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state library of queensland

Behind the scenes: What Katy read

By Administrator | 4 May 2016

While assisting library visitors to locate some children’s books, I realised that our children's collection contains some classic titles that I have always wanted to read (or re-read). So I decided to escape from modern life and spend a few hours delving into these captivating books.

I started with Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter, a book about a young girl whose sunny disposition is something my colleagues think that I can learn from!

Next I enjoyed Heidi by Johanna Spyri, a book that I had read several times in my younger years, but which is always enjoyable to re-read. Maybe one day I will be able to visit the Swiss mountains where this enchanting book is set, and indulge my passion for cheese fondue.

Pastures of the blue crane by HF Brinsmead brought me much closer to home, being largely set in the farming district surrounding Murwillumbah, with the occasional trip to Coolangatta and Brisbane. Aimed at slightly older readers than Pollyanna or Heidi, it is one of the first books I read about places that I recognised.

Pastures of the blue crane by HF Brinsmead. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

Pastures of the blue crane by HF Brinsmead. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

Re-reading Pastures of the blue crane led me to other HF Brinsmead books in our collection, including Longtime passing and Christmas at Longtime, based on the author’s childhood in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

I was on a roll with Australian authors and re-read Poor man’s orange, The harp in the south, and Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. It is interesting to compare the slum-like Surry Hills of Ruth Park’s novels with modern fashionable Surry Hills of today. To complete my Ruth Park reading, and influenced by younger members of my family, I re-read The muddle-headed wombat – bringing back wonderful memories of the funny antics of the wombat and his friends.

The muddle-headed wombat by Ruth Park. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

The muddle-headed wombat by Ruth Park. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

Next on my list and off the shelf was Peter Pan and Wendy by JM Barrie, which was fun to compare with the movie. I had forgotten just how fearsome those pirates were and how bloodthirsty the fighting was! I particularly enjoyed the charming illustrations by Mabel Lucie Atwell.

Peter Pan and Wendy by JM Barrie. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

Peter Pan and Wendy by JM Barrie. Image of cover by SLQ staff.

Most children’s books are easy and quick for adults to read, so I was able to read many books in a series. It was delightful to re-read some of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – By the shores of Silver Lake, On the banks of Plum Creek, Little house in the big woods and Little house on the prairie – which I originally read before the television series was made in the 1970s and 1980s.

Another series that I enjoyed was The borrowers by Mary Norton, including The borrowers, The borrowers aloft and The borrowers afield. The borrowers were tiny re-cyclers who lived beneath the floorboards and their adventures are always captivating.

SLQ’s collection also includes other wonderful children’s classics such as E Nesbit’s The railway children, Edith Turner’s Seven little Australians, the Narnia books by CS Lewis and Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Visit us and browse through the shelves  to re-discover these gems and find some new favourites.

So, what is on my reading list for the rest of 2016? I now have my sights set on a few “boys’”’ books such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I may even re-visit some of the Biggles books by Captain WE Johns, or Swiss Family Robinson by JR Wyss, or I could tackle Masterman Ready by Frederick Marryat.

Rediscover your inner child with our delightful collection of children’s books – an excellent way to escape and relax.

These titles are available for loan to members, by visiting us or by going to our One Search catalogue and requesting them to be sent to your local public library. Some are also available as ebooks, and can be downloaded through our catalogue.


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Katy Roberts

Library Technician





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