I have a very soft spot for beautifully illustrated, hardcover editions of books. Paperbacks are lovely for a quick read or to tuck into your bag to read on the tram. But a gorgeous hardcover book with its colourful dust jacket, is a thing of beauty in itself. An item to be treasured and handed down through the generations. The best kind of heirloom - one that can be used, loved and enjoyed. And I really believe that beautiful design and illustration are just as important as good writing. After all, you think what you read.
I still have all the books my mum owned when she was a girl. I read and reread those books, cover to cover. The Cat and the Fiddle by Mollie Chappell. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope. Sarah Gay, Model Girl. Mates at Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce. I don't have to look them up because I know them off by heart. And all the Little Women books by Lousia May Alcott. My favourites were always Little Men and Jo's Boys. I didn't have much time for the prissy sisters but I loved feisty, determined and independent Jo March. My mum often only had one or two books in a series and that is what got me hooked on collecting books. (This is how I got hooked on reading.) I wanted to read every book that the characters I fell in love with were in. Often I also wanted to read every book by an author I liked.
And now my nine year old is beginning to do the same with the books I loved as a child. Most of them are still at my parents and she loves visiting them and getting lost amongst the pages. Luckily I have lots of gorgeous hardcover books in my collection. I'm afraid, a paperback would not have lasted nearly so long. It certainly wouldn't have survived so many readings (or all the lollies I used to eat while I read!).