For those of you who haven't noticed, Puffin recently - and rather beautifully - started to re-release some of the most beloved of children's books. From Charlotte's Web, to Gobbolino, to Tarka the Otter, to Goodnight Mister Tom to Watership Down each and every title has been repackaged, ready to be loved by the next generation.
I was contacted to see if I would like to choose a title to read, embrace and share. Obviously, I was interested. I have a six year old daughter who is turning into an avid reader and there is something desperately wonderful about introducing your children to stories that you love. But what to choose?
Gorgeous, yes? I have to say that Gobbolino was tempting and A Wrinkle in Time called to me (that cover!) but ultimately, there was only ever going to be one. One book that I loved as a child, one book that I knew instantly would be adored by my own daughter... and it was this one:
I was first introduced to Michael Ende when I was aged about eight via Momo. Momo is an astonishingly good story about the dangers of conformity and the wonder and importance of imagination (in fact, it's all a bit Damn-The-Man-Save-The-Empire if you replace Liv Tyler with a magical tortoise - therefore, bloody brilliant) and had yet to find a book that I enjoyed as much. Until, one Saturday, I wondered into the newsagent/toyshop/chemist that served as the local bookshop (ah, island life) and saw The Neverending Story. I was not a stupid child and I was already well-versed in books and stories but a tiny part of my little heart truly wondered, hoped and dreamed that this story might ACTUALLY NEVER END. And that feeling grew and grew as I turned the pages, entering the world of Atreyo, his sad horse, his Luck Dragon and Bastian Balthazar Bux (who, unlike Eustace Clarence Scrubb, is a character who absolutely deserves his name). It is a wondrous, ambitious tale and the much beloved film that it inspired is, to be frank, pretty shit in comparison. So go out and buy this book, but it for your children, your nieces and nephews and shove it into their tiny hands. But mainly, buy it for yourself and quietly hope that it never ends.
This copy of The Neverending Story (as well as all of the others) is available now, wherever they sell books. Splendibird and her tiny reader would like to thank Puffin and Four Colman Getty for sending us such a lovely, lovely thing - so lovely, in fact, that we'll be collecting the set.