Lori's Book Nook

Childhood Faves

Posted on: April 25, 2007

It is an unusual day over at Raincoaster’s blog that I get all nostalgic. Today, she was off on one of her normal rants, and she mentions Il Palio.

No, I’ve never been to Italy (although I want to go). I’ve never dreamed of attending any horse races. Nor am I really the least bit horsey. But, I was a girl who grew up devouring the Marguerite Henry books.  They were good books. And there was always another one to read.

One of my favourites, the plot points still dancing around in my head, was Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio.

What were your favourite kid’s books? And how have they stood the test of time?

17 Responses to "Childhood Faves"

Oh god, I thought I’d imagined that book! I can’t find it anywhere, but I know I read it when I was a wee lass. Love Marguerite Henry! I would totally ride in the Palio if they’d let me (and probably fall off at the first turn!).

My favorite kids’ books from when I was a kid (rules out Mr. H.Potter) are The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which I still re-read when I want to get all nostalgic-like, Prince Caspian, ditto, The Wolves of Willoghby Chase, and The Little White Horse which I cannot find anywhere. My first proto-romance novel was The Sherwood Key, and it’s still damn readable even though I already know who ends up married to whom and how the war turned out.

Also, from the age of six or so I enjoyed Edgar Alan Poe’s short stories. Which accounts for how I turned out.

((hee hee)) I figured you’d have that reaction — you’re horsey, I was pretty sure that Henry was your source, albeit unconsciously, of that Italian race. How often has it come up in conversation as an adult? Almost never with me.

Along with the CS Lewis books, I was also a Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden girl.

As an adult, I (re-?)discovered Paddington Bear…what a delight!

Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Trumpeteer Swan, The Laura Ingalls Wilder series and anything by Madeline L’Engle were all childhood favorites that have held up well.

Oh! How could I have forgotten Laura Ingalls Wilder!?! Slap me with a ruler! (Welcome, Golden Lady!)

Oh god, I avoided “girl books” except Trixie Belden. I did read Nancy Drew, but didn’t enjoy it; she was too perfect. I liked Trixie because she fell off things, made a fool of herself, and still kept going. I didn’t read Laura Ingalls Wilder or Lucy Maude Montgomery, and still have never read Little Women.

Never read Little Women?! You would so be a fan of Jo’s!!

I would rather Jo be a fan of mine…

“Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”

“The Little Red Engine”

“The Little Engine That Could” (original Golden Books artwork)

Rupert Bear

“A Wrinkle in Time”

“Follow My Leader” (About a boy who is blinded by a firecracker)

“Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.” (My embarrassed nod to Judy Blume)

“Treasure Island”

“Red Planet”
(Note: I read much of it in the bookstore when I was about ten. By the time I was twelve and urgently wanted to finish it, I couldn’t find it at all. It was the Carl Lundgren artwork that drew my attention to the copy I finally found in a used bookshop)

The Hardy Boys series.

I think that’s ten. That’ll do.

Which brings to mind…the “Danny Dunn” books, Enid Blyton, Harriet the Spy…

Gosh, we could go on and on.


Some of my favorites were The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (and other Narnia/Lewis books, though LWW was my favorite of thse), The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and the fairly obscure The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. In the “girly” genre, I was partial to The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Island of the Blue Dolphins, plus there was quite a bit of Nancy Drew. Also the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. All of these have mostly weathered quite well, though the parts from The Gammage Cup that scared me as a 9-year-old weren’t nearly as scary to me when I reread it as an adult.

Oh, some of those are ones I’ve not heard of…or maybe I did read them, but they didn’t register too deeply. I did read a lot of random mysteries, gothic romances, and the like.

It was also in my early (pre-?) teens I got into Mary Stewart and her Merlin books.

Oh Goodness. I must admit to some strange stuff. All of AA Milne’s stuff (my ICQ is still “Piglet” but that’s another story – WEG). A slew of pre-WW2 Canadian stuff – Little Women, Pollyanna, The Beekeeper. Then there was Enid Blyton and a little late on, Biggles!

I loved “The Great Brain” series by John D. Fitzgerald and the “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” – which had nothing to do with Hitchcock if I remember correctly. They were both kind of like “Nancy Drew” for boys I guess. I have no idea how well they’ve stood the test of time. My favorite books were those by John Christopher who is the only author I know who wrote dystopian literature for kids. The White Mountains series was my favorite. After all these years I just looked him up and found out that “John Christopher” was a pseudonym and his real name is Samuel Youd. I read them again some years ago and still liked them as much as the first time around.

did you read all the “Little Women” books? “Jo’s Boys” & “Little Men”?
And of course, speaking as a Canadian, the Anne books (all of them). I only read Emily as an adult…missed her as a child. Montgomery herself in the end thoroughly disliked Anne — but she wrote more because of the fans. Her favourite was Emily.

I saw the White Mountain books in the 2ndhand bookstore the other day…I know they’re available, and I’m thinking of picking them up — because they keep coming up in conversation here online, and I do remember, very vaguely, reading at least one of them as a kid. But it’s terribly vague. Must not have been my ‘style’…

Indeed I did read all the Little Women books. My mother was a big fan of them. At that age I was a sponge, soaking up words with little understanding. About a decade ago a theatre group put on an outdoor production of Anne of Green Gables. The venue was one of Perth’s very early buildings, on the banks of the Swan River. The action moved around the building in a series of scenes and the audience followed. Most impressive was the river scene with the floating boat. There was a rise of around twenty feet from the river surface and we all looked down on the floating boat. It gave me an adult view of the story and as a piece of theatre, it worked wonderfully and I can quite see where Mongomery was coming from. sgnd, Piglet.

@Archie a.k.a. “Piglet”
That would have been very cool…I’ve always liked the idea of theatre ‘on the move’. Have you ever seen the Canadian film “Jesus of Montreal”? Centers around a group of actors performing the Passion of Christ around the local church grounds.

I did it. Went out yesterday and bought the White Mountain books!! A whole $6.50 for the three. Not bad. 🙂

No, I have yet to see that film. Every time it has been on in Perth, I have been in the desert. It is going to take some time to play down that piglet thing – – – A very naughty fellow he was!

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