Christopher Edge, author of Twelve Minutes to Midnight and Shadows of the Silver Screen tweeted a couple of jokes under the hashtag #bookbudget, tying in with the UK budget announcements. Tweeting about the impact of the application of the (proposed but rejected) mansion tax to fictional properties, he speculated on its negative impact on the Gormenghast family fortunes.
The tweets prompted us to discuss the most desirable residences, whether they were mansions or more modest, in children’s fiction.
From our own list, we all agree that we wouldn’t mind living in the authentically and romantically ramshackle farm in The Secret Hen House Theatre, the bright and breezy little ones’ house in Littleland, the comfortable house that Lily-Rose May shares with her father in The Princess and the Peas (pictured above) or the chic apartment in Goldilocks and Just the One Bear.
Looking beyond our own books…
Tom suggested the peach in James and the Giant Peach, and, when I said it wasn’t a real home, pointed out that James is living in the stone in Central Park at the end of the novel. And he also likes – similarly bijou, I think – Danny’s caravan in Danny, The Champion of the World, which proved a popular choice all round.
Ola’s favourite house is Pooh Corner. She likes the idea of The Little House on the Prarie occupied by the Ingalls family (but she says she wouldn’t like to live there now).
Mary’s is Heidi’s grandfather’s chalet.
Camilla opted for Bag End, Bilbo Baggin’s house in The Hobbit, before defecting to Milly Molly Mandy’s “nice white cottage with a thatched roof”.
Dom’s is the Swiss Family Robinson’s house, built out of wreckage.
Louise likes the Darlings’ house in Peter Pan.
Stephanie is fond of Snoopy’s kennel in the Peanuts comic strip.
Kristina likes Pippi Longstocking’s house.
Joanne likes Moominhouse.
Adrian’s favourite is Toad Hall from Wind in the Willows.
Mine was Marilla and Matthew’s Green Gables (Ola prefers Windy Willows from the same series) until I remembered Moonacre Manor in The Little White Horse, and the Fossils’ house in Ballet Shoes.
Considered, but rejected, were Barad-dur in Mordor (!), Jeremy Fisher’s house, the house in Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie and the castle in I Capture The Castle (the last two on grounds that they are adult books, really). We also had a discussion about whether Hogwarts was allowed, but I ruled against it: even though Harry lives there, it’s not a house.
What’s your favourite house in a children’s book?