i read an article on shirley hughes the other day. can you believe that alfie (her main character in over 50 books) is 30 years old? i am a sucker for her books. would they be so appealing if they were not illustrated so beautifully? probably not but the stories all have a lovely message. i loved reading these books to my boys and norman's local bookshop has a good collection in stock now. why did i get rid of or give away so many books? especially these classics (too many hobbies fair's at the prep school). why do i love these stories of perfect families so much? not all children are as lucky as alfie (to live with his mother, father and baby sister annie rose) or in a lovely little cottage like milly-molly-mandy. these stories, i think offer comfort for every child (or mother) to know that such a world exists (or can exist or did exist). alfie is an ordinary child but his kind character comes through strongly in all the books. alfies mother looks permanently tired and crumpled. i remember alfie getting new boots around the same time as gareth got his first new red wellies. do you remember alfie being nervous about going to his first birthday party? (do you remember how awful it was to drag a child to a party that he did not want to go to, or when you had to wake him up from a sleep to go to a party and he would sit on your lap the entire afternoon). i also remember hauling the book out when mandy our dog died - can't remember the title but alfie was so sweet when his neighbours dog died.
shirley hughes was born in 1927, she started off in fashion design and in 1950 started illustrating children's books. in 1960 she wrote her first book "lucy and tom's day".
this book i recall reading to my brother. yesterday after buying myself (or a niece or nephew or grandchild or godchild) an (another) alfie book (alfie gets in first) i re-read it and it brought back all kinds of memories. alfie has not grown at all, the house has not dated and his clothes still look like any little boys clothes would look. and his mother is still tired and crumpled.
how many do you remember?