I've been transported back to my childhood years this afternoon scrolling through the thousands of tweets in response to the hashtag 'favourite childhood book'.
Amongst the tweets a few of my favourites jumped out at me: James & the Giant Peach, The Hungry Caterpillar and Bear Hunt to name a few. However, no one seemed to mention my absolute favourite which was of course the Milly-Molly-Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Perhaps this is because the original books date back to 1928, even though these were being read to me by my Dad in the late 90s.
Looking back the stories were beautifully simple, as most children's books are. The Milly-Molly-Mandy series described the everyday adventures of a little girl named Millicent Margaret Amanda, nicknamed Milly-Molly-Mandy as her full name was thought to be too long. The character's most memorable features had to be her pink and white striped dress, and the fact that she lived in "the nice white cottage with the thatched roof", and these features were always described just so, with no need for any more detail.
Another characteristic of the books which kept me begging my Dad to read to me every night was the illustrations. Only every few pages as to not ruin the magic; I always looked forward to my Dad reading a page to me that had an accompanying picture.
I couldn't have described these wonderful stories better myself when Lucy Mangan wrote in The Guardian: "each story is a miniature masterpiece, as clear, warm and precise as the illustrations by the author that accompanied them."