These books have been personal favorites since I was just a wee girl. I discovered them around age 7 in a large, beautifully illustrated edition that I read in to rags. From then on, I could never watch a television, film or animated version without my teeth going slightly on edge because of the sheer bastardizaiton of the two very separate stories. I learned to love fantasy, expanded my imagination, and acquired an amazing new vocabulary of poetry by reading these books. I also learned that girls can have fabulous adventures on their own with nary a boy (or a grown-up) in sight. Although I had no idea how the game of chess worked, I became fascinated with the workings of the individual pieces and a few years later, learned how to play by watching other kids at my school. And finally, I think I can say, because of the language and certain turns of phrase, that reading these books was the beginning of my love of all things British. The photo below shows two of my copies of these books, but I do think there may be a third volume lurking somewhere around the house!