Do you remember a book from childhood that meant the world to you? I had a book that scared me silly. The stories were super creepy, even the end papers had richly drawn scary illustrations. I would lie in bed at night and supppose that the monsters had come alive from the pages of my book, and I would snuggle further under my covers and shut my eyes tight knowing deep inside that I was safe.
When I was eleven we moved house. It was a big move. A move that meant everything was sold. Everything. My mum spent hours neatly writing out little price stickers and sticking them on almost all of our belongings. We had a jumble sale in our front garden and we sold our belongings to the neighbours. Then we packed up the bare necessities before we hopped on a plane and moved across the world.
I’m pretty sure that’s when my book found a new home. Right about the time that my family and I moved.
And for years and years after, I would sometimes think about those monsters from the book, and I wondered if I would ever scare myself silly again with those stories.
Fast forward like a million years, and one Friday night I decided that I would track down the book. Except I only remembered one super scary story. I didn’t remember the title of the book, or the author, or even the colour of the book cover. But I did remember the story. There was a patchwork monkey who was possibly the undoing of many children (like all great stories the ending was a little obtuse). I kept Googling different search terms until I eventually found the story online. And then I discovered that it was one of nine stories from a book called Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures and it was a big hit with kids in 1976. It seems my generation liked to terrify ourselves with bedtime stories full of horror.
Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures is long out of print now. As far as I know there was never a second edition and copies sell on eBay for very silly money. But a friend pointed me in the right direction and on the other side of the globe (where I started from) there was a copy being sold for a reasonable sum on eBay. I made a bid and won, and paid more than my bid for the book to be posted across the world to me. I am happy to say that I now have a copy of Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures. And guess what? The stories are still pretty freaky and I enjoy reading them and remembering those childhood sensations when it was hard to tell the difference between what was real and what safely lived within the pages of a book. And it makes the magic of those first childhood stories come alive for me again. That book has quite literally turned back the hands of time. My wish is that you rediscover the book/s from your childhood that have been lost for years. And that you, like me, redisover the magic of reading as a child.