Top Ten Tuesday is a post type that combines lists with the love of literature. It was started by The Broke and The Bookish and I learned about it from my friend Regitze over at Bookish Love Affair and I decided to join in on this trend. I know that I will not always be able to come up with ten answers so I will just refer to it as Top Tuesday.
I will do Top Tuesday every other week and in the weeks inbetween I will do Tag Tuesday where I take a tag from Book Blogs or Booktube and answer it, whether I have been tagged or not – though I would prefer the former.
This week the topic is *drum roll*
Top Ten Childhood Favourites
Some of these will be quite obscure seeing that I am Danish and didn’t exactly read English books back then
1. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
I read the first Harry Potter book at the age of 11 (I define childhood as 0-12), after having been given it as a gift by my grandpa. This is so high on my list for one simple reason: This book made me read. Up until then I had mostly been interested in comics, but this book opened the world of literature for me. If it hadn’t been for this book, I would not be studying Comparative Literature today. My grandpa died last spring and my mom reminded me after his death that he was the person who gave me my first real book, meaning that his passing all of a sudden had a much deeper effect on me.
2. The Gondolier’s Cat by William Corlett
I have loved cats as long as I remember so a book about black scruffy cat trying to impress a finer cat who belongs to the daughter of the doge in Venice was just my thing. The daughter of the doge gets kidnapped – wrapped in a carpet – during a raid by a band of robbers and the gondolier’s cat is the one who saves the day by crossing the channel in a few leaps and ringing the church bells alarming the guards. The gondolier ends up marrying the doge’s daughter and his cat gets together with her cat.
The art of this thing, made by Krystyna Turska is still one of my favourite things to this day, because it is so expressive and vivid. I have always been a very visual child – which probably explains why I stuck to comics and picture books for so long – and this just fuelled my desire to create art even more.
3. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa
Kind of cheating a bit with this one, because I did not read the full book of these stories until I was 21. But in Denmark we have a Donald Duck comic magazine released once a week, which I spent a lot of my childhood reading. It would have several different stories of the citizens in Duckburg and they were done by a variety of different artists. My favourite ones were the ones done by Don Rosa. I remember reading the ones about Scrooge McDuck as a child, and even though I did not read all of them back then, because I did not get all the coherent magazines, I found out I had read well over half of them, when I read a collector’s album at the age of 21.
4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
My parents got me an illustrated Danish version of this one when I was quite young and I really loved it. I love anthropomorphic animals, what can I say? And who does not love the classic stories about Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad and all the other creatures of the English nature?
Given, the version I got was a shortened picture book version made for smaller children and I have yet to read the real one. But we are talking about childhood favourites and this is the one that was a part of my childhood.
5. Kaskelotternes Sang by Bent Haller
A classic that I think most Danish people around my age have read as a part of their curriculum at some point or another. Either this one or another book by Bent Haller.
The title loosely translates to “The Song of the Sperm Whales” It is a book about a young sperm whale growing up and all the dangers in regards to that, such as pollution, finding food and whaling, and guess who makes a cameo? Moby Dick! Even though he is called Old Dick in this one and seen as this deity that will outlive all other whales
Later it was adapted into a cartoon called Samson & Sally, which took certain liberties on the story while still being quite good. I actually read this as a picture book adaptation of the film before I read the original.
6. Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren
As a Dane with Swedish family this one was inevitable. I read this one several times because Pippi Longstocking was the best. It was not until many years later that I found out exactly how racist this thing is, such as her father being the n**** king despite being white and displaying the natives as quite clueless. But god dammit, this was a big part of my childhood.
And Pippi was just a great role model for me as a child. I love how people are surprised that I am a feminist when I grew up with this character.
7. Fairy Mischief by John Talbot
Trixie, a fairy, gets caught in a piece of gum and has to be helped out by a human girl. She curses gumball machines to never let anyone get the balls with toy pieces. She then tells the human girl about all the different kind of mischievous fairies, such as the ones that makes you trip out of nowhere by tying invisible pieces of thread out in random places.
I love lists and catalogues and I love folklore and fantasy so a book that lists of different kinds of naughty fairies was just the right thing for me.
8. Mis med de blå øjne by Egon Mathiesen
Another Danish classic, this one loosely translating to “Puss with the blue eyes”.
It is a book about a tiny white cat with blue eyes called Mis. Mis is very positive and wants to find the land of the many mice – no, really, that is the name of the country. On the way stuff happens that challenges his positivity such as other cats making fun of him for having blue eyes, but that does not matter to Mis because even if you are different you can still be fully capable of catching mice.
The art of the book is simplistic and cute and it is a good way to teach kids not to let others tell you that you are not worth anything.
9. Pigen med æblekinderne(?) by ?
I have tried to find this book, but it is nowhere on the internet. Maybe one of you know the title and author of it. It is a picture book about a girl who runs away from her mom during a picnic and into the forest, where it suddenly becomes winter. She meets a young woman in a sleigh, I believe she is called Apple Cheek due to the appearance of her cheeks. Apple Cheek tells her that it is always winter in this forest. The sleigh takes them to a lavish house of a family, but this family does not seem to notice them. Apple Cheek tells her what the various members are doing, such as the young daughter hanging halfway out the window to see her sweetheart. After that they leave and the girl is left by the edge of the forest where the summer is back and she returns to her mother and they find a bright red apple that reminds the protagonist of Apple Cheek.
Again one of those books where the art has stuck with me, because it was very impressionistic and realistic, the colour schemes were pleasing to the eye and in general just a book I would repeatedly tell my mom to read with me.
10. Title I can’t remember for the life of me by I dunno
The only reason that this is so low on the list is because I cannot remember the title or the author of it. A couple of siblings goes to a carnival of some sort and find a house of mirrors which turns people into the distortions they see in the mirror. They start to take advantage of this leading to a lot of funny situations and soon their friends catch on and go there as well. Some of the kids start to use the mirrors to cheat at sports and such so the parents tell them to go back to the carnival and turn back to normal, which everyone does…. except for the first pair of siblings who get skating feet and a long arm to throw snowballs with. Their parents tell them to go back and change, but the carnival has closed for the season so they have to stay like that all winter. The end.
I remember borrowing this from my school library for a month straight because I really liked the simple premise and the magical nature of it. I think this might have let to my love of Terry Pratchett later in my life.
What are some of your childhood favourites?