysitter?
I preferred to read Green Eggs and Ham as I could relate to the story of Sam-I-Am trying to ply his peculiar dish onto someone who keeps refusing it. This was not unlike my own mother’s efforts to get my brother to eat vegetables. She didn’t try ‘in a boat’ or ‘with a goat’ but her landscapes of tilled mashed potato fields and forests of peas were certainly impressive.
In the same collection of Beginner Books, Are You My Mother? by PD Eastman told the tale of a little bird who had fallen out of his nest and was searching for his lost mother. Eventually he is scooped up by a digger, aka The Snort, and deposited back in the nest just as his mum returns. I used to cry at this story but now I read it and think, what is it with these irresponsible mothers who keep disappearing?
Another weepy was Charlotte’s Web by EB White, about the little pig, Wilbur, and his spider friend. Despite having a fear of spiders, I remember telling my family, through big gulping sobs, that Charlotte had died. It might not have cured my arachnophobia but from then on I learned to respect the little blighters and I now fling them into the garden using the upturned cup and piece of card method.
So what character would I have chosen for World Book Day? A rabbit in a dress? A lost bird? A clever spider? No, these costumes would be far too complicated. I’d be Darrell Rivers from Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers. School uniform and a lacrosse stick. Job done.
• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk