My Word, it’s Miff Heehog

Overcome by nostalgia, I have ordered a second-hand copy of a compilation of the five ‘My Word’ story books.

That isn’t the only manifestation of nostalgia. I’ve bought a present for my daughter as well.

Every child has, I suppose, an absolute favourite first book, toy or game which is remembered (and maybe treasured) forever. Each of my children did. Al’s was Dr Seuss’s Fox in Socks, which he knew all through, tongue-twisters and all, and pretty well learned to read by, when he was 4. Ro’s earliest favourite was Janet and Allen Ahlberg’s Each Peach, Pear, Plum, which we still have and I read to my grandchildren. Weeza’s first literary love was a book by Althea Braithwaite called Smith the Lonely Hedgehog.

She knew this book by heart well before she could speak in sentences. When she was not much more than a year old, she started to join in as I read it to her, and by the time she was about a year and a half (now, if blogging had been invented then I’d be able to tell you exactly when, as I’d have written about it) she could interject any word when I paused. I’d start “Smith was a heehog. He lived all by himself under a flowering bush near the edge of a wood” (words in italic were Weeza’s of course). ‘Miff Heehog’ was asked for repeatedly every day. It was a narrow book – if you fold a sheet of A4 paper in half, top to bottom and then fold it the same way again, that was it, long and narrow. New, it cost 20p. It had the poor binding of most books in the 70s – several of my cookery books of that vintage have pretty well fallen apart – and was well read and loved. It didn’t occur to me to buy another copy while I could. I’ve looked for it since, but it’s out of print long ago and second hand copies, when available, are in poor condition and silly expensive.

But Weeza has tracked it down, reprinted. She’s searched before without success on Lulu, but at last it’s appeared. As you’ll see, it’s now printed in a squarer edition, but I seem to remember that range of books by Althea and various other authors did appear in that format after the narrow one.

I’ve bought from Lulu before; Shaggy Blog Stories and a couple of others, and I even remembered my password; they already had my address and credit card, so it took me less than a minute to order. I’ve bought two copies. Weeza will have such a happy Christmas. I don’t think she’d care if she didn’t have any other present.

10 comments on “My Word, it’s Miff Heehog

  1. Dave

    Do hope she doesn’t read this. Such a shame to miss a surprise.

    My mother refuses to use the internet, so I had to order my own Christmas presents for her.

  2. Z

    Actually, she was in the room chortling as I ordered it. I wish I’d found it for myself – I have looked, several times as I’d have loved to have it for a surprise when her baby was born, but she’ll still enjoy the anticipation.

    Just as well your mother doesn’t use the internet, Dave. She might google your name and find out what you do with your time.

  3. martina

    alibris and abesbooks are two used book websites I know of. Have you memorized the children’s storybooks as well Z?

  4. Caitlin

    That’s lovely Z. One of my favourites was Clement C Moore’s ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and my Mum got it for me for Christmas one year too as my childhood copy was long gone. I was thrilled and I still treasure it, my girls know it off by heart now too.

  5. Z

    My husband read his childhood copy of that book to our children every Christmas Eve.

    An yes, I was word perfect with all the favourites.


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