Christmas Classics you’ve read to you kids – Christine Bongers

Little Golden Books The Night Before ChristmasFellow Boomerang Blogger, Romi Sharp recently congratulated me on hitting my first century. Gob smacked! I mean I don’t even own a cricket bat, let alone know how to hold one. She meant blogs of course. I hardly noticed. They rack up and slip by like birthdays these days. Nonetheless, even numbers deserve celebration (especially ones with many zeros), so while I wait for Boomerang to deliver the gold-embossed book prize and bubbly, I thought I’d pass the time with another lady who knows how to rack em up with infinite style and humour.Chris Bongers 2

Celebrated Brisbane YA and kids’ author, Christine Bongers is no stranger to bedtime reads, having indulged in this past time with her own four children over the years. Today we discover some of the classics the Bongers family pulled out to share together at this time of year. (I’ll go the extra Christmas Bon Bon please Christine – I think it might be a while before the bubbly arrives!)

Christine’s Christmas Classics

Hubba huMother Goosebby and I read to our four kids from the time they were babies: nursery rhymes, Mother Goose, and truck loads of Little Golden Books that we had left over from our own childhoods. I loved picture books – Edwina the Emu and Wilfrid Gordon Macdonald Partridge stand out in my memory – but have to say that our kids were making their own reading decisions by the time they could talk and we had precious little say in the matter!

Wacky Wednesday by Theo LeSieg* celebrateWacky Wednesday

It all began with that shoe on the wall. A shoe on a wall . . . ? Shouldn’t be there at all!
Then I looked up. And I said, “Oh, MAN!”
And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.

After twenty-odd years, I can still recite those opening lines from memory. That’s how many times I read this madcap romp to our eldest. Preschoolers love pandemonium and spotting the twenty wacky moments captured in New Yorker cartoonist George Booth’s illustrations never got old for the wacky funster in our family.Wacky Wednesday illo

[*A bonus Christmas bonbon for anyone who recognised author Theo LeSieg as a wacky version of Theodore Geisel – or as he is more commonly known, Dr Seuss!)

 The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Our youngeCaptain Underpants 2st adored Captain Underpants, so good old Santa could be relied on to pop the latest offering into his Christmas stocking each year. By the time he was in Grade Three he had eight volumes jockeying for position on his shelf and I swear by all I hold holy that we read each and every one of them at least one hundred times before he moved on to Harry Potter.

 The BFG by Roald Dahl

Our youngest daughter revelled in Dahl’s subversive tales (particularly Matilda with the eye-wateringly awful headmistress The Trunchbull), but it was the simple giant with the deep insights, dream collecting and jumbled and inventive turn of phrase that she returned to again and again. And why not, I say. What’s not to love about little girls doing great things in league with a giant?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Lion Witch and Wardrobe

This was our big girl’s favourite childhood read ever (along with The Hobbit). Narnia has provided a magical escape, not only for Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, but for children everywhere for more than half a century and its appeal hasn’t diminished with BFG illothe years. As a matter of fact, I’ve just got my hands on a beautiful boxed set – a happy Christmas present for a certain little Lucy in my own extended family. So what books will be in your Christmas stocking this year? 

Good question Christine. How big is my Christmas stocking allowed to be?

I’ll be asking the same thing to other inspiring authors in the next few weeks. Get ready to flex your reading memory muscles.

Add more of Christine’s entertaining work including the recently released gripping YA read, Intruder to your new classics lists by visiting here.

 

Roald Dahl: the BFG (Big Fat Genius)

*Taps pen against chin*

Hmmm.

How to possibly write a post commemorating one of the most amazing authors of all time, that will actually do him justice.

I can’t.

But I can profess my undying love for Roald Dahl, a day AFTER Roald Dahl Day. Yes, dear readers, I was meant to write this post yesterday, 13th September 2010, on RD’s birthday. Life gets in the way, though, and before you know it 24 hours has past and it’s already the 14th. I hope he won’t mind this belated birthday message – from me to him.

Dear Mr R. Dahl,

This is a half-birthday card, half-love letter, from Yours Truly.

Most people will remember you for your awesome children’s books: The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox. I know I always cross the street when I see a woman with ugly square-toed shoes, just in case she is a witch.

And your collaboration with Quentin Blake (aaah! Revolting Rhymes!) is a particular masterpiece I hold close to my heart, long after the primary school memories have faded. I’ve always wondered: how many people WERE disgusted, when Cinderella’s panties busted?

I know, Mr Dahl, that you tried your hand at some more ‘mature’ works, and I’m sure they are very fine. But my very favourite of yours is a lesser-known picture book, gifted to me very young, by my very favourite uncle. The Minpins filled my childhood nights with dreams of finding ripe red strawberries in back woods, in the Forest of Sin. I wished I was Billy, and I wished I had come across those miniature little people and saved them from the hot breath of the Gruncher. I think you must have known that the monsters surrounded by fiery breath (so you can never get a proper view of what they actually look like) are the scariest of all. I always wished for a pet swan like Billy’s, that I could ride on up into the clouds. And I remember how devastated I was the day Billy got too big to be carried by the swan. I guess girls and boys have to grow up sometime. But still, did you have to put that bit in, Mr Dahl?

In short, I think every child should own a copy of The Minpins, and I hope you don’t mind me marketing it so blatantly on my Boomerang Books blog…

Anyway – what I’m trying to say is – you’re the best. Happy birthday, Mr Dahl. Wherever you are. May your endless days be filled with golden tickets, everlasting gobstoppers, swan rides, and the best strawberries you’ve ever tasted, straight from the forest floor.

Lots of love and blue spit, xxxxxx