Phoebe was clearing out her bookshelves recently and came across one of the favourite books of her childhood: Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles by Terry Furchgott (first published in 1977). Now this copy has an interesting history and I treasure it not only for its happy memories of reading with little Phoebe, but also as an example of libraries' folly (another is the banning of Enid Blyton books which merely confirms that so many adults forget how children read).
On hearing in 1995 that we were going to have a Phoebe (we knew at 20 weeks and never wavered in our choice of name) my Mum remembered that she had read a book with the then-unusual girl's name in the title to countless classes of infant school pupils who had loved the story. She kindly said she would find a copy so that Phoebe could have a book with her name on it, just as Alice had Lewis Carroll books and Tom had books by the Rev WV Awdry. (She also often called our Phoebe by the fictional Phoebe's full name - difficult to resist as it was 'Phoebe Beeberbee'.)
It turned out that the only copy she could find was an ex-library one that had been removed from the shelves (literally taking the stock out of Stockport) because the fire brigade did not approve of its message in what has to be one of the silliest forms of censorship I've encountered; the epnoymous heroine puts out a house fire using her hot water bottles, and the firemen didn't want young children thinking they could do the same.
As if. It's an impossibility, as I know too well every time I dutifully stand by the kettle at 10pm boiling and re-boiling it so I can fill bottles for all the beds: I am always amazed at how much time it takes to empty a cold water bottle and fill it with hot water. Stilll, the book entertained Phoebe and not once has the thought of emptying a hottie onto a fire ever crossed her mind. And I continue to knit covers for them, and she continues to have warm toes and to dream, like Phoebe in the book, of having a puppy instead of hot water bottles. (Now that's the message I would censor...)