Didn’t you just love that the opening show at the Olympics included children’s literature? That must be a first. Of course, I at once began to think about all the great heroes from British lore, legend and literature who could have helped Mary Poppins frighten away the nightmares. Captain Hook, the Mad Hatter and Voldemort are scary all right, but surely no match for Robin Hood and his Merry Men? I imagined them galloping in, whooping and waving their bows and arrows. King Arthur and Merlin could cook up some wicked good magic. A roar from Aslan, the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia, might frighten away a few extra ghouls. And if that didn’t work, well a visit from Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings would surely calm any child. Actually, Bilbo Baggins would have been nice too. And Harry Potter himself.
All in all, as I began to think about British children’s literature, the scope of its impact on the world seemed Olympic indeed. The English could easily have hosted not just a parade of nations, but a parade of famous children’s literature characters. Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, and Paddington Bear came to mind. There is also Jack of beanstalk fame, some scary giants like the ones in Molly Whuppie, Toad and other animals from the Wind in the Willows, Tom Thumb, and Peter Pan himself. A host of fairies, of course, a will o the wisp, maybe even Beowulf. And that’s just what came off the top of my head. There are countless others that could join in. Wow, what a parade that would be.
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