Books have a way of jogging our memories like nothing else can. Maybe it’s because they bring back so many happy thoughts; times when we sat with our parents or grandparents as they read to us and we were transported into the world of a story.
Take a long, slow drive down memory lane, as we present 10 books that will transport you right back to your 1980s childhood!
10. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
The first in a series of Spot books by Eric Hill, Where’s Spot? saw us kids having to open flaps in an attempt to find the cheeky little doggy, only to discover monkeys and crocodiles instead!
Other books featuring Spot include Spot’s Fun in the Sun, Spot Loves His Mummy and Spot Says Goodnight!
9. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
‘We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared’. We’re sure that you all remember the words to this time-honoured children’s classic, first published back in 1989.
Happily, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt remains as popular today as ever. It’s still read in schools, and has been adapted into a stage play and an animated TV special.
8. Alfie Gets in First by Shirley Hughes
Unlike a lot of more fantastical children’s stories, Alfie Gets In First hinges on an all-too plausible premise: coming home from shopping, precocious toddler Alfie charges into the house and inadvertently gets locked in on his own. It may sound like every parent’s nightmare, but happily things work out for everyone.
This was the first in a series of ten Alfie books by Shirley Hughes, who also wrote such beloved books as Dogger.
7. Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Released as Peek-A-Boo! in the US, Peepo was first published in 1981 and has been called the best book ever for babies and toddlers. We certainly enjoyed it when we were that age!
It was written and illustrated by married duo Janet and Allan Ahlberg, who also created such children’s classics as Funnybones, The Jolly Postman and Each Peach Pear Plum.
6. The Garden Gang by Jayne Fisher
A lot of kids have always needed persuading to eat their fruits and vegetables. Helping to encourage our interest in this food group were The Garden Gang, a series of books written by Jayne Fisher, each of which contain two short stories about the various fruit and vegetable characters.
Books in the series include Penelope Strawberry and Roger Radish, Wee Willie Watermelon and Betty Beetroot, and Lucy Leek and Bertie Brussels Sprout!
5. Noddy by Enid Blyton
Noddy was by no means a new character in the 80s, having been introduced by popular children’s author Enid Blyton all the way back in 1949. However, the character and his colourful storybook world remained every bit as popular more than three decades after his first appearance in print.
On top of the 24 original Noddy books written by Blyton herself, the 80s gave us a slew of tie-in merchandise, plus stop-motion animated TV series The Further Adventures of Noddy.
4. The Magic Porridge Pot
Originally published in the legendary Brothers Grimm collection of fairy tales, numerous adaptations of The Magic Porridge Pot have seen print over the years. However, we’re most familiar with the Ladybird ‘Easy Reading’ edition dating back to 1971.
The simple story centres on an enchanted cooking pot which spontaneously fills with porridge when instructed to do so – but things go wrong when a child uses the pot, and doesn’t know how to make it stop.
3. Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski
Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski was a brilliant pop-up book that contained spooky paintings, an octopus washing dishes, a gorilla in a bed and a skeleton in a closet!
The literary equivalent of a ride on a fairground ghost train, the popularity of Haunted House demonstrates that even young kids enjoy scary things.
2. Revolting Rhymes/Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide, but as much as we loved The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we have a special place in our hearts for Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts. First published in 1982 and 1983 respectively, both feature a series of short stories told in the form of rhyming poems.
Where Revolting Rhymes provides Dahl’s anarchic twist on such classic fairy tales as Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Dirty Beasts told some lurid original yarns based around a variety of animals.
1. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
While this was first published all the way back in 1968, The Tiger Who Came to Tea remained every bit as beloved by children in the 1980s. Happily the book remains popular today, despite some grumbles that it gives an outdated representation of parental roles, with mum staying home to look after the child while dad goes to work.
The heartwarming classic sees a friendly big cat unexpectedly show up at a suburban home one tea time, only to proceed to eat and drink absolutely everything in the house (expect the people, thankfully).