The idea is that whoever gets handed the baton has to write a blog post naming 6 of their favourite books, and linking one kind of chocolate to each book. Mine are all children’s books, some quite ancient and falling to bits now. Eileen’s own chocolate choices can be found on http://childhoodbooks.weebly.com
First on my list is The River at Green Knowe by Lucy M Boston.
It’s one of a fantastic series – the first one, The Children of Green Knowe, was televised years ago but the others aren’t so well known (known – see what I did there? Nobody would ever guess this was being written at six in the morning, would they?) Anyway, Lucy Boston’s books are set in the oldest inhabited house in Britain. It’s The Manor House at Hemingford Grey, Cambs, and you can actually go there – you have to make an appointment but it’s just like walking into the story.
Lucy bought the place in a state of extreme disrepair (which is a story in itself, and told in her autobiography Memories in a House) and set about putting it back to its former glory. Then she wrote her books; tales of ghosts, friendship, adventures and memories. The river runs very close to the house – it’s almost on an island, especially when the floods come up – and this book is a magical insight into what happens when you give three inquisitive children a lot of freedom and a small boat.
Their chocolate award is the Bounty bar – not the high seas and coconut islands this time, but plenty of wild water-based fun.
Second on the list is Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright.
Again, this is part of a series – this time about the feisty Melandy family who have left New York City to live in a rambling old house in the countryside. Oliver and Randy (really Miranda, I don’t think the word ‘randy’ has quite the same meaning over the pond, somehow) are left behind when the older children go to boarding school but someone has understood how lonely they will feel and has set a treasure trail that last right until the summer holidays and ends in … but you need to read it for yourself.
The chocolate that goes with this one is the Hershey Bar, for the American link. I’ve never tried one, but I will one day.
Next comes another old favourite, Holiday at the Dewdrop Inn by Eve Garnett, the last one of the Ruggles family series (they’re known as The Family from One End Street in her previous books.)
City bred, Kate Ruggles had never visited the country until a bout of measles hit her brothers and sisters and the younger ones were sent to recuperate. In this book, Kate is invited back to The Dew Drop Inn for a proper holiday and throws herself into village life with great gusto, happily learning about farm animals, flowers and all things rural and getting into all sorts of minor feuds. The illustrations of the skinny, slightly tatty-looking children are wonderful too. You keep wanting to pull their socks up for them.
Kate’s chocolate has to be Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – the picture of the glasses of milk is so wholesome and she might even have milked those cows herself.
Then comes Mrs Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald, a story of a woman with such a big heart that she can’t resist opening her crazy, topsy-turvy house to all the local children.
Of course, they love this – cakes, cuddles and a listening ear at all times. But sometimes the children have problems and their parents soon get to hear about Mrs Piggle Wiggle’s gift for putting things right and come to ask her advice. A quirky, heart-warming read; I’ve loved this book since I was very young.
Mrs Piggle Wiggle’s chocolate theme is a Wonka Bar – lots of children everywhere, just like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Snotty Bumstead by Hunter Davis is my next choice.
Snotty is left alone at home when his mother is unavoidably detained by her high-powered and secret job. This turn of events doesn’t worry Snotty at all – he sets about turning his house into an adventure playground for himself and his two sidekicks. All is well – he manages to keep fed and reasonably clean and life is lots of fun – until the powers that be begin to suspect that Snotty isn’t being properly looked after. I’ve used this book in school often. Children love the anarchy and love to imagine what real freedom would be like. It also makes them think about the good parts of being well looked after!
Snotty’s chocolate is the Crunchie bar, because he lives his whole life as if it’s a Thank Crunchie it’s Friday moment.
Lastly, I’ve chosen Angela and Diabola by Lynne Reid Banks.
Again, this is one that I’ve shared with quite a few classes over the years. Twins are born to a previously contented couple and life changes very suddenly. One baby is beautiful, blonde and sweet natured, the other one is the spawn of the devil. ‘Diabola’ cries the priest baptising the second baby as he looks into her angry, glittering eyes, and Angela’s twin is forever known as this. Her character lives up to the satanic name and the events that follow are funny but intensely disturbing as the story develops.
The chocolate for this one can only be Black Magic!
So, these are my choices – thanks for tagging me, Eileen, it was great fun!