What I am going to blog about, then, is C.S. Lewis' wonderful essay On Three Ways of Writing for Children. I read this in Cleveland; it was appended to a lovely edition of The Chronicles of Narnia. He explains why good writing for children is good writing for adults, which is why we enjoy at fifty the stories we enjoyed at twelve. The essay is such a gem that I went out and bought the book because I had to have it, and couldn't find it anywhere on the Internet. If it weren't copyrighted, I would host it myself. As it is, I've typed in a large part of it to email to friends, but beyond that, I cannot in good conscience call it personal or fair use. What I can do, though, is to reproduce the conclusion:
Once in a hotel dining-room I said, rather too loudly, "I loathe prunes." "So do I," came an unexpected six-year-old voice from another table. Sympathy was instantaneous. Neither of us thought it funnny. We both knew that prunes are far too nasty to be funny. That is the proper meeting between man and child as independent personalities. Of the far higher and more difficult relations between child and parent or child and teacher, I say nothing. An author, as a mere author, is outside all that. He is not even an uncle. He is a freeman and an equal, like the postman, the butcher, and the dog next door.
Readers are invited to name their 3 favourite children's books (or series, or authors) which still appeal greatly to them. Only books written for children count; not books which you happened to enjoy as a child because you were precocious. The 3 I'll list are (not necessarily my favourites, and in no particular order):
1. The Chronicles of Narnia themselves
2. Most (if not all) of Edith Nesbit's work
3. Richmal Crompton's William books
What are yours?