Saturday 29 January 2011

A New (and slightly obscure) Challenge

So yesterday I was up in London with my fiance, and we found an amazing Oxfam bookshop, in which I was rummaging, when I came across a copy of one of my absolute favourite books growing up, 'The Growing Summer', by Noel Streafeild. Then I started thinking about how much I adored her books as a child, and how great it would be to reread them, and on doing a bit of digging I discovered that she's written a huge amount more than I had previously realised. Given my current addiction to challenges, I thought that I'd set myself a little bit of a trial and see how many I could read in 2011. (I think that this will include rereads, as it's been years since I read any really) I think that most people would know her primarily as the author of Ballet Shoes, but would be interested to hear if anybody else loved her books as a child!

Just as an aside, here is an awesome poem from 'The Growing Summer':

The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo
Edward Lear 1812-1888

On the Coast of Coromandel,
Where the early pumpkins grow,
In the middle of the woods
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle,
These were all his worldly goods:
In the middle of the woods,
These were all the worldly goods
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Once, among the Bong-trees walking
Where the early pumpkins grow,
To a little heap of stones
Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There he heard a Lady talking,
To some milk-white Hens of Dorking,
"'Tis the Lady Jingly Jones!
On that little heap of stones
Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

"Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
Sitting where the pumpkins grow,
Will you come and be my wife?"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
"I am tired of living singly,
On this coast so wild and shingly,
I'm a-weary of my life;
If you'll come and be my wife,
Quite serene would be my life!"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

"On this Coast of Coromandel,
Shrimps and watercresses grow,
Prawns are plentiful and cheap,"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
"You shall have my chairs and candle,
And my jug without a handle! -
Gaze upon the rolling deep
(Fish is plentiful and cheap) -
As the sea, my love is deep!"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Lady Jingly answered sadly,
And her tears began to flow,
"Your proposal comes too late,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
I would be your wife most gladly!"
(Here she twirled her fingers madly)
"But in England I've a mate!
Yes! you've asked me far too late,
For in England I've a mate,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
  "Mr Jones - (his name is Handel -
Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
Dorking fowls delights to send,
Mr Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Keep, oh! keep your chairs and candle,
And your jug without a handle,
I can merely be your friend!
- Should my Jones more Dorking send,
I will give you three, my friend!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!

"Though you've such a tiny body,
And your head so large doth grow,
Though your hat may blow away,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Though you're such a Boddy Doddy -
Yet I wish that I could modi-
fy the words I needs must say!
Will you please to go away?
That is all I have to say -
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!"

Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
Where the early pumpkins grow,
To the calm and silent sea
Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
Lay a large and lively Turtle;
"You're the Cove," he said, "for me;
On your back beyond the sea,
Turtle, you shall carry me!"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Through the silent-roaring ocean
Did the Turtle swiftly go;
Holding fast upon his shell
Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
With a sad primaeval motion
Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
Still the Turtle bore him well,
Holding fast upon his shell.
"Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!"
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

From the Coast of Coromandel
Did that Lady never go;
On that heap of stones she mourns
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
On that Coast of Coromandel,
In his jug without a handle,
Still she weeps, and daily moans;
On that little heap of stones
To her Dorking Hens she moans
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

The list of her books is here, and if anybody else wants to join in, feel free! :-)


  1. Where is the great Oxfam bookshop? I'm a Londoner and would love to know!

    I recently started re-reading the Drina series I loved as a child and it's quite a strange experience.

  2. It's just around the corner from the british museum,sorry I cant remember exactly where!but it was amazing!

  3. Good luck with the challenge - I found your blog by chance and I like the idea. I recommend "The Painted Garden" if you can find a hardback. The Puffin paperbacks were heavily abridged.

  4. Hi and thanks! The Painted Garden is one of my favourites, though I don't currently have a copy, and I didn't know that about the paperbacks!i'll definitely keep it in mind!