Sunday, December 18, 2011

Night Daddy

When first reading about Darcy's postcard challenge for the new year, I suddenly remembered a book I used to read when I was a lot lot younger called 'Nachtpapa', or 'Night Daddy' in English.

From what I remembered, it was about a little girl who gets a babysitter for when he mum has to go to work at night. It's a man she starts to call her Night Daddy, and he's a bit of a character, because he's a Writer and he has a pet owl. The postcard challenge reminded me of the book, because the girl and the Night Daddy start writing to each other. He writes on blue paper and she writes on pink or yellow, I wasn't too sure anymore.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in Dutch anywhere where they could send it to me for something other than a billion pounds, so I had to settle for the English version.
It arrived the other day and I love it!

It's an old library book and it was last due 28th Feb. 1977!
(note the '2p per week or part of the week' fine if you're late returning your book!)

It's so strange to read it in English. The book sounds so.. serious. I can't really remember if it was like that in Dutch, it must have been. It's a Swedish book written in the late '60's, right smack in the middle of the first feminist wave. Julia does not have a dad, and is glad about that fact too.
' My mother isn't married, and I'm glad about it, because otherwise I'd have one of those ordinary fathers, and would have never had a night daddy. [...] They all look harmless, jusst like other old men. They don't talk much - the mothers do all the talking, but the mothers are always dragging them into the conversation. They are always saying 'that's up to Dadddy. Ask Daddy. Daddy said... I'm going to tell your Daddy!' I wouldn't like to have a life like that. '

It turns out the word 'Night Daddy' comes from the word 'Night Mummy' for 'babysitter'. The babysitter is a writer, just like I remembered, and he's writing a book about stones. Because Julia likes to write too, they decide to write a book about themselves, but they're not allowed to read what the other person wrote. Not yet, anyway.

'We write on loose-leaf paper, which we then put into a notebook. Julia writes on yellow paper, and I on blue so we don't mix up the notes and read each other's by mistake. We never write during the day - only at night when we're togegther. But we never work at the same time. It wouldn't do because then our thoughts might get mixed up.

Did I really read this when I was about 8? Wow.. Quite different from Horrid Henry or even the first Harry Potter book.

Anyway.... I'm off to finding some inspiration for my postcard challenge characters and finishing my Night Daddy book!


  1. Sounds like a great book! Interesting what we remember from our childhood, isn't it. And how different it can seem now. I'm excited for Darcy's postcard challenge and can't hardly quit thinking about my possible characters!

  2. Me too! I can't wait for it to all start!

  3. Ik heb hem laatst voorgelezen aan mijn zoontje en ik vond hem ook heftiger/ernstiger dan ik me kan herinneren van vroeger.
    Ben ook op zoek naar 2 leuke karakters die elkaar nog niet kennen en een jaar lang interessant blijven.
    Fijne feestdagen!

  4. Hi Eveline
    I saw your comment on Kirsti's blog and thought I'd pop over to say hello. I noticed that we live quite close and both work with people who have eating disorders. Now there is a coincidence! I also enjoy art journalling and all things paper and messy. Wishing you a happy Christmas.