May 22, 2009 | My Jottings
With a passel of grandchildren in my life, children’s books are never far away. Right now there are several piles in the den, some in the living room, at least ten on our bedroom shelf, two on the dresser, one on the floor beside the bed, and one on the kitchen counter. I love sharing books with my grandchildren that I enjoyed as a child.
The books that I loved when I was little were:
Carol Ryrie Brink’s The Pink Motel.
I haven’t read this to my grandchildren yet but think I might this summer. Actually, anything by Carol Ryrie Brink is wonderful. She is most famous for Caddie Woodlawn, but her The Bad Times of Irma Baumlein was also a favorite with my children years ago.
And Beverly Cleary books were great reads, especially for little girls. My granddaughter Clara is devouring Cleary’s books as fast as she can get her hands on them. This is her favorite out of all she’s read so far:
About three weeks ago I took two of my grandchildren to see a wonderful play at the Minneapolis Children’s Theater called Ramona Quimby. Based on her other grandma’s recommendation, Clara is now reading Cleary’s Ellen Tebbits.
I also was addicted to Nancy Drew books. I didn’t like when they were revised and modernized even back then. I preferred the word “roadster” to “car,” and “pumps” to “shoes,” and I thought Nancy’s hair was much more attractive when it was called “titian” rather than “blond.” One of the best Nancy Drew books was this one:
If I remember correctly, this story was set in Canada, and an evil crook (in the red coat, one inch away from an unsuspecting Nancy on this old book jacket) almost thwarts her ingenious sleuthing work that not even entire police departments and experienced attorneys could outdo.
I have no remembrance of why I liked this book so much, but I owned it and read it several times. I recall staring at the cover a lot. I’d be surprised to learn that any of you read this one – did any of you read this one?
And what childhood would be complete without the adventure and imagining this Newbery award book brings? Some of the concepts in L’Engle’s books aren’t easy to explain, but even youngsters are fascinated by the thought of “tessering.”
I first learned about Betty MacDonald’s Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books in second grade when my teacher, Mrs. Lokken, read them out loud to us after lunch recess every day. It was hot where I grew up, and the lights would be turned out to keep the room cooler, and we would put our sweaty heads down on the desks and listen to these wonderful stories. I read them to my children and now my grandchildren enjoy them:
Clara recently told me that her favorite Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story is “The Radish Cure.”
There are so many of course, but my final favorite today is this book, one of many written by Marguerite Henry:
This heartwarming book won the Newbery medal in 1949, and now sixty years later I just finished reading this true story to some grandchildren. It’s the kind of book that made them say at each chapter’s end: “Grandma, will you read one more chapter, please???”
I just love it when they say that. 🙂
Now it’s your turn. What is one (or some) of your favorite books from your childhood?