Sunday, 17 January 2010

Old Books

Today we sorted out the children’s bookcases. I hate throwing books away, but it was time to be ruthless. No-one wants to read board books, fabric books or waterproof books anymore; the children are too old and anyway, the books are falling to pieces. Neil and I filled a bin bag with well-loved, well-chewed, well-scribbled-in specimens and made some smaller piles that weren't so grubby to give away to friends with small children. The best part of the throwing away exercise was discovering books which we had forgotten we had.

‘Elbert’s bad word’ for instance: the story of a boy who says a very rude word (no, you never find out what it was!) and shocks everyone into silence at a party. He has to replace the rude word with several marvellous adjectives which he goes on to use next time he needs to express himself loudly. The story of the old lady who swallowed a fly; the same version that they had in my reception classroom in 1980, with a very fat woman gradually filling up with animals through circular holes in the pages. The ‘Pig’s Book of Manners’ in which a boy has such atrocious manners that it takes a pig to teach him to be polite. And some old classics like ‘Hairy Maclary’ and ‘Harry the Dirty Dog’, another classic from my childhood.

For the first time ever there is space on the bookcases in our house. In fact there is a whole empty shelf on one of them. Sad as it was to throw so many old friends in the recycling bin, I’m looking forward to filling the empty space with plenty of new ones in the coming months.

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