My childhood dreams have come to life

I read a few chapters to the kids each night and, I swear, there are only so many time I can revisit The Wishing Chair. Lovely as it is. But finding something else everyone agrees upon can be tricky.

I headed to the attic the other night in search of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Probably not entirely appropriate for a seven-year-old, but I was getting desperate.

I couldn’t find it so I returned with Swiss Family Robinson. I met with some initial resistance, but once I started reading they were hooked. A little too hooked, unfortunately. The eldest took it to bed with her and inhaled the rest that night.

So I searched again and found Anne of Green Gables. The Anne of Green Gables series was my absolute favourite when I was a tween. I had every single book and I loved that it had a redheaded sharp-witted heroine. (I think that bit’s proving a hit with my tawny eldest too.)

Prince Edward Island, where Anne lived, also took on magical properties in my mind.

It’s filled with vivid, beautiful passages such as: “The “Avenue,” so called by the Newbridge people, was a stretch of road four or five hundred yards long, completely arched over with huge, wide-spreading apple-trees, planted years ago by an eccentric old farmer. Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom. Below the boughs the air was full of a purple twilight and far ahead a glimpse of painted sunset sky shone like a great rose window at the end of a cathedral aisle.”

And: “A huge cherry-tree grew outside, so close that its boughs tapped against the house, and it was so thick-set with blossoms that hardly a leaf was to be seen. On both sides of the house was a big orchard, one of apple-trees and one of cherry-trees, also showered over with blossoms; and their grass was all sprinkled with dandelions. In the garden below were lilac-trees purple with flowers, and their dizzily sweet fragrance drifted up to the window on the morning wind.

“Below the garden a green field lush with clover sloped down to the hollow where the brook ran and where scores of white birches grew, upspringing airily out of an undergrowth suggestive of delightful possibilities in ferns and mosses and woodsy things generally. Beyond it was a hill, green and feathery with spruce and fir; there was a gap in it where the gray gable end of the little house she had seen from the other side of the Lake of Shining Waters was visible.

“Off to the left were the big barns and beyond them, away down over green, low-sloping fields, was a sparkling blue glimpse of sea.”

I was desperate to see it.

Being waaaaay pre-internet days, the only thing at my disposal was an encyclopedia, which had perhaps one unsatisfactory pic. So I was left with my imagination, which fell in love.

Reading the pages again, I’ve been entranced all over. But this time I have Google.

Welcome to Green Gables …


And Charlottetown …

And Avonlea …

And the red cliffs …

And the countryside …


And general loveliness …


Isn’t it gorgeous? And so’s the book. I thoroughly recommend it, even for kids who go to bed afterwards to read books about skeleton detectives.

What was your favourite childhood book?

8 thoughts on “My childhood dreams have come to life

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  1. I remember a teacher reading us Uncle Gustav’s Ghosts in primary school chapter by chapter and us being enraptured. Can’t recall a single detail now except the title.

  2. Thanks for these glorious pictures of Anne’s world. I loved Anne of Green Gables – but have to admit I never read the books – everything I know about Anne/Green Gables etc is from the 1980s TV mini-series! Loved that. My favourite books as a child were Pippi Longstocking, The Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five, and Milly Molly Mandy.

  3. Fantastic. Others that were hits with my children at that age were Wizard of Oz, Little House in the Big Woods, Indian in the Cupboard, Pippi Longstocking, Milly Molly Mandy, Ramona and other Enid Blyton series, eg, the dreadfully un-PC Galliano’s Circus, the Naughtiest Girl in the School etc etc.

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