One book I had from the library often was A Child's Day Through the Ages by Dorothy Margaret Stuart, first published in 1941. As the title indicates, each chapter describes a typical day in the life of a child from a different period of history, from the Bronze Age to Edwardian England.
Some years ago I found a second hand copy of the book. On reading it again, I couldn't see why I had liked it so much. The characters were flat. There was little plot or conflict or drama. Both the text and the illustrations seemed designed to educate rather than entertain.
"The merchant, still wearing the high crowned beaver hat without which he was seldom seen during his waking hours, said a rather long grace and seated himself at one end of the square table, with his wife opposite him, and his son between them. On either side of the fireplace stood a broad and high arm-chair finely carved ut of glossy brown oak, but at table the family sat on wooden stools. A linen cloth was spread, and on it were pewter cups and plates, and spoons of a kind of brass-ware called 'latten'. There were knives with wooden handles, but forks with wooden handles had not yet appeared in the homes of the merchant class."There are copies of the book available on Amazon for anyone who would like to read it, but for me the magic is gone.
Another book I loved was The House of Arden by E. Nesbit, forst published in 1908. It's not one of her best books, nor her best known. It's a time travel story, and even as a child I could see flaws in the way the time travel worked. But I like time travel stories and Elfrida was one of my favourite fictional characters.
"They found the George half-way up Arden village, a stately, great house shaped like a E, with many windows and a great porch with a balcony over it. They gave their letter to a lady in a round cap who sat sewing in a pleasant room, where there were many bottles and kegs, and rows of bright pewter ale-pots, and little fat mugs to measure other things with, and pewter plates on a brown dresser. There were greyhounds, too, all sprawling, legs and shoulders and tails entangled together like a bunch of dead eels, before the widest hearth the children had ever seen. They hurried away the moment they had given the letter. A coach, top-heavy with luggage, had drawn up in front of the porch, and as they went out they saw the ostlers leading away the six smoking horses."This one I come back to often.