A response to Guardian‘s 10 favourite opening lines in children’s books because The Virgin Suicides? Rudyard Kipling? and no Harry Potter? That’s unacceptable! Here’s what I would have done if Guardian had asked me to list my favourite opening lines from children’s literature.
P.S.) Alice isn’t included because there’s really no need, is there? She’s the guardian angel of every piece of children’s literature written, ever.
“All children, except one, grow up.”
“There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.”
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
“Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.”
“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”
“These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket.”
Cover art by Nicolai Sarbib.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Cover art by Ellen Raskin. First edition dustjacket.