Summer Quiz

How well do you know the classics?

Here, for your perfect poolside entertainment / interesting barbecue conversation starter / ideal work displacement activity (delete as appropriate), is the CCLSB Summer Quiz.

These are all first lines of children’s books, all classics or tipped-as-classics. In view of our wonderfully global readership, I’ve tried to keep the international aspect in view, but please forgive me for a likely UK-bias.

You’ll probably know most of them – but can you identify all of them without recourse to Google or your bookshelf?

Answers next Sunday.


Which children's book begins with … ?

What are the names of the missing characters and places?

(And for a bonus point, who said the thing about boredom in Q6?)

1. Name?

A. Once upon a time there were four____________, and their names were ___________, ______________, ___________, and __________.

B. Once there were four children whose names were ___________, ______________, ___________, and __________.

C. My name’s ____________, but no-one’s ever called me that.

2. So they said …

A. “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,”

B. “–––––––!”

No answer.


No answer.

C. “Where’s Papa going with that axe?”

3. Starting from home

A. In a hole in the ground there lived ______________.

B. ____________ had been working very hard all morning, spring cleaning his little home.

C. The __________ family had been living for some weeks in the valley where they had found their house after the dreadful flood (which is another story).

D. Mr and Mrs ____________, of __________________, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

4. Cut to the action

A. __________ and _____________ moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.

B. Here is ____________, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head.

C. There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

5. Only at night

A. Rain fell that night, a fine whispering rain.

B. The night ________ wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another.

C. It was 7 minutes after midnight.

6. Boredom: the desire for desires

A. ––––– was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do.

B. There once was a boy named ____________ who didn’t always know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.

C. I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon.

7. Things can only get better

A. If, standing alone on the back doorstep, ______ allowed himself to weep tears, they were tears of anger.

B. When _______________ was sent to ______________ to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.

C. I’d never given much thought to how I would die.

By Debbie

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