Thursday, 14 September 2017

Some Champion Cs by Lynne Benton

We now come to some champion authors whose surnames begin with C.  Again, there are plenty, so I won’t be able to list all of them, but here are a few of the best.

LEWIS CARROLL wrote one of the most famous, and revolutionary, books ever written for children, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. For anyone who doesn’t already know it, it was written in 1865 by a shy Oxford don for Alice Liddell, the young daughter of some friends of his.  In the story, a young girl (Alice) falls down a rabbit hole and has many extraordinary adventures, meeting some weird and wonderful creatures on the way.  There is also a magic cake with a label saying EAT ME which makes Alice grow to an enormous size, and a bottle whose label says DRINK ME shrinks her equally dramatically.  There is far too much to describe here, but if you haven’t read it, do so immediately!  Many of the incidents and quotations from the book are now so well-known that they have become part of our cultural heritage.

GILLIAN CROSS is an award-winning author who has written many books for children, but perhaps her most memorable character is The Demon Headmaster, who has the powers of hypnosis and wants to take over the world, as he “believes it will be better under his ordered rule.” He has piercing green eyes, which he normally hides behind dark-tinted glasses, but removes them when he wants to hypnotise his victim(s).  The books have been made into a popular television series.  Maybe it’s the concept of a fiendish devil in charge of a school that appeals so much to children!

EOIN COLFER is a modern Irish writer whose book Artemis Fowl was first published in 2001.  The “hero”, Artemis Fowl, is a 12 year old boy with great intelligence but little idea how to use it honestly.  He is an unpleasant character, but there is a fairy/leprechaun called Holly who is on his case, and with her superior fairy technology she does her best to prevent his worst excesses.  Billed as “Die Hard with fairies” this is not a story for the squeamish, but (maybe because of that) has become exceedingly popular with children.

RICHMAL CROMPTON’s hero, William Brown, is a mischievous 11- year-old schoolboy, leader of his small gang, “The Outlaws”.  He spends his time trying to outwit authority while doing his best to help people he likes, but goes about it in unusual, often disastrous ways.  There are 39 books in the series, and although the first one was written in the 1922 and the last, published posthumously, in 1970, they are still popular, relevant and funny today. 

JO COTTERILL is a modern author who has written several books for children of different ages and in very different styles, so it is hard to choose one to celebrate here.  My personal favourite remains “Looking at the Stars”, which is the story of an imaginative young girl, Amina, who loves making up stories for her family and friends.  When her village is ravaged by war and her family torn apart, she and her sister face the most dangerous journey of their lives, and Amina’s imagination may be all that can help them.

SUSAN COOLIDGE was an American writer whose most famous creation was Katy Carr.  Her books, “What Katy Did,” “What Katy Did Next”, and “What Katy Did at School”, remain favourites today, nearly 150 years after they were written.  Katy is an adventurous, cheerful girl who is always getting into scrapes.  The eldest of several children, she is not always the role model her aunt expects her to be, but she is an engaging character and readers love her.

ERIC CARLE is also an American writer, whose most famous creation has won world-wide respect.  "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", published in 1969, has been translated into 62 different languages and is a huge favourite with young children all over the world.  With its holes in every page, showing what foods the hungry caterpillar has eaten its way through (and perfect for small fingers to explore!) it is a book that deserves a place on every child's bookshelf.

AGATHA CHRISTIE is not normally considered a children’s author, but most children begin to read her books in their early teens and thoroughly enjoy the exciting plots and satisfying solutions, not to mention the murders!  "The Queen of Crime” died in 1976, but is still widely-read and many of her books have been televised over the years.  Her play, “The Mousetrap”, is the longest-running play ever, having run in the West End continuously for 64 years.

HELEN CRESSWELL has written many books for children of all ages, and again many of her books have been broadcast or televised over the years.  Best known for comedy and supernatural fiction, her most famous books have probably been Moondial, the Lizzie Dripping series (5 books), and The Bagthorpe Saga (10 books) as well as many others.  She also worked as a scriptwriter for children’s television, and died in 2005.

SUSAN COOPER is an American author who wrote a wonderful series of 5 books called “The Dark Is Rising”.  Based on Arthurian legends, Celtic mythology and Norse mythology, these books create a world where the conflict between good and evil reaches epic proportions.  Her hero, Will, discovers on his 11th birthday that he is the one destined to battle the powers of evil, and to find and guard the six great Signs of the Light in order to overcome the Dark.  They were written between 1965 and 1977. 

I hope people reading this blog are enjoying this series as much as I'm enjoying finding and remembering favourite authors.  Plenty more to come!  Next month I'll be on to D...


Mystica said...

Thank you for this post.

Abbeybufo said...

Interesting selection. I should perhaps mention that Susan Cooper is originally British - brought up in England with Welsh antecedents, she only recently - perhaps 10 years ago - became an American citizen, though she has lived in the USA for much longer.

Lynne Benton said...

Ah, I obviously didn't do my research as thoroughly as I thought I had! Thank you for that information, Abbeybufo.

Abbeybufo said...

This is biography of Susan on the current website - although a new site is promised soon:

It isn't quite up-to-date, perhaps for that reason, but may help people get a bit more of a grasp on the sequence of her life.

Helen Larder said...

Another good list of authors. Thanks! xxxx

Lynne Benton said...

Thanks, everyone!