In retrospect, the road that led towards my love of the fantasy genre was longer than I’d initially realized. The path was initially tread when I was barely able to read, and I can probably follow my trail back to one book, The Mouse on the Motorcycle. Yes, a classic children’s novel by Beverly Cleary.
This book probably falls under what is referred to as urban fantasy now, but it’s so light as to be perfect for small children. As kids we all fought over that book in the school library. At the time offerings of that kind were few and far between, and this book was not only good, it was recommended by our teacher.
The story is this goofy little tale about a child who becomes friends with a mouse that rides a toy motorcycle. It’s very silly, but quite fun. It is also 100% fantasy. Even if it doesn’t feature dwarves and orcs and elves oh my!, it does evoke the anything goes of fantasy.
Reading this book, and then the stories of Roald Dahl most definitely set me on my path. I still recommend James and the Giant Peach for kids. It’s amazing how such a derided genre can be so pivotal for children’s literature.
Fantasy is core, and some of the best offerings are aimed entirely at kids too young to even ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. I know this was the case for me. If you’ve never read these stories, I suggest them.