There are some memories of childhood that have a savour so sweet as to hold almost an ache of longing.
I don't recall much about the time before I was five and my parents separated. When that happened, we moved away from where I was born in central Australia, and my mother and sisters and I made a new start a long distance away in Adelaide. I'm sure I was confused, (and I'm sure it was hard for our mother).
I began school that year, and as soon as I learned to read I escaped into books, not raising my head to rejoin the world until the end of grade seven. Somewhat the archetypal bookworm, I read as I walked to school, read a book under my school desk through as much of the day as I could, sat by myself with a book through every recess and lunchtime, and read through every spare minute at home. I even read when I was in the shower and as I rode my bike. I loved books like friends, and the people in them populated my world.
But the first book I ever loved was from that earlier time before my parents divorced, and it's that book or group of books that is to be the source of one of my happiest early childhood memories. I suppose my mother or father must have read it to me when I was little. Or perhaps I sat for hours by myself, turning the pages and absorbing the pictures.
Down through the years I have remembered these as 'the Belinda books'. All I could remember was that a young girl called Belinda lived in a magical kind of forest, and that she was able to talk to her forest friends, the animals, there.
Every now and again I asked about these books at second-hand book shops, but without success.
Until back in April I visited Barbara's wonderful Blog on this page at March House Books and thought to ask her if she might know what it was that I was remembering. You can hardly imagine my delight when she directed me to this page on her Blog, and I was able to rediscover these lost friends from my childhood.
I now own seven of this series. I'm very happy :)
I am also very grateful to Barbara, who is so very knowledgeable about children's books, and who was so very kind and helpful! She knew that Belinda was actually a character in the Pookie books. I recommend Barbara's online book store to you very highly!
Isn't the internet wonderful, and aren't the people you meet there lovely?! :)