Friday, February 25, 2011

Up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

As a child, I was shy, and I read a lot.

I don't know if these are related - are shy kids more likely to retreat into a book? - but I preferred reading to just about anything. I don't read as much as I'd like now, but well written fiction is still one of my greatest pleasures.

Nick, on the other hand, was not a reader. He hated it. He reads a lot now - although not as much for pleasure as he'd like. But he was well through school before he liked reading.

So our Big J, who is not remotely shy, loves the books. Loves being read to. I don't know if this means he'll love reading when he's older. But he loves it when we do.

He's started crawling into Nick's chair with a book, acting all grown up. In this picture, he's holding a book I loathe - one about Eeyore losing his tail.

I never realized it when I was a kid, but Eeyore is clearly clinically depressed. He's such a fucking downer. It just makes me want to stab him and pull out all his stuffing.

Now, having been depressed myself, I know he can't help it, and really, some therapy and Zoloft would probably turn things right around for him. He might actually be fun. So I do try to be understanding.

But he irritates the crap out of me.

Anyway. It turns out that the Borders on 18th and L is closing and everything is on sale. It's near my doctor's office, so after my appointment I stopped in to look at their 20% off children's books.

I'd forgotten how much I'd adored the characters of my childhood. Babar, the charming elephant, who it turns out is a colonial oppressor. Who knew? Not us, living in, uh, India and Bangladesh...We still have all those Babar books. I'm excited for J to get a little older.

I looked for Bartholomew and the Oobleck and If I Ran the Circus - two of my childhood Seuss favorites - but didn't find them. Although truthfully, now that I've looked them up on Amazon, I see they're cheaper there. Which I suppose is part of the Amazonification of the world.

I did buy Madeline, because I loved those books, and I don't think they survived my childhood and all our moves. I hesitated, because she's a girl...but then I thought, am I really only going to read him books with boys as main characters? No.

I also got him Richard Scarry's Mother Goose, because J really enjoys those nursery rhymes, and Richard Scarry has such amazing illustrations.

There were so many books I wanted to get, but stopped myself, because I realized they were more for me than for him. Like, I want to sit down and read all the Ramona books. Sit here for the present! And A Wrinkle in Time. Oh, CharlesWallace!

What I realized while browsing was that I'm so excited to get into books with richer plots. Not that I don't love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but there are only so many times you can read it and still maintain the enthusiasm for him becoming...wait for it...a beautiful butterfly!

I'm itching to see Eloise get up to no good at the Plaza, although truthfully, I fear she'll give Jordan ideas.

Do you have childhood favorites you'd be happy to curl up with now?


  1. The very first thing I bought as soon as it sunk in that I was pregnant was my favorite book "Once Said Darlene" I can't wait to read it with the baby!

  2. I do not know this book! Must google!

  3. As a little kid it was all Dr. Seuss all the time then it evolved. My list is here

  4. Fun post! Love the photo, especially. Aww, poor Eeyore - I love all the Pooh characters. I like that he's a little dark, I would like to stab Tigger before 10 am on the other hand.

    The Pokey Little Puppy is my favorite book from childhood - it's a Golden Book. And I was a bit a whiner as a kid, so I also liked Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day. Youngest of 5?

    Happy reading this weekend!

  5. I just cleaned out the Borders near me of lots of their beginning reader books. Jess has just started reading and I'm SO excited. Like you, I was very shy and lived in books and in my imagination as a kid. Jess is not nearly as shy as I was, but is still incredibly imaginative and writes her own books quite often.

    I loved Courduroy, the Velveteen Rabbit, Dr. Suess. Jess has those. She also has Eloise and Madeline. She also likes the "Little Critter" books by Mercer Mayer. And Berenstain Bears.

    I remember one book I loved that I can't find anywhere anymore. It was called Mimi the Merry-Go-Round cat. I'd love to find it for Jess!

  6. Good Night Moon and the Hungry Caterpillar are my favourites.

  7. Great. I now have child AND chair envy. Both are beautiful!

    I read a ton as a kid, but can't remember anything prior to 4th grade, when we read Where the Red Fern Grows. And, as expected, there were many, many tears.

  8. I remember reading every Walter Farley book and I loved Marguerite Henry's books about Misty, Sea-Star and Stormy. The Black Stallion! by far my fave movie ever. I know these are for older kids, but he'll be older in a blink. However, don't come looking for me if Big J wants a horse some day. Not. My. Fault. (but he can keep it at my house)

  9. yup this totally speaks to me. children's books are just so freaking good! the ramona books were by far my favorite growing up. i also adored charlotte's web and the velveteen rabbit. i actually just read an amazing one to my students by (wait for it...) madonna. i know, i was skeptical too but they're legit. Lotsa de Casha = amazing book. madonna is a talented lady.

  10. Not my childhood favorites but my favorites to read to my children:
    1) Tikki Tikki Tembo
    2) Anything by Kevin Henkes especially Weekend with Wendell, Chrysanthemum and Julius: Baby of the World.
    3) All the Olivia books
    4) Guji Guji
    My 6yo's godmother got her a huge set of Roald Dahl books for Christmas and my husband reads to all the kids from one of those every night before bed. They started with James and the Giant Peach, moved on to Matilda and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and now they're reading BFG.

  11. cuteellaisbold - I just looked at your list! I like it! Oh, I loved many of those - Agatha Christie, in particular. I still do, in fact.

    HK - Oh, right! I can totally see you wanting to stab Tigger before 10 am. I don't think anyone would question it, really.

    It's very hard to picture you as a whiner, honestly, but I like the Alexander book!

    cla517 - I didn't know Corduroy or the Velveteen Rabbit as a child. So while I like them, they're not in my emotional memory. I'd forgotten about the Berenstein Bears! I loved them, too!

    And oh, so exciting that she's reading! And writing her own stories!

    Hillary - I love them now, but I never had them as a kid. I don't know why - everyone else seems to have.

    freckledk - Yah, this chair came with Nick. We all love it.

    And how did I never read that book? I never have.

    Lynn - Oh, the Black Stallion! And Misty of Chincoteague! I wasn't so into horses but my best friend in 5th and 6th grades was crazy about them, so we read all those books!

    carly - Charlotte's Web made me cry and cry. And Madonna? Who knew!?!

    Dana - Except for Tikki Tikki Tembo, I didn't have any of those as a kid.

    And I LOOOOVE Roald Dahl! Oh - get The Magic Finger! That's a great one! The other short stories and books I've read would be too creepy (Someone Like You)/otherwise inappropriate (My Uncle Oswald) for a young kid.

  12. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. 'Nuff said.

  13. "I never realized it when I was a kid, but Eeyore is clearly clinically depressed. He's such a fucking downer."

    HA! I know, right?

  14. I don't remember the books I read as a small child - the first book I remember loving was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I'd still read that now.

    My dad, for some reason, decided to start reading The Hobbit to me and my siblings when we were young before we went to bed at night. We loved it so much he read us the entire Lord of The Rings Trilogy as well. I think it took him about three years, but I still would read Tolkien now as a result, and I probably wouldnt have otherwise...

  15. Ugh, I HATE Eeyore! He's such a downer! And I think Tigger might have ADHD.

    Anyway, I loved Mother Rabbit's Son Tom when I was a kid. And any Dr. Seuss. I also had a Cinderella book that I loved, just because I loved the mice (Gus was my favorite). When I was older, I loved choose your own adventure books, and my dad used to read classics to us like Treasure Island.

  16. I still pull out "My Side of the Mountain" on occasion and re-read it. And my first mystery is still on my adult book shelf. "The Westing Game." Oh, and the shoe books. "Ballet Shoes" and "Dancing Shoes" and and and. Pippi LONGSTOCKING! And Cheaper by the Dozen. And the Secret Garden. That's the one my mom would bribe me with. "I'll read a chapter if you stop packing your bag." I was ALWAYS trying to run away.

  17. First: love the title reference. Now I've got that song stuck in my head, but I don't mind. I love that whole album. :-)

    Books! Anything by Remy Charlip. Arm in Arm was a favorite growing up, as was Mother Mother I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor, Quick Quick Quick! All his stuff is awesome.

    Oh, and anything at all by William Steig. The Amazing Bone springs to mind. Also, Abel's Island.

    And Beatrix Potter! She was a genius with the words and the illustrations. And Tasha Tudor! omg! We started using her advent calendar last year, and it was so much fun. Little M loved it. I don't know all her books but the few I know, I love.

    I could talk about children's books all day long.

    Also: oh SO CUTE he is so cute! In the chair! It makes him look like a little baby again. So cute.

  18. I love Ferdinand the Bull, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, Three Brave Women, and White Dynamite and Curly Kidd

  19. I work at an elementary school, so this is basically my life. I am always like "what are you reading?" to the kids, mostly because I love it when they are reading something I LOOOOOOVED at their age, I love that they remind me of it and I love being like "I LOVED THAT BOOK TOO! THAT'S A GOOD ONE!"

    I also started reading with one kid I'm working with each week for a treat. I read him The Tub People ( and he loved it so much, he picked to hear it again the next TWO weeks.

    Then we read Corduroy this week. <3

    One book I HATED was "Arthur and the Very Good Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day" or whatever the bloody hell it is called. I went with my mom to my brother's class when he was in 2nd grade and I was in Kindergarten, she was helping 8 billion groups of kids to read, and I could read better than all.of.them. at two years younger, and it was torture to hear them sloooooowly sound out those words over and over.

    I re-read it recently, thinking my blind hatred of it would have dissipated, but it still fucking sucks. Dunno if it's still just me, or if it really does suck though.

  20. see, his name is actually Alexander. Hate him so much I don't even care.

  21. Anything by Shel Silverstein, even the so very hippy-dippy The Giving Tree (doormat, anyone?). And what is probably an Alaskan classic, Blueberries for Sal. Marguerite Henry's Barrier Island books, as well as King of the Wind and Justin Morgan Had A Horse.

  22. I was so glad when Declan started enjoying real books with chapters and everything. We are working our way through Roald Dahl at the moment and it's wonderful. He's also starting to read independently at night after we finish a chapter. I'm going to miss reading to him when he's over it.

    Of course, we're back to the beginning with Erin, which is great. But, like you, there is only so many times I can read The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

    Can't wait to introduce them to my old faves like The Secret Garden.

  23. Oooh, Babar used to scare me, I'm not sure why! My all time favourite was 'Where the Wild Things Are" Still is I think.

    And there is one Dr Seuss that I would spend HOURS looking at. ONe where they have a picnic in a tree top, I forget what it was called!


  24. Oh, and The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark

  25. Pierre: A coutionary tale in five chapters by Maurice Sendak
    Noisy Nora
    Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

    Tons of others....When I think of more I'll le tyou know. I loved Richard Scary too!


  26. Big Red, a story about an Irish Setter Dog. I loved that book to tatters.
    Anything by Enid Blyton, Secret Seven , Famous Five, and my all time fav books were the Magic Faraway Tree stories. To the point where I sent my grandad on a mission looking for some pop toffee candy which was candy that exploded in your mouth (from the elf in the Faraway Tree)...he went into every candy store he could find looking for Pop Toffees lol.
    I also loved Dr Suess, I loved the words and the ryhmes etc.
    Oh and I was a great lover of poetry books when I was a young girl. I still love my childhood poetry books.

  27. I see a lot of my favorites already listed. Owen by Kevin Henkes. The Frances books. Tikki Tikki Tembo. Mike Mulligan. The Little House. Eloise, all the Madelines, especially the Bad Hat. Miss Rumphius. And when he's a little older definitely get him The Dangerous Book for Boys.

  28. i loooved babar and madeline and eloise...though as a grown up i too realized they was quite a bit of commie propaganda in the babar...i still love was one of my faves cause the words were written in "cursive" so i couldnt read it to myself for a really long time...and eloise was my fave for bedtime (mostly due to the fact that it took the longest to read) :-) cheers to our little reader!

  29. ps:; wtf is up with anon there and his boycott?

  30. A Chair for my Mother.

    It is so sweet. I insisted that my niece have a copy.

  31. One Monster After Another, by Mercer Mayer. Ferdinand the Bull. The Lorax. Blueberries for Sal. Are You My Mother? Pretty much anything Seuss.


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