Where the Wild Things Live

Back in Timemares and me

This photo is forty odd years old, I’m the one with the severe bowl cut and the very, very puffy sleeves. My younger sister will probably kill me, if she ever decides to read my blog, for putting this little beauty up. I could not resist, as today I went back in time. I thought about my passion for reading, it has been with me all my life. As a child you would find me with my nose in a book, more often than not.

My sister and I were shy creatures, even though we were from a big family of nine children. If somebody turned up at the door, I would scuttle off to my room and wait to see who it was before I decided whether I wanted to say hello. The local newspaper photographer was in the area on that particular day. He noticed the children playing in the buttercups and tried to get our attention. I can’t remember if this picture ever went in the newspaper. I think he had a hard time getting a smile and in the end, the boy next door came over to play, he owned a giant grin and the photographer used him instead. We were far too busy playing with the flowers, or dreaming up mermaid stories to accommodate the pestering stranger.

My daughter asked me after looking at this old photo (as she called it) “What were you reading at my age Mum?” I told her I was probably reading Alice in Wonderland and that things were very different for ten-year-old’s back then. My appetite for reading fantasy grew and never stopped growing. I told her that children today are so  lucky to have Harry Potter, I would have adored those books at that age. I added that we did not have the luxury of choice, or the option to see the movies first. She is far more advanced in what she reads than I, at the same age.

If I went even further back I recall my weekly visit to the library, it was like going to Disneyland for me. Well not quite, after I actually went to Disneyland, but I told my daughter it all started at the library. I still get excited when I go with the children, the library has a distinct book smell that I use to love as a kid and still do, forever the bookworm.

My love for picture books like Where the wild things are by (Maurice Sendak), will never leave me, I guess it is because of the adventures I set out on. I use to imagine my bedroom would turn into the forest at night and I could sneak a peek at the monsters, not get as close as Max, but close enough to see them for real. Those pictures are still some of my favourite illustrations and probably the reason I started drawing in the first place.

As I went into adulthood my hunger for reading never slowed and I still read every night and usually have about three books on my bedside table. Our children, especially my daughter loves books.

When they were babies I made sure I read to them every night at bedtime, mostly I started with the classics from The very hungry caterpillar to Dr Sues and the forever brave  Pippy Longstocking.

I still collect picture books, it’s a passion of mine, due to appreciating the illustrations and my back ground in Graphic Design, it inspires me to think about my picture book ideas.

The one thing that I realised in my conversation about reading with my daughter was that she is reading the classics, The Lord of the Rings and Narnia, along with the popular fiction of today. She swears the classics are some of the best stories she has ever read. After finishing the Hobbit she handed it to my Mother, her Nan and said “You really should read this Nan, you will love Smeagle.”

My Mother replied “I’m in my seventies and I think it’s about time I did.” She is also a passionate reader. One memory I will cherish is when the Hobbit came out at the movies. We had three generations, my daughter, my sister, my Mother and me sitting together and enjoying a timeless story.

So I guess children today are not that different to us, when we were kids. They still cheer for the hero and hope the evil villain gets what he or she deserves. They still play make-believe games with mermaids and dragons and sit in the fields and play among the buttercups with their siblings and cousins.

What is your favourite children’s book the one that opened your eyes to reading or actually wanting to write. I would love for you to share your memories here.

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About Minuscule Moments

Everybody has a DREAM. Today is the first day of the rest of my writing life. Its a lonely world out there when you are learning the craft. This year, as the same as last year, I want to finish my first children's picture book. I have learn't many wonderful lessons on this journey. You are never too old to learn.
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38 Responses to Where the Wild Things Live

  1. Lotta Wanner says:

    What a wonderful post! To me you bring back memories of King Arthur and the Knights of th Round Table among many others! The picture is really beautiful!

  2. lmccy says:

    Lovely concept.

  3. Like you I was an avid reader, although I don’t remember what I read as a child–I did love mythology.

  4. Such a beautiful post, and I love that picture of you and your sister!

    I love Babar the Elephant; I adored the illustrations, the cursive writing, and how elephants were just as human as, well, humans. I think I get my dramatics leanings from Babar; plenty of angst in those stories. But a great deal of compassion and courage. I need to pick them up for my nieces and nephew. Every child should have a book about an elephant in a green suit! 🙂

  5. the Chronicles of Narnia-all seven books are still my favorite. And I read to my kids, now my first grandchild at 20 months LOVES books

  6. grovewithin says:

    What a beautiful post and I love your photo! Right away, the book that came to mind that I loved as child was “In a dark, dark room and other scary stories.” Yes, I know, not a typical book for a child. But I loved scaring myself. Great stories and the illustrations were just as scary…at least through the eyes of a child. I just might find that book and blog about it!

  7. I remember the stories and poems of A. A. Milne fascinated me as a very little girl, and I now that I think of it, I’m sure I’ve tried to get that feeling back in some of the things I write. Funny I hadn’t been conscious of that before!

    I also remember thinking I was the only person who REALLY got Alice in Wonderland — and then I grew up and read Martin Gardner’s Annotated Alice, and realized that there was a whole world of people who could read and see into an author’s world — and wanted to, if the book was intriguing enough.

    • Hi Susan
      Thanks for stopping by it is interesting what we remember and what influences our own writing. I loved Alice in Wonderland and imagined what I could do if I could grow very large or very small.

  8. Audrey Chin says:

    Hi there, I left a comment here but it disappeared?

    This is a lovely post Kath. It’s true and open and seems to have hit a note, everyone’s resonating!

    I loved/love picture books. Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Greek mythology especially…

    Who are the 2 bigger girls in the bottom picture?

  9. Hello Audrey, My daughter’s in the pink and her Cousin on a visit from another state, I love this pic and in the future will paint it for my sister, it is so peaceful.

  10. What a precious photo of yourself and your sister! I too was a shy child and kept my head buried in books my whole childhood. And yes, one of my absolute pleasure is reading and I keep books all around the house even in the washroom 😀 My favourite childhood book must surely be The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I loved all her books and was so immersed in the world of pixies, goblins and wishing stones that I actually spent my entire childhood searching for a wishing stone… Which is no surprise then, I grew to like The Hobbit as well later in life. Now don’t you think The Faraway Tree would make an excellent movie? Hopefully one day. So very lovely to read about your childhood and family. My warmest greetings, Sharon

    • Thank you Sharon
      My father wrote a beautiful piece in my daughter’s diary about the shy gentle people, who were placed on the earth to help those who needed some gentle kindness in their lives, you are in that group for sure. I would love to see the Faraway Tree as a movie too. Thanks for stopping by. I adore your writing.

  11. Mame says:

    I could have written this! Well, not really, but Maurice and his Wild Things, and Tolkien, and kids and moms. You’re speaking my language.

    • Hi Mame I enjoyed your rant on reading too, nice to meet other passionate reader’s and writer’s. Thanks for dropping in. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Started following you today.

  12. Della Law says:

    I loved the children’s books ‘Half Magic’ by Edward Eager. They may be a bit dated now but I devoured them as a child growing up in the 50’s.

  13. Lovely post Kath – and that vintage photograph is so beautiful. I have a soft spot for old photographs – I love them more as they age! The oldest photograph I have is a recently discovered photograph of my great-great-grandfather!

    Regarding my favourite book – In the early days, Enid Blyton was one of my favourites. I think I reread St. Clare’s so many times I had the dialogue memorised! And of course, later on in life I discovered Anne of Green Gables and completely fell in love with it – Anne was probably the reason I wanted to become a writer! Because she wanted to be a writer too!

    I’m sure it’s all more complex than that – but even today, I still attribute my love of writing to my beloved, fiesty Anne Shirley! (not sure you’re read that one, but if you haven’t, it’s a wonderful series of books!)

  14. Sheila says:

    Your photo reminds me of Little House on the Prairie. I loved those books and my brother and I both really loved Where the Wild Things Are. We were always quoting that part where Max tried not to make a mess, but there was a storm. Another great one was Harriet the Spy. I went around spying on the neighbors after reading it. That’s really wonderful that three generations of your family could share the Hobbit like that.

  15. Thanks Sheila, so many good memories, I use to watch the series of Little House on the Prairie and only recently discovered their were books. Hope to keep passing the reading gene down the generations. Thank you for stopping by.

  16. Great photo bookends for the piece- enjoyed reading this. I’ve always enjoyed reading, writing and buying books (more than I can read). You’re right that kids these days are much more advanced in what they read. I remember mainly short stories but then thought of Watership Down, what a great book. I read it as an adult though. Talked to a group of young girls (11 yrs) and found out they are all book lovers and we had the grandest time together just talking about books. No generation gap whatsoever, who would’ve thought?

    • Thanks Chief, Wow I love talking to the young and yes I agree it is wonderful when you can reach them through books, thanks for stopping by I Loved your post on the Philippines, very good.

  17. Loved your post, Kath! 🙂 I would have to say the book that made me want to write was “The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe” By C.S. Lewis! 😀 LOVED IT SO MUCH!

    • Devin
      Thanks for stopping by, “The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe” is a favourite in our house too, the children today are lucky they can read the books, watch the DVD’s or play the game on the Wii. My daughter wanted a bow after reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Where would we be without books? I don’t watch TV I read or I write, don’t miss TV at all.

  18. This post is wonderful! It brings back so many memories. I actually have a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” too. There are three books that over the years I have found from my childhood, a particular version of “Cinderella,” and two books called “The Trolley Car Family” and “The Wednesday Witch.” How I lived through these stories. I treasure them. Thank you for sharing, your lovely blog and for following mine.

  19. Aquileana says:

    “I thought about my passion for reading, it has been with me all my life. As a child you would find me with my nose in a book, more often than not”.

    Kath!, Back in time I came across this post and read it … I loved the pic you attached above and share your thoughts regarding the importance of reading, particularly since an early age.
    My favorite book when I was a kid was probably “The Little Prince”.
    Thanks for sharing this post ❤ All the very best to you, Aquileana 😛

  20. Desi Clown says:

    Beautiful post! Brought back memories of when I was an avid reader ‘once upon a time’… Then, LIFE happened and reading got sidelined. Can’t remember the title of the book, but it had a few kittens, a bowl of milk and a generous pig… I think one of the kittens was called “Snowy”. I’m picking up where I left off as far as reading is concerned, this is one habit I definitely want to inculcate… Sorry I haven’t been regular in my comments, my house is getting renovated, and it feels like the inside of a cement truck right now…. wish I could by gas masks somewhere :p

    • Thanks Desi, we just had renovations in my sons room. Im still sneezing and suffering the allergies. Hope it is over quickly. I know there was a time when I was young and busy I stopped reading for a short while.

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