This post originally started out on Facebook when I was tagged in a similar post by my friend Dana and asked to name the 10 books that changed my life. As I created my list and kept finding I was giving longer and longer reasons so the list got copied here and will be found below the break.
Before I start the list I feel I should define what I mean by Books That Changed My Life. For me, the books listed below have had the same effect as a gateway drug opening up new authors, style of writing or genres to me. Many books on this list won’t be a surprise to anyone who looks at this list on a regular basis.
Finally, the list is roughly in time order from my childhood, however, as I didn’t note down exactly when I first read them please excuse any mistakes. The ten books are:
When you include the four un-named foxes you get a group of nine main characters. Now the amazing thing is that two thirds of the main characters are female – the four foxes split equally into dog-foxes and vixens. While the gender choice of the hens are forced upon Dick King-Smith by biology, their characterisations are not.
Throughout the book the female characters are very much in charge and come up with the majority of the plans, for both sides as well. The only time that the traditional gender positions is used is for comic effect with the reader seeing how Spillers is using her husband to think through her plan to check for any kinks.
Much like The Mouse Butcher, The Fox Busters is equally as good and isn’t a children’s book you need nostalgia goggles to read. It is also filled with a number of quite mature themes. The opening chapter is like the start of a horror movie, a group of innocent chickens are playing in the farm yard before going to a trough for a drink. Beneath the murky waters hides a fox. You can guess what happens next (an even bigger hint is at the bottom of this post!).
This blood thristy opening sets up the conflict for the rest of the book between between chickens of Foxearth Farm and foxes who hunt there reaches its climax. Therefore the rest of the book feels like a chicken version of the Battle of Britain from our three heroes names’ Ransome, Sims and Jefferies to how the chickens win the war. It also helps that they are super smart and can fly. You can guess what happens next from the title of the book!
Originally published on the 11th of February 2008 on my now deleted Bebo Account.
The Mouse Butcher by Dick King-Smith is one of my favourite childhood stories. I use to rent it out from Linlithgow library on cassette all the time. I wish I could remember who read it now.
Well I recently purchased a copy of the book (51p off the net!) cos I wanted to read it again. Now as everyone knows, re-reading books from your childhood – like watching your favourite childhood movie – is a dangerous business. Certainly, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe‘ no longer holds the magic it once had. When I re-read it the other Christmas, i found it patronising and simple. There is little to no description – perhaps why I loved it as a child. I had complete control over what Narina looked like. However, as J.K. Rowling showed, a level of depth in a book doesn’t limit one’s imagination.