Our National Storytelling Week Celebration

1st February 2017

To mark National Storytelling Week, which continues until Friday, we thought we would share what we think are the best opening lines in children's book.

Children's books are a brilliant blend of simplicity and life lessons. They can be funny, poignant or charming and often stay with us well into adulthood. This is the reason why the opening lines of children's books are so powerful. These lines often go unacknowledged despite their important role in creating whole universes in that one sentence.

Here are just a handful of some memorable opening lines from great children's fiction:

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.'

Rowling welcomes her readers with a knowing wink and an enticing invitation to find out why the Mr and Mrs Dursley were wrong. In just twenty-one words Rowling successfully creates a wry voice, a relatable world, and arguably the most internationally recognisable opening line in fiction.

2. Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
‘All children, except one, grow up.'

Peter Pan, a children's classic, has a wonderfully whimsical opening line that speaks to the child in everyone. As a national treasure, Peter Pan allows readers to address the inevitably of growing up whilst being a pleasant reminder of the joy and adventure of childhood.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
‘These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket.'

Whilst this opening line that is quite simple in comparison to the others it introduces us to our favourite family, the Buckets, and subtly introduces us to the running theme of family importance in this book. This opening line which sets a scene of normality is the perfect contrast to the rest of the book which transports readers into a magical world of chocolate rivers and oompa loompas.

4. The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
‘The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.'

Dr. Seuss has provided many children with fun, exuberant and colourful books for many years and The Cat in the Hat is definitely no exception. A must-read classic for every child the books opening line encapsulates a whole world of rhyme and spirit. This opening line is effectively gloomy in subject matter - only making the wrecking of the home much more exhilarating!

Did you favourite opening line not make the list? Be sure to let us know your thoughts below.

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