‘Moving Molly’ was one of my favourite books as a child; I actually love all Shirley Hughes stories including the ‘Alfie’ series.
One of the (many) things that’s great about having a child is getting to re-read them all again. Deciding that my own copy was long gone or hidden away in the depths of my parent’s attic I ordered a new one off ‘The Book Depositry’ – a great site for books for all ages, good value and no delivery charges.
I was probably more excited than E when the postman pushed it through the letterbox and I couldn’t wait to share it with him.
Reading it as an adult is obviously a completely different experience. When I was younger I wanted to move in with Molly and her family and join in all the fun, now I’m looking at it from the perspective of a parent.
The first thing that hit me was that Molly is a very independent little lady. We’re told that she’s not big enough for school and that she would be in playgroup if it wasn’t so far away. That makes her around 3; the same age as my son. I also think it’s fascinating how times have changed since this was first published in 1978.
On the day of the big move she rides up front in the moving van with the two furniture removal guys while the rest of the family travel in the car behind. No mention of a car seat and she’s very confident considering the men are strangers.
When they arrive at their new home everyone is very busy apart from Molly and she’s left with nothing to do. However, instead of her parents providing something to keep her entertained she’s left to her own devices.
Unfortunately as there are no other people around and her sister’s guinea pig is fast asleep she decides that the rubbish heap is a good place to find something to play with! Her poor mother is obviously none the wiser about this choice but would presumably be relieved that she ends up squeezing through a hole into the garden next door instead.
One of my favourite illustrations is of Molly in amongst the weeds and brambles of the disused garden.
Once there she finds some wild cats and also discovers a green house with some of its window panes smashed – broken glass alert!
There’s no mention of her mother coming looking for her or any fear from Molly’s side about getting lost and her only instruction is that she is back in time for tea. She continues spending her days visiting the hazardous green house, climbing tall trees and hanging out with wild cats until she gets new neighbours to play with – hurray.
On the one hand it’s great seeing Molly’s adventurous side and how good she is at amusing herself but there’s no way I’d leave E (at the age of 3) to fend for himself for the day – especially when the family garden and the one next door would have serious Health and Safety issues.
I still love the story but I’m thankful that I didn’t grow up in Molly’s family after all 😉