November 16, 2006

Children's Book Week


In honor of Children's Book Week (November 13-19), I'd like to share some of my favorite books from my childhood.

1. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

I adored this book but looking back, I think it was a source of an on-going nightmare I had as a child; something to do with the hollow tree that served as a portal to a magical world.

2. Well, Really, Mr. Twiddle! by Enid Blyton

This book made me wish I were British. I wanted to eat fish & chips wrapped in newspaper just like Mr. Twiddle did!

3. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

I believe this is the first chapter book my mother read to me and my brothers. I was in love with the idea of living on a farm and wanted to wear overalls and feed a baby pig with a bottle, just like Fern.

4. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I loved this book and wanted to eat melted cheese on bread the way Heidi did with her gruff old grandfather - notice this fixation I had on food?!

5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This may have been the first book that moved me to tears.

6. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (the whole series)

I read this series over and over, but my favorite was always Little House in the Big Woods. It's been many, many years since I last read it, but I can still picture Laura helping Ma feed wood chips in a hollowed out tree to smoke venison or Laura and Mary making candy with molasses and sugar (again with the food!)

7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

My godfather gave me the first two or three in this series and I fell in love with the characters and setting (and the phrase "kindred spirits"). Wonderful, wonderful books. I'd love to read the entire series some day.

8. All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor (the whole series)

This set of books made me wish for a bunch of sisters!

9. Susan's Safe Harbor by Katherine Wigmore Eyre

I have an old harcover of this book (1942 copyright) and it appears to have been signed by the author. It pains me to say that the signature has been crossed out with blue ink and my name is written in the front of the book in blue ink. Did I think the inscription was the previous owner's name and it was my duty to cross it out and write mine?! I was probably eight years old when I was given the book and obviously didn't understand what I was doing. Please don't tell me a signed copy of this book is worth a fortune. I won't torture myself and check the Internet to see how much the book was worth before my possesive action! Sigh.

10. The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West and Helen S. Hamilton (series)

I don't remember any specific title in this series, but I remember checking them out from the library when I was in 5th grade, anxious to get the next as soon as I finished what I'd already borrowed.

11. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope (series)

Again, the same as with The Happy Hollisters. I don't remember a specific book, but I do remember the thrill of finding yet another in the series on the shelf to check out.

12. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

I loved the idea of living in the mountains in a hollowed out tree! I was young and naive, what can I say.

13. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Can you say hot, fresh donuts?!

There are so many other wonderful books that I read and loved as a young child. It's impossible to just list 13! Some of my other favorites include The Noonday Friends (Mary Stolz), The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (Margaret Sidney), Five on a Hike Together (Enid Blyton), the Trixie Belden series, Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren), Paddington Bear (Michael Bond), The Story of Ping (Marjorie Flack), The Water-Buffalo Children (Pearl S. Buck), The Blue Fairy Tale Book (Andrew Lang), and my very first book (I believe) called My Brimful Book. I'm pleased to say I still own most of these and just might devote an entire month to re-reading them in 2007.


  1. Anonymous8:23 PM

    I have The Magic Faraway Tree in my TBR pile, along with Five on a Treasure Island. I've never read Enid Blyton so these are just the two I chose to start with.

    Many of the others are full of fond memories: Charlotte's Web, Heidi, The Secret Garden, all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder and L.M. Montgomery's Anne books, The All- of-a-Kind Family, the Bobbsey Twins, The Five Little Peppers, and Pippi - friends, companions, inspirations. And The Boxcar Children, The Borrowers, The Wind in the Willows. What joy they provided.

    Thanks for reminding me of old friends and suggesting new possibilities.

  2. I love Ping, Charlotte's Web, and The Secret Garden. A lot of the others I'm not even familiar with!! It never fails to surprise me how many titles you read that I've never heard of. I'll have to look for that Tim O'Brien book. Sorry, I'm hitting two posts with one comment. Babble, babble.

  3. Now that sounds like a fun idea...taking a month to reread your childhood favorites. Enjoy!

  4. Great list!

    You know, I'd never heard of Trixie Belden until I started blogging and reading lit blogs. I keep wondering what I'm missing.

    You listed so many of my favorites. I like your idea of taking a month to reread some. It sounds like fun.

  5. love the trip down memory lane!
    great list!

  6. Jenclair, I never really cared much for The Wind in the Willows. I tried to read it a few years ago and couldn't stick with it. And of course I forgot all about The Boxcar Children and The Borrowers! Loved those, too!! And Encyclopedia Brown just came to mind while typing this comment. I pretty much stuck with what I have on my shelves.

    Bookfool, no problem with the two-for-one comment. :) I'll bet your hubby and son would enjoy the Tim O'Brien book, too.

    Joy, perhaps another challenge to consider next spring or summer...

    Heather, thanks. It was a fun list to assemble, but as usual, impossible to limit to just 13.

    Angela, glad you enjoyed it. :)

  7. Anonymous2:01 PM

    I loved Homer Price. In fact, I read those while living in Lincoln and attending Hawthorne Elementary School.

  8. I read Mr. Twiddle! I'd completely forgotten about him until I saw him on your list. I may even still have my copy....

  9. P.S. What a lovely picture you've chosen to head this post.

  10. You really evoked some great memories for me with this blog. I had forgotten Heidi, Pippi, Laura Ingalls, and the Happy Hollisters. Of course, Anne of Green Gable is one of my all-time favorites. I've been buying new children's books, but I need to add some of these old classics.

  11. I loooved Little House in the Big Woods for all the food talk. I always thought the candy making and meat smoking were so interesting.

  12. Booklogged, I'd forgotten you lived in Lincoln! I think I read Homer Price when I lived in Red Bluff, CA. Or possibly Pullman, WA. I'd love to get a copy of it (it's one that I don't actually own anymore - I'll bet one of my brothers has it).

    Karen, have you read any others of Blyton? She seems to be more popular in England and Canada than the U.S. I think I got my copies when we were living in Canada.

  13. Karen, thanks! I got the artwork off a greeting card I have tacked up to one of my bulletin boards above my desk. I love notecards that depict readers.

    Framed, glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

    Andi, I seem to recall a segment devoted to tap trees for maple syrup, too. Yum!

  14. Anonymous7:58 AM

    What a great idea for a Thursday Thirteen, Les!

    Enid Blyton was a childhood staple, but would you believe it if I told you I haven't read "The Magic Faraway Tree"? I really must get myself a copy!

    I'm embarrassed to say I read "Charlotte's Web" only very recently - I wasn't exposed to too many American writers as a child.

    "Heidi" and "The Secret Garden" were huge favorites, too!

  15. Thanks, Lotus. These "Thursday Thirteen" posts sure have been a lot of fun for this list-maker! ;)


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