For anyone reading this who does not have children and may not know who they are, Topsy and Tim are young twins whose childhood experiences were recorded by Jean Adamson, in partnership with her beloved husband Gareth up until his sudden death in 1982. Moments of fear and apprehension that a child is likely to experience in its formative years, as well as exploratory and fun ones, have all been sensitively tackled by Jean, who lives in my Cambridgeshire village, and is a dear friend who I nominated for an honour for services to children’s literature when she was awarded a well deserved MBE.
The Topsy and Tim stories include going to the doctor, the dentist and even having nits, as well playing football, learning to swim, recycling and flying for the first time. Topsy and Tim have gone through all these important milestones, the same as all toddlers growing up today. Jean and Gareth spotted a gap in the children’s literary market to write stories which accurately described the every day lives of children and their first time experiences, and her books provide a valuable resource for parents.
In fact, some of Jean’s research was carried out by observing children in our neighbourhood and were chronicled by her for her popular series which span more than 50 years, and have been much loved by generations of children throughout.
The figures speak for themselves, and are jaw dropping. Jean has sold more than 21 million copies across some 130 titles since her first title was published in 1959, Topsy and Tim’s Monday. It is an astonishing and fabulous success story, which is the reason I wonder why it took so long for CBeebies to televise these wonderful books.
Photo courtesy of The Daily Express.