Emily discovered Roald Dahl last year (cue air punch!) We’re both hooked. What a reawakening for me and what a revelation for her. I think I’ve been secretly waiting for this moment ever since she was born…
We started with The Magic Finger, then The BFG, and now we’ve hit the crème de la crème egg – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. All of a sudden that 7pm bedtime is creeping closer and closer to 8. ‘One last chapter, sweetheart,’ I fib. But we both know it’ll be at least three before i’m done.
All this got me thinking back to my own childhood, when books were rocket fuel for my overactive imagination. My safe place when things got a bit dicey at school. Now Emily is starting to tap into that magic and what an amazing privilege it is to watch. It’s her first real swipe at independence (because lobbing rice cakes at shoppers in Tesco, aged 2, doesn’t count.)
With World Book Day fast approaching, I’ve decided to write a series of blogs on the unsung heroes of the children’s literary world. The books that get shuffled to one side to make way for the Enid Blyton’s and JK Rowling’s, yet are still powerful and brilliant in their own unique way.
The first is a book that I first read when I was eight years old. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Here’s the blurb: “Published originally in 1941, a young boy, Alec Ramsay, finds a wild black stallion at a small Arabian port on the Red Sea. Between the black stallion and young boy, a strange understanding grows that leads them through untold dangers as they journey to America.”
This book opened my eyes to a world that was so vivid, so unfamiliar; North Africa, desert islands, shipwrecks… I devoured the descriptions and developed a wanderlust. And when I found myself on a film set in Morocco many years later, I couldn’t help hearing this book’s narrative in my head. I’d gone full circle. What I had pictured in my bedroom all those years ago was now colliding with my own career achievments.
There are hundreds and hundreds of books out there for horse-mad girls and boys but not many can compete with this. It’s been out of print for a while but has recently popped back up on Amazon. And guess what… the reviews are cracking.
Do you know the book? Did you love it too? Comment and let me know!