. When I was very little, I had a collection of the Ladybird Fairy Tales. I had Cinderella, of course, and Sleeping Beauty, but my absolute favourite was Three Billy Goats Gruff, which I read so often I memorised it, and could recite it to other children who couldn’t read yet.
But I grew out of this pretty fast, and soon my parents realised I needed more. So one day, they opened a cupboard above the wardrobe, bought down a box, and opened it up.
It was full of books.
At least 20, maybe more, classic books. The Black Arrow, Kidnapped, Little Women, Treasure Island, Ivanhoe, Alice in Wonderland and lots more. I have no idea where the books came from, but to have them was wonderful.
I read them all, and read them again and again, and kept them for years. I loved those books. I still have some of those books. They were a foundation for a love of classic tales that’s never faded.
Now that I am older, and I buy presents for children and adults, my first thought is always a book. I always want to recreate that moment where I looked into the box of books, and found the most perfect present.