6 of Gail Carriger’s Favorite Children’s Books (Miss Carriger Recommends)

I was out at my Mum’s place recently, Gentle Reader, and she was going through Old Stuff. This time of year is the Great Purging, I’ve been doing it myself recently. For those of you who follow Retro Rack a number of my favorite dresses are about to go up on ebay. Not yet, but soon.

So some items on the Mum’s chopping block included my favorite kid’s books. I rescued a few of them, the rest went to friends with kids or the great donation box in the sky. I thought you might like to see the ones I saved. I’m not saying these books necessarily turned me into a writer, but they sure turned me into a reader and probubly had a lot to to with my overactive imagination.


  1. The Midnight Adventures of Kelly,  Dot, and Esmeralda by John S. Goodall is a picture book only, no words, and my copy is so warn it has been taped back together. Three toys climb into a painting and have adventures.
  2. Sammy the Seal is an I Can Read book by Syd Hoff, with good basic word use and a wonderful story about a seal who leaves home seeking excitement and returns with a greater appreciation for what he left behind.
  3. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood is also characterized by simple clean vocabulary but has some of the most miraculous and intricate drawings I’ve ever seen, by Don Wood. I love the premise (of refusing to get out of a bath) and I can still stair for hours at the detail in those amazing full page illustrations. (It helps that the artist’s model for the king, Harry Bidgood, was a family friend.)
  4. Stallaluna by Janell Cannon, the bat who gets adopted by a bird. Who doesn’t love this classic?
  5. Molly Moves Out by Susan Pearson is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s what I would call ‘young reader’ level, and it struck the cord of my crazy independent streak, even when I was very very young.
  6. Fattypuffs and Thinfers by André Maurois was one my my father’s favorite childhood books. He passed that love on to me. It’s a middle-grade chapter book from the early 1940s and always reminded me a little of the Phantom Tollbooth, no idea why.

I can’t let this blog post go without honorable mention to the Brambly Hedge books.

I still adore these books. The three mains ones are Spring Story, Summer Story, Autumn Story, and Winter Story (that last is my favorite, the underground ice castle, I mean really!) but I learned recently there are others as well (Sea Story, the Secret Staircase, Poppy’s Babies). So good. Little field mice being very British with fantastical house schematics and sweet harmless shenanigans. They are hard to get hold of new, but I bought used copies of my missing ones via Amazon and they arrived in great condition.

Meanwhile, I ordered Walking Your Octopus: A Guidebook to the Domesticated Cephalopod by Brian Kesinger the moment it became available and it just arrived at my office. So good. So cute!

Anyway, any old favorite children’s book you still keep around? Do you recognize any of the ones I’ve named above? I’m curious as to the threads that tie my readers together, and to me, of course.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1882  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Dollhouse pantry from the Museum in Colmar

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

WWII Tea Kettle from the Army Museum in Paris

Your Writerly Tinctures . . . 
Amusing, Photoshopped Book Titles With One Letter MissingBook News:
In Praise of Soulless

  • “Inventive and amusing.” -Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Biblio Files says, “Silly?  Frequently.  Fun?  Always.  Plus they are filled with fashion, inventive alternative history science, great characters, and a rather passionate romance that really puts the steam in steampunk.”
    Dragons Entwined Studio says, “It isn’t often I read a series where the main heroine is strong, personable, and downright awesome. I couldn’t help rooting for her through her adventures. With a dash of paranormal romance, this book swept me away.”
  • The Pewter Wolf says, “I might get a bit obsessed with this author in the coming year.”
    Drugs Called Books says, “The writing is phenomenal. It reminds me strongly of Douglas Adam’s writing style in the way humor is integrated in every sentence, and the way the story is told. It’s the kind of book you can’t stop grinning while reading.”
  • The Chronicles of Emily Cross says, “Carriger is an extraordinary writer – she has created this wonderful world, with incredible characters, the most wickedly funny dialogue and all with a lovely dash of romance.”
  • Beckoned By Books says, “I found myself smirking stupidly as I listened to the book while walking down the street and riding on the bus in response to something hilarious I heard.”
  • Draumr Kopa Fantasy Book Blog says, “Gail Carriger creates a world set in Victorian England, populating it with supernaturals and preternaturals (although they are on the down low). The system she creates for these supernatural beings is one of the best I’ve encountered.”
  • Passion for Novels says, “Classically witty and memorable, you will really enjoy this first installment of what I can imagine to be an amazing series.”

Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Anne D said:

    Stellaluna is one a friend gave my daughters years ago; it's with the bats in my studio bat colony, that is, collection. The others I don't recognize. Evidently I grew up with a completely different set of children's books, probably because I'm a good bit older than you.

    I tracked down copies of some of them when I had children of my own, mostly Beatrix Potter, and The Color Kittens and Pussy Willow, and inflicted them upon my own spawn.

    Somewhere I actually have a book that was given to my father when he was a little boy; I think it's about a frog, with photos.

  2. Dande said:

    I've been collecting Gerald McDermott's trickster books because I love his artwork. I saw a filmstrip of his 'Arrow to the Sun' when I was about 4 and was forever enchanted by it, those images burned themselves into my brain for always.

  3. Ikkin-bot said:

    Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue) by Maurice Sendak are a must. One Was Johnny and Pierre are my favorites. Great for a snarky child like myself.

  4. JuLee said:

    The Oz series was one of my childhood faves, and I still love them to this day. But my very favorite childhood book was "Loretta Mason Potts". I would check it out of the library every chance I got. I would love to get a copy, but it has been out of print for years. Old copies are going for hundreds of dollars, so I will just keep wishing

  5. bookspine said:

    I had those Brambly Hedge books. too! But they were all collected in one really huge book the size of a poster. They are so detailed, and I wish I'd thought of them earlier for my own daughter!

  6. Minnie said:

    I think I read Sammy the Seal to my little brother around a bajillion times when he was a preschooler. He looooooved that book. His other fave that I read to him a lot was "There are Rocks in my Socks said the Ox to the Fox" He loved that one too. My favorite book when I was really little was about a firefly and an Owl. It was called "Sam and the Firefly" Loved that book.

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