It's a short post this month from me as the year has run away with me again and I'm determined to get everything done before 2017 arrives. This also means cramming in christmas shopping. I was in a shop the other day and I heard two mothers talking about how christmas annuals were "garbage" books. They both seemed annoyed that people so often give them to children.
As you know, nothing gets me more annoyed than adults making sweeping negative book decisions for their children, and it started me thinking about how much I loved getting an annual when I was a child. I flicked through the comic Christmas annuals and was pleased to see that they are almost exactly the same as when I was a child.
I have a particularly poignant relationship with them however, as I was blessed with an aunt who knew the value of money. This meant that most of my annuals were bought from jumble sales. There really is nothing more depressing than to spend a week looking at that A4 sized parcel under the tree wishing for the 1977 Monster Fun annual, but knowing it’s probably the 1973 Hotspur for Boys with all the dot-to-dots already done.
As a festive post I wanted to share a few of the annuals that gave me many festive quiet moments and escapes. So here’s to the Christmas annual. A much maligned and dismissed item, but something that for many was one of the first books they ever owned. A book that defied technology and sneakily kept reading at the heart of the season. I, for one, am glad they've survived.
Footnote - I did get the Monster Fun one, but had to wait for my dad to finish reading it first.
It was worth the wait.
Post by Dawn Finch
Children's Writer and Librarian