Having asked around a few of my friends, my favourite childhood book seems to be a bit of a bizarre one, no-one else has even heard of it! There were 3 books that I was debating between for this post; Alice in Wonderland (I was more of a teen than a child when I fell in love with this book), Gulliver's Travels in Lilliput and the one I eventually went with, Nicobobinus.
Nicobobinus is a children's novel written by Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame. The back page reads:
This is the story of the most amazing, extraordinary child who ever stuck his tongue out at the Prime Minister. His name was Nicobobinus. He lived a long time ago in Venice, and he could do anything.
Well, could he?
I don't want to give away too much of the plot in case you decide to read it, and if you have a child I suggest you do, they'll love it! I read this book so much when I was a child that I almost knew it word for word.
In the summer holidays my Mum, my brother and I would sometimes go and stay with relatives just outside London, and this book accompanied me on a few trips. My Mum's brother would often come and visit when we were staying with her sister, and I loved nothing more than getting him, a bad-ass biker, to read me my bed time story.
The thing that I love most about this book is that it's not overly childish, of course it's not very mature, you can tell that just from what the back cover says, but it offered a lot more comedy and imagination than the majority of books I was aware of back then. The female character, Rosie, isn't your typical girlie girl either. She helps her best friend, Nicobobinus, out of many dodgy situations, she's possibly the first literary female I really admired. Often in children's books girls are portrayed as weak, less than, in need of rescuing, but in this book she was the one doing the rescuing. Being a tom-boy myself, I could never quite understand why all the Disney princesses needed men, why couldn't they take care of themselves? There's none of that with Nicobobinus, and I really appreciated that.
With chapter titles such as:
The Golden Man
Nicobobinus's First and Only Day as a Monk
The Ocean of Mountains
The Land of Dragons
You can see that this is a book written to inspire a child's imagination, and it does a great job of it. There are some really good black and white illustrations along the way, but the pictures that the words manage to paint in your mind are like no other book I read as a child.
As you can tell, I really do have a huge soft spot for this book and would recommend it to any child, boy or girl. It's a funny adventure, with some words that a lot of kids will find hilarious (but not so naughty that they'll upset the parents).
I have to give a massive THANK YOU! to my cousin Dan, who was very kind in allowing me to borrow his copy to re-read for this post, and yes, I did buy it for him.
What was your favourite book as a child? Have you ever heard of Nicobobinus?