This is a sweet collection of over 100 mini-essays by prominent folks on the children’s book that influenced them the most. Each book is profiled with...moreThis is a sweet collection of over 100 mini-essays by prominent folks on the children’s book that influenced them the most. Each book is profiled with a one-page excerpt, a commentary by the editor Anita Silvey on the history of the book profiled, and then words from authors, scientists, educators, actors and others and what that particular book or author inspired in them.
As an omnivore I would have a hard time picking just one title out of so many that I love but it was great to see many of those titles appear here. I have so many memories of reading and books. I remember distinctly the first time in first grade when I decided to stroll over to the big kid’s section and chose a big book to read—I believe it was a Hardy’s boy mystery. The book was scary to read and it took me a long time, but I felt very grown-up. I remember in third grade the first time I read Charlotte’s Web and crying at the end. I also remember the serendipity of coming home from school carrying Little House in the Big Woods and my Mom had picked up Little House on the Prairie for me at the library on the same day. I remember sitting in the mall at Waldenbooks engrossed in a Little Princess and then buying it and taking it home where I read it non-stop.
I remember my seventh grade science teacher reading Amnityville Horror out loud to our class on short days. I never did read the book myself, but he scared the bejeezus out of me and I still have him to thank that I can't sleep with my closet door open.
So many books...so many memories.
Right now I'm reading the Secret Garden to my daughter. We are just starting and she says she doesn't like it--she would prefer a book she picked out. So we read one of hers and then this one which is mine. But I've been noticing that as the story goes along she is protesting less and less so I hold out hope yet. I have so many great memories of reading to her. She is eight now and I've read to her since she was an infant. (less)
When I was in third grade I borrowed a copy of Little House in the Big Woods at the school library. By some strange coincidence that same day my Mom h...moreWhen I was in third grade I borrowed a copy of Little House in the Big Woods at the school library. By some strange coincidence that same day my Mom had borrowed a copy of Little House on the Prairie for me at the county library. I was so surprised. I read both books quickly and became obsessed with the series and the idea of living the pioneer life. I wanted to grow my hair longer and wear long skirts and dresses just like Laura and her sisters. I would imagine riding a horse or driving a wagon on my way to school. My Barbies served as substitute Lauras, Marys and Nellys. While other girl's Barbies were trying out different fashions and driving their corvette, my Barbies were always striking out West in a covered wagon--which I was so excited to receive one year--a Jane West doll along with a plastic horse with actual covered wagon. My Barbies would set out across the backyard and make camp for the evening and live off land setting up to homestead when they reached a nice piece of level grass. The horror the day my father filled in the sprinkler run-off from our next door neighbors which was I was using as my Plum Creek.
Wendy McClure with her book the Wilder Life does a great job of capturing that little girl feelings for Laura and the Little House books as you follow along on her quest to discover more about Laura and the real-life she lived. She learns to churn butter, makes a hay stick and travels to different sites that the Ingalls and Wilders lived, visits museums, sees festivals, etc. You learn a little bit about Rose Wilder Lane--the controversy over whether she wrote the books or Laura did, and how the books are in the fiction section in the library. The editor in me would have liked some photos included in the book--her descriptions of photos aren't enough, but luckily they are all only an Internet click away. And it wouldn't have been all that bad if she would have included a recipe or two, surely permissions from some of the other books she mentioned could have been included. I did really enjoy the adventure with the extremist Christians on the Prairie. Her descriptions of Garth William's illustrations also makes me hope that someone will do a similar book on him. She also has some good comments on the difference between the book and TV fans. I was never a big fan of the television series--I just couldn't get over Little House in the rolling golden hills of California.
But overall, this is just the kind of memoir-project book I like. What do they call this genre? Maybe experiential memoir. Where the author sets out to relive, discover and learn, and you are along for the ride? There have always been books about a subject, but in the past decade or so it is as much about the author as it is about the subject. I think this genre could only come along in the post-blog Internet world--Goodreads has a good list for it called, "I Did Something For a Year and Wrote a Memoir about It." I blame it all on Under the Tuscan Sun--certainly not the first but one of the most successful that spawned more. Combine this type of book with a literary topic or books and you've sucked me right in. It allowed me a few moments to recollect on my own obsessions.
If you are a fan, you have your favorites--what are they? My favorite in the series were the two later books--Little Town in the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years. Little Town most likely because Nellie makes a grand reappearance. And Golden Years because who wouldn't want to be courted by sleigh or carriage drives at least once in her life? My least favorite was By the Shores of Silver Lake--I don't know why, that one I always had a hard time getting through.(less)
A nice little reference collection of questions from children and answered by experts. Answers such questions as--Who Was the First Artist? Are We All...moreA nice little reference collection of questions from children and answered by experts. Answers such questions as--Who Was the First Artist? Are We All Related? Did Alexander the Great Like Frogs? And Where Does Wind Come From?
It was first published in Great Britain--which will be an education for your child as to the differences and spellings in words we use.
I would have given it five stars if it had been designed to contain more illustrations. (less)
Picked this up for my 8 y.o. at the library. She wasn't interested in learning about Elvis so I read it on my own. Nice little intro about Elvis for k...morePicked this up for my 8 y.o. at the library. She wasn't interested in learning about Elvis so I read it on my own. Nice little intro about Elvis for kids. I was struck by the number of cultural references would be foreign to my child.
BTW my mom and aunt took my grandmother to see a very young Elvis in concert in New Orleans. She was shocked by the concert but also seemed to have a good humor about it. She later my ran into him in a department store and said, "You... You're...!" He asked her to not blow his cover. I love the thought of Granny intersecting with the King of Rock n Roll! (less)