Reliving through reading
Cath Jenkin discovers old favourites while reading with her daughter.
(Diane Cassells)
There are a few things my parents left as their legacy. Aside from their material possessions and piles of letters, they instilled in me a love of reading from a young age.

As my daughter is fast accelerating in her learning process, I see now how her favourite things are reading and mathematics. I’ve no idea where she got her love for numbers from, but her love of words…I know, that comes from me.

It is with great gusto that we’ve moved on from the typical ‘first reader’ books and begun to leap into the more complex, longer books. These are the books that laid the foundations for my imagination. They have lived on in my heart and mind long after I finished their final pages. And now, I have the pleasure of reliving these stories all over again.

We’ve recently started the ever-popular Enid Blyton trilogy of The Faraway Tree. This trilogy begins with The Enchanted Wood, unravels The Magic Faraway Tree and then tells us all about The Folk of the Faraway Tree.

As we began the first book, I immediately felt transported back to the time in my life where my imagination rose to the fore. It is that very time in my life that led me to read more, write and not be afraid of the monsters who have sometimes rented space in my head.  

As we’ve turned over the chapters, I’ve rediscovered the charming characters of Moon-Face, Silky and of course, Mr Watzhisname. I’ve giggled quietly over the now politically corrected names of Rick and Frannie (formerly Dick and Fanny) and been swept up into a sea of soft words, as they explore the lands that magically appear at the top of the tree.

I’ve noticed the power of these books, as she leans back and listens whilst we read the pages. She’ll giggle at the characters’ antics, ponder about the scenery and excitedly exclaim over events in the book.

Maybe it’s the look my daughter gets on her face while we read. Perhaps it’s the funny voices we invest into each character. It could be that beautiful tapestry of words that were pieced together so long ago by an author. No matter the source, I see her imagination growing as we wind our way through the first book. My heart is springing to action as I think about all the happiness I felt as I read this little trilogy, and as my parents read it to me.

Reading has, for the most part, been a bedtime experience in our house. Even on the most fraught days, we try to just get a little reading time in, at the least. In the last year though, I’ve seen her concentrate more on it, be excited by words and finally, finally, become what I like to call “a reader”.

I can’t wait for the next chapter to begin!

What are your children's favourite books?

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