My dad is in the first group and used to keep a pile of books in the toilet of the house where we grew up.
I always remember thinking there was something a bit illicit about sneaking a peek into those books. After all, they were ‘grown up books’. Most of the time I didn’t really understand what they were about, and he’s such a fast reader, the book would have been swapped for something else by the time I got to the end of the first chapter.
Then one day, my dad left a book that was utterly compelling. It was called Redwall, by Brian Jacques, and after risking getting piles for a few days, I just came straight out and asked if I could read it. Turns out it was a children’s book after all, but it had what seemed to me to be quite a grown up cover. I was hooked.
The Redwall stories were about a group of animals who had adventures. A bit more fantasy-esque than The Animals of Farthing Wood, and not anywhere near as worthy as Wind in the Willows.
I read that Brian Jacques sadly died a couple of days ago. So it seems timely to name Redwall as another book I have loved. Not because I’m a big animal lover (not by any means), but because his stories were pure escapism, and he was an author whose next book couldn’t come out soon enough.