As an Englishman of a 'certain age', I was quite naturally brought-up on a diet of Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, and Hilaire Belloc (amongst others).
The imagery created by Alice and her adventures, Belloc's disobedient children, or Lear's Owl and Pussycat, stay with us for ever. Pre-Disney, the written word prompted our imaginations, much as listening to the Radio did before TV.
Of the above, my favourite has to be Belloc. Who could forget his tales of Charles Augustus Fortescue, of Godolphin Horne, or even poor Jim who was eaten by a Lion (Always keep a hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse).
Contemporary children don't seem to enjoy these stories and poems as we did. I'm sure there are plenty of good alternatives around, but I can't see them having the lasting literary influence of Carroll or Belloc. Disney versions of the classics may be 'easy viewing', but reading the originals is far more enlightening.
Nonsense poems only featured orally in my childhoodReplyDelete
From both my grandmothers
I remember some of them
I expect we all had them read to us originally, before reading them by ourselves. I loved them.Delete
Yes, I was a lover of these poets and they featured highly in my school.ReplyDelete
I loved listen to short radio plays when I was small. In the winters my father would light the fire, turn down the lights, and we'd listen to some 30 min play on The Home Service. It was wonderful.Delete
I have a vivid memory of listening to Mrs Dales Diary with my mum and brothers while she taught us all to knit.Delete
My memory of Mrs Dales Diary was being put on my potty!Delete
And Children's Hour, reigned over by benign Uncle Mac. Such wonderful serials: The Eagel of the Ninth and The Pirates of the Deep Green Sea.ReplyDelete
I used to listen to 'Listen with Mother'. "Are you sitting comfortably... then I'll begin".Delete
The lion also ate Albert. Didn't the zoo ever feed it?ReplyDelete
Different Lion, different zoo. He ate poor Albert's best Sunday clothes too!Delete
My mother loved Lear and my father often quoted Belloc. Oh, those cautionary tales. Matilda who said such dreadful lies, Henry King who was chewing little bits of string. Delightful.ReplyDelete
I've gone back to read some of their favourites. Thanks to you and the internet
I think Belloc must be one of the most quoted 'poets', for when children are small.Delete
I still enjoy these and you missed out Marriot Edgar.ReplyDelete
Andi's English Attic mentioned him above. Children were obviously often eaten by Lions.Delete
I only knew of the Scot, Edgar because he came from a place with an unpronounceable name (which got me a commendation in class because I could pronounce it) and wrote a poem about the Runcorn Bridge (which is how I came across him).Delete
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Everyone knows it's pronounced as it's spelt like Milngarvie and Strathaven.Delete
This is worth a listen.
Like you, I was brought up on a diet of books and rhymes and, apart from pictures in books, we had to use our imaginations. Now the tv seems to be on constantly with a diet of Pepper Pig.ReplyDelete
I always liked that line 'tuppence, per person, per trip'. As a small boy, it seemed to me like a wonderful use of language.Delete
It's too easy for children today to see everything and know nothing.ReplyDelete
It's frightening how few children read books these days. Maybe reading is no longer necessary.Delete
The arrival of the Harry Potter books boosted children's desire to read a great deal. It's almost a pity they made the films so the coming generations don't need to read the books. There is so much more to absorb from the written version.Delete
Edward Lear is my favourite.
Yes, it's almost a shame that the films were made, although they do seem amazingly popular.Delete
I used to like Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an 'O' by A.A. Milne. :)ReplyDelete
I don't know that one... I'll have to look it up.Delete
I once played Henry King in a School play...chewing string. It was of course red licourice.
But I highly recommend Spike Milligan's nonsense poems 'A Mad Medley of Milligan.' It had me giggling so much in the bookshop, that I had to buy it and dash off home before the other customers thought I was a bit mad.
Red sky at night, shepherd's cottage on fire.Delete
Red sky in the morning, shepherd's cottage still burning.
My son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child and I'm building up my supplies of books to read when that baby gets here. I didn't have time to read that much to my own children since I had, of necessity, to work full-time but I fully intend to make up for all that lovin' when this baby is here by giving him/her the gift of the written word!ReplyDelete
My two favourite children's books (without question) were Pookie by Ivy Wallace, and Ameliaranne Gives a Concert. You'd have to buy very old copies, but they are both memorable; especially Pookie.Delete
Cartoons here tend to be short noisy snippets of manic activity and weak story lines. I think that our children's imaginations are paying for this. This is sad. Imagination formed the foundation of the childhood games that I played with my siblings.ReplyDelete
I totally agree!!!Delete
The short story playful poems stay with us for sure. Sadly, with busy lives they seem not as well known today. A real loss.ReplyDelete
It's those wretched smart phones that changed everything.Delete
Always disliked Alice and Mary Poppins.ReplyDelete
I remember selecting a book of limericks when I won a prize in primary school (For Consistent Conscientious Effort, no less). The nonsense books were on the wane when I was a kid but home fare was a solid diet of my mum's 40s-era childrens' encyclopaedia which were chock full of them.ReplyDelete