If you’re like us, you were sad to read the news that Albert Uderzo is retiring after 52 years as the artist behind Asterix the Gaul. Asterix was a huge part of Flavorpill’s childhood, and the books are also those rarest of things — children’s books that adults can also enjoy. We’ve pulled together a selection of other books from our childhood that we can still enjoy in adulthood — and, in doing so, we can’t help but notice that most of them are pretty long in the tooth these days. Are kids’ books becoming less sophisticated? Or have we just missed a whole bunch now that we’re a) not children any more and b) not parents yet?
The Adventures of Asterix by Réne Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
It’s actually somewhat frightening how much of Flavorpill’s grasp of ancient history can ultimately be traced back to childhood sessions with Asterix, Obelix and co. Uderzo’s beautiful illustrations and the plentiful slapstick action certainly makes the books a great choice for kids, but as with, say, The Simpsons, they also work on a variety of levels. See if you can spot the plentiful references to Elizabeth Taylor vehicle Cleopatra in Asterix & Cleopatra, for instance, or the biting satire on rapacious development and gentrification in The Mansions of the Gods. And, of course, laugh out loud at the comic genius of the characters’ names (all of which are different in the original French, by the way) — our personal favorites are the two prison guards in Asterix the Gladiator, who are called Sendervictorius and Appianglorius. The best of Asterix came while co-creator René Goscinny was still alive (he died in 1977), but even the late period books are still worth a look.