Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alfie top 5

A few of us were having a bit of a guessing game in the comments here about which of the Alfie and Annie Rose books by Shirley Hughes are in my top 5. It turns out that one of my top 5 Alfie books, Dogger, isn't actually an Alfie book at all, but I had no trouble coming up with 5 others. I could keep going - top 10, top 15, top 20 (are there that many Alfie books?) - but these are the 5 which create storytime magic for me. Here they are:

Alfie Gets in First
This was the first Alfie book Shirley Hughes wrote. Alfie is horrified to find himself locked in the house with his mum and sister outside. All the passersby try to rescue him, but he eventually (and proudly) rescues himself. It's a beautifully crafted book: on many of the pages, the left hand picture shows what's happening outside the house, while the right hand picture shows what's happening inside the house. A lively story with a subtle message about one preschooler's independence and courage.

A Journey to the North Pole from Alfie Weather
How I love stories (as I've said before) which celebrate a child's imagination! Here's another. The story and pictures have two layers: what's happening in real life, and what's happening in Alfie and Annie Rose's imagination. Shut in during a wet and cold day, they bravely explore Grandma's house until they reach the North Pole in the freezing attic. This is the first story in Alfie Weather, the most beautifully produced of all the Alfie books.

Winter Stars from Alfie Weather
This is from the same Alfie collection. It's a story, as you might guess, about stars: stars scattered across the walls and ceiling from the night light, star-shaped cookie cutters in Grandma's kitchen, stars crackling in the ice underfoot during a night time stroll, and stars sprayed across the sky viewed from the safety of Daddy's arms. The simplest of stories, it's absolutely arresting visually.

Bonting from The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook
I've already told you why I love this one!

Rhymes for Annie Rose
These poems are a glorious celebration of ordinary life: building cubbies, splashing through puddles, washing clothes, meeting cows, learning to count. Some, like The Knobbly Tree, have entered our family folklore, quoted every time we see a hollow tree. Others, like Footprints and One Winter Evening, send shivers down my spine every time I read them. These poems are simple enough to read to a 2 year old, but adults will also enjoy reading them over and over again.


BGSydneyside said...

How Good is Dogger! I was watching playschool a few weeks ago (as you do) and that was the story. So many memories!

Jean said...

Fancy having "Dogger" in the "memories" category, B - how young are you! I'm sure SH wasn't around when I was a kid. Or maybe she was and I missed out somehow.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness,

I didn't even know Alfie Weather existed!

We have the Katie and Olly books as well and there's one with two children in it that look like Alfie and Annie Rose grown up a wee bit. Do you think she just might have put them in as a teaser?


Simone R. said...

but but but...

What about 'Alfie gives a hand'? That's my favorite.

Jean said...

Sorry to disappoint, Symone - you'll have to post your own list!! I keep thinking of others I would have liked to add, like the one where Alfie puts his boots on the wrong feet (my other favourite), the one about the pig, the one about the sheep, the one about his Grandpa's trousers ... oh, dear, I'd better stop now.

Which Katie and Olly book has those kids in it, Pam? I'll have to check it out.

Jean said...

Oops, I mean Simone. How on earth did that happen? Naughty typing fingers.

Anonymous said...

All Shapes and Sizes.


mattnbec said...

Well, I remember Dogger from childhood too. In fact, we still have it. Unfortunately it's one of the books we left back in Australia so I haven't been able to introduce my kids to it yet. I recall other Alfie stories from my childhood too. I'm in my early 30s.