January 5th, 2003

fat pony like thunder

My Naughty Little Sister

This is both a GIP and a homage to one of the finest little girls in English literature. The new icon bears the image of My Naughty Little Sister, the antiheroine of a series of truly delightful children's books by Dorothy Edwards and Shirley Hughes (who did the wonderful pictures). They were narrated by a nameless older sister and were about her, well, naughty little sister, who was delightfully cross (the picture comes from a story titled, magnificently, The Cross Photograph). The books were written in the 60s and were a staple of many a 60s and 70s early childhood - and probably '80s and '90s as well, because they're all still in print. Anyway, I have been unearthing my own old ones recently, and even though they are for small children, and I usually just read books aimed at kids of 11 and up when I read kid-lit, there's something so funny and charming about them that they're still a joy to read. Take this, from a story in which the bold child has spent the day wearing a fancy new dress (of which she is very proud) at a garden fete, where she has behaved like a perfect child. Suddenly, to the chagrin of her older sister, she appears from behind a bush:

She had taken off her dress and her lovely frilly petticoat and had put them very carefully over a garden seat, and out she jumped, her old noisy jumping self again, skipping up and down in her little white vest and her little white knickers! And she was laughing too.

"Now I can have swings,and fish-ponds,and roundabouts and a big tea," she shouted. "Now I can be ME again."

She was very pleased with her good idea.

Just look at that! "Her old noisy jumping self"! She is an inspiration to us all.

And by the way, the picture above - and indeed all the pictures of her - look exactly like me when I was that age, right down to the shape of her nose and expression on her face. Which is possibly why I always loved her so much.
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