Thursday, May 15, 2008

Weekly Geeking (#3) Down Memory Lane

Greetings! Remember me? I blog here!

I'll have a couple of sparkly new reviews this weekend, but until then, I will amuse you (or bore you to tears) with a walk down book memory lane in response to this week's Weekly Geek prompt which asks us to talk about our favorite childhood books. At first I thought this was going to be hard and short post because my memory was failing but then I read a few other people's posts on the topic and that really got my juices flowing, and I came up with more than enough to populate a rather lengthy post.

Literary Feline unwittingly helped me get started because when she sent me the book I won from one of her drawings (thanks again, by the way!), she included a great card with a print from Graeme Base's Animalia which is a book I loved as a kid. My earliest memories of receiving books as presents come from aunt getting me his beautiful (and often interactive!) books for Christmas as well as Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express another childhood favorite. Another that sticks with me to this day, mostly because of its great title is, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - a line of adjectives I continue to use for some of my worst days that gives them a bit of a funny spin (along with repeated resolutions to move to Australia leaving all my problems behind). I also loved, loved Jack Prelutsky's (and Shel Silverstein's) wacky poetry like Something Big Has Been Here. This included one gem entitled, I believe, "The Turkey Shot of the Oven," a hilarious tale of Thanksgiving gone wrong as well as "My Mother Made a Meat Loaf" about some equally unedible food. I can still recite the title poem which, for some reason, I felt I needed to memorize (I was waaaay into memorizing things as a youngster). Humor me while I take a stab at it (and forgive me if my memory isn't serving me well)...

Something big has been here
What it was I do not know
For I did not see it coming
And I did not see it go.
But I hope I never meet it,
If I do I'm in a fix
For it left behind its footprints.
They are size nine fifty six.

When I got a little older I was crazy about Little House on the Prairie. I loved a ton of the Newbery winners - Maniac Magee, The Giver, Shiloh, Number the Stars, Jacob Have I Loved, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (and the rest of its series), Bridge to Terabithia, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Sounder (one my teachers read this aloud to the class), Island of the Blue Dolphins, I could go on and on. Mildred D. Taylor's, Scott O'Dell's, and Ann Rinaldi's books all instilled in me a healthy love for historical fiction. Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic taught me about the Holocaust and helped me develop an interest in reading about it that I have to this day. Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach was another favorite - it's so easy to picture these fantastical things happening from his writing. And Brian Jacques Redwall books. Loved them. Still have a few on Mt. TBR. I loved how the animals had their different dialects and all the incredible things they were always eating and all that triumph of good over evil. I wish it all existed and I could go there.

And The Reluctant God by Pamela F. Service. An ancient almost Pharaoh gets transported to modern day Egypt and then England. I read this again last year and loved it just as much as I did the first time. That's a good book.

I also had a weird obsession with Jack London's White Fang - both the movie and the book. I still remember reading my Apple classics copy from one of those Scholastic book flyers that they were always giving out in school (that I always had to order at least one book from!). We were having a blizzard at the time I was reading it - what atmosphere!

And wrapping up - the guilty pleasure. I loved those R.L. Stine books - not the Goosebumps ones (though I did enjoy them for awhile) - the Fear Street ones - especially this Fear Street Saga trilogy. It was like...R.L. Stine doing historical horror. Great stuff, that. I devoured them.

This post is starting to make me feel like one of those Oscar winners trying to fit everything in before the music starts ("and to every great book I forgot...I love you! Thank you!"). I'm sure I forgot some great ones but I remembered more than I thought I would!

Wow, that was fun. I'm sure everybody else is asleep by now (hey, wake up! You're snoring! Is that drool trailing down your chin? Ew!), but I really enjoyed all this. Makes me want to go back and read it all again, but I can't help but worry that it just won't have the same awesomeness that it had back then when I was reading it for the first time. Some live up to my great memories of them, but some definitely don't. Do your childhood favorites stand the test of time?


  1. This has been such fun reading all the Weekly Geek posts. It's funny, because a lot of the books you mentioned, I never read as a child but have picked up as an adult. The Given, Bridge to Terabithia, Witch of Blackbird Pond. Such wonderful books!!

    Great post!

  2. This was fun! I read all of those award winners you mentioned too, but a lot of them I barely remember now. I want to reread Witch of Blackbird Pond thanks to TY's obsession w/ it. :)

    And I loved those scholastic fliers too! And the book fairs!

  3. White Fang! I must have read that one 10 times! Man, the more of these WG posts I read, the more I want to go back and edit my own post. :)

  4. Oh, you most definitely didn't put me to sleep...that was fun! But for some reason it made me feel really old...probably because I'm now reading so many of those to my kids.

  5. Ah yes, Alexander! I still think of those words to describe a bad day, too. And Animalia is great - Graeme Base is so cool!

  6. Stephanie, I've noticed a few of people's picks I've read only recently, too. It's pretty neat that those same books continue to be good reads even you're no longer a child!

    Eva - I don't remember the finer points of many of them myself. Just that feeling of having really enjoyed them. Yup, those book fairs! I was never not a book hound. LOL!

    Heather - I know - every post I read, I seemed to find another one that I thought "Oh I can't believe I forgot that one! That was great, too!"

    Debi - glad I kept you awake. I hope I get to read some of my favorites to my kids one day!

    tinylittlelibrarian - I love love love Graeme Base. I must have his books in the house here somewhere, yet. I've really got to dig them out, I'm dying to see them again!

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  8. The Redwall books were some of my favourites growing up! I missed this particular weekly geeks, but your post really sent me down childhood books memory lane!

    I’ve tagged you for a meme, if you haven’t already done it!