Charlotte’s Web and Kipper’s Party

The books that lined our primary school shelves,

Stickered with their reading levels

Like a rainbow ladder leading to the library

Where picture books will fade away

And books with words alone will dominate,

Opening the gates of love, of hate

And every shade of hot emotion

Burned into the page.

When you are at Primary School, here in the UK, we begin our reading journey with books that belong to a series called the Oxford Reading Tree. They are predominately about a family of five who live with their dog Floppy.

I remember the first day that I was allowed to go and pick up the first book and take it home to read to my mum. It was the first book in the series and it was called Kipper’s Party. It was literally the most exciting moment in my life at aged four and a half, and that love for reading has never really left me.

Every step along the way has felt equally as exciting and I still feel sentimental whenever I come across any of those old books from my childhood.

When I was seven I progressed to the ‘real’ books that weren’t full of pictures and it was Charlotte’s Web that catapulted me into this new world. I had to read a section for my SATS when I was in Year 2 and I was hooked so I had a copy bought for me during the summer holidays.

Every so often I stumble across one of these books in the library or a charity shop and it just reminds me of the magic of those early reading days. When I find them my heart actually beats faster and I feel a bit like I’m coming face to face with an old boyfriend who I never really got over.

Here’s to the books that will always have a special place in our lives.

Much Love

Rachel xx

4 thoughts on “Charlotte’s Web and Kipper’s Party

  1. Margot Kinberg

    There’s a special place in our hearts, I think, for those books we loved as children, Rachel. I even have a few books that I loved in childhood, and that was a long time ago! Those books are our steps into reading, and they remind us of easier times, so they’re comforting, too, at least I think so.

  2. clcouch123

    You’re right, these books are evocative. I was not at all a smooth reader, and I always seemed to retain the wrong things for school. To enjoy reading was hard-won. The Hardy Boys books helped. So did Verne’s A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. I guess maybe you can come across your books rather frequently, since you’re at a school.

  3. Greg Dennison

    Yes 🙂

    Are the works of Beverly Cleary popular in the UK? She is most well known for the Ramona series and the Henry Huggins series (which overlapped and were set in the same neighborhood, in Portland, Oregon, USA), although she wrote a lot of standalone titles as well. Henry was her first recurring character, introduced in the 1950s, and after a few books about Henry and his classmates, she wrote a spinoff book starring one of the classmates dealing with an annoying little sister. The little sister, Ramona, became her most popular character and got something like eight more books of her own. I have an autographed first edition copy of one of them somewhere back at my parents’ house. Her books were mostly for children and preteens old enough to read books with paragraphs and chapters, and I read a lot of them at that age.

    A couple years ago, I was on a Wikipedia rabbit trail and looked up something about Ms. Cleary and was surprised to discover that she was still alive at the time. Although I’m far beyond that target age today, it would be fun to go back and reread some of those someday. She was known for being one of the first authors to write about ordinary children and ordinary situations that children could relate to. She passed away in 2021, a few weeks before she would have turned 105. (My grandmother, who was also in triple digits but not quite that old, died right around the same time, within a few days of Ms. Cleary.)

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