What do you buy for kid's who have everything? If they've already got the Xbox, Wii and scooter why not try a present that will fire kid's imaginations and engage their hearts and minds. I have chosen five classic children's books that inspire and keep improving with age. Delight your kids, with these gems this Christmas. You won't be disappointed and neither will they with books that have withstood the test of time, being read to generations of children.
These books (and movies) aren't in any order, all can be obtained on Amazon and all have been made into films many of which can be located on YouTube, rented from your local video store or bought online.
The Lost Thing
The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan is a beautifully poignant story. Tan's pictures are absolutely amazing. Surreal and out of this world The Lost Thing is a picture book for younger children exploring the universal idea of belonging. Also made into a short film (that runs for 15 minutes) this work won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The Soundtrack is beautiful and it is narrated by Tim Minchin. One of the directors of the film was Shaun Tan himself - the film has retained the vibe and look of the book. The movie can be viewed in it's entirety on YouTube.
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree was a book I was given as a child. Written by Shel Silverstein in 1964, like The Lost Thing, The Giving Tree can be bought on Amazon. Shel Silverstein is most well known for this work which has been translated into thirty languages. The story is about a self-sacrificing tree that gives to his 'child' a young boy who has a relationship and bond with the tree. Spike Jonze in 2010 reinterpreted the story in the film, 'I'm Here" can be viewed in full on YouTube. Shel Silverstein has written several children's books including the Missing Piece and The Light in the Attic if you want to explore some of his other writing.
The original Secret Garden book cover
The Secret Garden originally published in 1910 is a novel, it is for children who are that little bit older as it is a relatively long read. This book is enchanting and magical and has been made into a magnificent film made in 1993 which stars Maggie Smith. The story is centred around a sickly child who discovers a 'Secret Garden' which has a transforming effect upon her.
Roald Dahl a perennial favourite of mine and many has sold over 37 million copies of his books worldwide. Matilda (with illustrations by Quentin Blake) is the story of a young girl who lives with her horrible parents is a gorgeous book about a prodigious child who overcomes the gruesome Headmistress Mrs Trunchbull and her parents to become head mistress of Year Six! The film, Matilda (1996) was directed and starred Danny Devito and his wife Rhea Pearlman.
Matilda book cover
Last but definitely not least is my favourite the Magic Faraway Tree written by Enid Blyton first published in 1943 the book was preceded by the Enchanted Wood. The book's main characters, Jo, Bessie Fanny and Dick ( the names have been changed in the modern version) play in the Magic Faraway Tree in which they enter different worlds like Topsy Turvey World and the Land of Spells. The magical characters in this book - Silky, Moonface and Saucepan Man are truly magic and the worlds which the children enter and inhabit are really entertaining.