To mark National Storytelling Week, we’ve taken a look at some the greatest tales ever told.
National Storytelling Week is running until Saturday - and with so many glorious books available it’s easy to forget some of the children’s favourites of days gone by.
Did you snuggle down with Enid Blyton, or set some time aside for Roald Dahl?
Or were you more of a Mr Men and Little Miss fan?
The week-long celebration aims to preserve the grand old tradition of oral storytelling, and making up stories to pass down through the generations.
Whatever your pick of genre is, there will be some great stories out there for you to share with your little ones.
We take a look at some of the childhood books we loved - what were yours?
Bill’s New Frock - Anne Fine. Bill Simpson wakes up to find his world has changed overnight. And when he heads off to school in his prettiest pink dress, he’s about to discover just how different things are for females.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl. Who didn’t want to win a golden ticket? There was nothing more magical than walking through those factory gates with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, tasting the sweets and exploring the inventing rooms. Bliss!
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant - David McKee. There was something special about this multi-coloured elephant, with an aptitude for jokes! But the picture books had a deeper message about diversity that wasn’t lost on the parents reading the stories.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy - Lynley Dodd. These were pets with personality - and everybody wanted one! We’ve got a soft spot for Schnitzel von Krumm (with the very low tum ...)
Each Peach Pear Plum - Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. A fun story for younger readers, it provides a first glimpse of some classic characters including (you guessed it) Tom Thumb.
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles - Beatrix Potter. In a world where our favourite animals came to life, Ginger and Pickles ran the general store. I don’t think there was one of us who wouldn’t have loved to shop there.
Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling. Okay, hands up. Who is still disappointed that they didn’t get a Hogwarts letter? The world of Harry, Ron and Hermione has provided years of magic for children, teenagers and adults alike - and long may it continue. Rowling changed the world of story time forever when she integrated the wizards into our everyday life. It made it all the more magical.
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman. The fantasy novels enchanted children across the globe as the two protagonists came of age right in front of our eyes.
The Jolly Pocket Postman - Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. This special sequel reached out beyond the pages, and asked eager readers to open the letters held within. We almost felt like we were part of the fairytale.
Kamla and Kate - Jamila Gavin. It was every little girl’s dream to find their best friend, and in reading about Kamla and Kate it felt like we had.
Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien. It was so easy to lose yourself in Middle Earth, you could read this classic without even thinking about it.
The Lottie Project - Jacqueline Wilson. There was always something so relateable about Wilson’s stories. Whether you were struggling with the troubles of becoming a teenager like in the Girls series or coming to terms with your grief (Vicky Angel), the author could reach out to you. The Lottie Project dared us to use our own imaginations too, and see just what we could create with them.
Meg and Mog - Helen Nicoll. We all wanted to fly away with Meg, Mog and friend Owl. Who cares if Meg’s spells sometimes went a bit haywire? You would be having the best time.
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook - Joyce Lankester Brisley. Millicent Margaret Amanda takes us through the usual tales of a young girl growing up. We’re with her as she goes dress shopping (pink and white striped, always), has a sleepover with Little Friend Susan and goes to school.
The Secret Seven - Enid Blyton. Didn’t we all wish our lives were as exciting as those of the Seven?
Sophie - Dick King-Smith. Sophie is one of those special characters, who never quite leaves you. Her adventures and ambitions to become a “lady farmer” gave little girls everywhere an important message to follow their own dreams - and that it was okay if their dreams were different.
St Clare’s - Enid Blyton. Who did you imagine yourself as? Pat and Isabel? Claudine? Bobby? There was something exciting about the idea of attending boarding school - and you couldn’t help put place yourself into the girls’ adventures.
The Story of Babar - Jean de Brunhoff. Originally written in French, Babar’s story was invented by the author for his children. A true example of how a beloved oral story can become something special for thousands.
The Story of Tracy Beaker - Jacqueline Wilson. If there’s anyone we wanted a happy ending for, it was Tracy.
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome. If you were yearning for adventure, there was no better read than Swallows and Amazons. If you imagined hard enough, you could be sailing on the lake with the Swallows, or picnicking with the Blacketts.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter. There’s always one mischief maker in a family! And in this case, it’s Peter. While Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail obey their mother’s orders, we followed the story as naughty Peter went looking for snacks in Mr McGregor’s garden. Eurgh, camomile tea!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle. A favourite with both children and parents, this book has the happiest ending of all as we meet the very beautiful butterfly.
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen. Surely, one of the best books to read aloud? Bundle up your little ones and head off on a fantastic journey to find a bear (and beware the obstacles that stand in your way).
What Do People Do All Day? - Richard Scarry. A busy book full of things to do, see and learn - what better way to get a first taste of an out-and-about life.
Winnie the Witch - Valerie Thomas. A witch, she may be, but she’s anything but scary! The loveable witch made us giggle by getting into all sorts of mishaps with pet cat Wilbur.
The Witches - Roald Dahl. We’ll admit, when the witches take off their wigs and kick of their shoes, we may have been a little scared. But if one brave boy can take on all of the witches in England, we can be brave too!
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum. If there had been just one morning where we woke up in Oz, we would have been happy! But we suppose we’ll settle for following Dorothy’s adventures from afar.