Home > Uncategorized > Cardiff Children's Literature Festival – What are your favourite childhood novels?

Cardiff Children's Literature Festival – What are your favourite childhood novels?

Cardiff welcomes the third annual Children’s Literature Festival bringing familiar characters, friends and spellbinding tales to venues across the capital.

All Events open to the public here: http://formerly.cardiff.gov.uk/content.asp?nav=2868,6584,6615&parent_directory_id=2865

Twitter: @CDFKidsLitFest

To get into the spirit of things, The Cardiffian revisited their favourite yarns from a misspent youth..


The Hobbit

J R R Tolkien (1937)

Here we meet the characters who will make The Lord of the Rings happen, and on a pre-Peter Jackson scale. If anything, Gollum is even more chilling here, because we see him through the eyes of a hobbit – seldom the calmest of travellers.

Tolkien introduced or mentioned characters and places that figured prominently in his legendarium, specifically Elrond and Gondolin, along with elements from Germanic legend. But the decision that the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings could belong the same universe as The Silmarillion was made only after his initial success and the request by his publisher for a sequel.

Although a fairy tale, the book is both complex and sophisticated: it contains many names and words derived from Norse mythology, and central plot elements from the Beowulf epic, it makes use of Anglo-Saxon runes, information on calendars and moon phases, and detailed geographical descriptions that fit well with the accompanying maps.




The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C S Lewis (1950)

Welcome to the magical land of Narnia, where the White Witch reigns over a snow-girt land peopled by fawns, talking beavers and people eager to put their trust in four kids from Finchley. The Christian allusions come later, but for children this is pure narrative magic.



James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl (1961)

One of Dahl’s earliest, best, and most fully developed tales. There is no attempt to make the giant insects or articulate clouds seem natural: this is a world of wonder and dreams. It could be more marvellous than Wonka’s, even.



The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame (1908)

The idyllic, stylised account of life on the river, with anxious glimpses beyond it, is a masterclass in character-driven comedy – alongside the arriviste Toad is the petit bourgeois Mole, and Rat, the gentleman of leisure.



Jungle Book 

Rudyard Kipling (1894)

The tales in the book are beautiful fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or “heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle.” Other readers have interpreted the work as allegories of the politics and society of the time.The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of an abandoned “man cub” Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other stories are probably “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story of a heroic mongoose, and “Toomai of the Elephants”, the tale of a young elephant-handler. As with much of Kipling’s work, each of the stories is preceded by a piece of verse, and succeeded by another.


The Cat In the Hat

Dr Seuss (1957)

It’s a rainy day and Dick and Sally can’t find anything to do … until the Cat in the Hat appears out of nowhere and turns their dreary afternoon into a fun filled extravaganza!  Featuring timeless characters such as Fish, Thing 1 & 2 – this book is a fixture in home and school libraries and a favourite amongst parents, teachers, beginning teachers and librarians.



Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll ( 1865)

Alice sits on a riverbank on a warm summer day, drowsily reading over her sister’s shoulder, when she catches sight of a White Rabbit in a waistcoat running by her. The White Rabbit pulls out a pocket watch, exclaims that he is late, and pops down a rabbit hole.  What follows is one of the most memorable, fantastical tales ever written. Written off as sheer nonsense when written, it has become one of the most popular and endearing children’s books to date.




Disagree? Think we have missed anything out? Leave your comments below!