Children’s Book Week: Our English teachers favourite childhood reads

This week is children’s book week, and to mark the event we asked some of the Wycombe Abbey English teachers what their favourite childhood stories were and why:


Dr McKendry: I was absolutely obsessed with Enid Blyton’s school stories as a child (and – to be perfectly honest – as a teenager). After devouring all of the Malory Towers and St Clare’s books, I found what were to become my ultimate favourites: The Naughtiest Girl series. These books centre around a spoiled little girl named Elizabeth Allen, who – furious at being sent away from home – vows to be so naughty at her new boarding school that she will be expelled. Although many of the ideas and opinions in these books have not stood the test of time, there is magic in the way Blyton manipulates our feelings towards the characters; the moment when Elizabeth is publicly shamed for refusing to share the contents of her tuck box with her new school mates still fills me with a thrill of schadenfreude.


Miss Toogood:  My favourite was Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs. It is an Australian classic and follows the adventures of two ‘gumnut babies’, modelled from the appearance of Eucalyptus nuts. Many Australian children’s books use our native flora and fauna as both are so beautiful and rich to illustrate.

Another personal favourite of mine is The Wizard of Oz. I absolutely love the film but the original book is actually quite different, with Dorothy’s shoes being silver and not the famous ruby red!




Miss Rogers: My favourite book when I was a child (though quite young obviously!) was An Evening at Alfie’s by Shirley Hughes. It’s a story about one evening when Alfie, and his younger sister Annie Rose, are being looked after by a babysitter. Unfortunately, a leak starts in the house and chaos ensues! As a child, I absolutely adored looking at the pictures and I also loved the rhythm of the story (perhaps this is why I now adore Shakespeare!) with the ‘drip drip’ of the tap punctuating the narrative. I think this story taught me to appreciate language and the effect that sensory imagery can have.