1902 Victorian

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Don't Want to Grow Up

Last night, Darwin got out his trusty smoking chainsaw and cut some limbs off the way overgrown redtips to make room for a little tomato garden with the tomato plants our neighbor gave us. One of the plants already has a tiny green tomato on it.

While he did that, I curled up on the floor in the dining room with the cats to read my new copy of Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which I hadn't read since 5th grade when my friend Robika Modak borrowed it and forgot to return it. (Robika, I hope you Google yourself and find this because I would love to know what you're up to these days. Don't worry, I'm not mad about the book.)

Why is it that books you loved as a kid are always a little disappointing when you read them as an adult? I hope I haven't lost all my imagination and finally become a true grownup.

The book was interesting and all - it's about a teenage boy with special psychic abilities going back in time on the back of a unicorn to change the course of history - but it didn't thrill me to the core the way it once did. I'm still trying to remember what I loved so much about it, but the memory is like a dream that's just out of reach.

In honor of this book and the way I once loved it, here's a list of some of my favorite children's books, the ones I read over and over and still have, their paper covers creased and ragged:
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor (about a poor black family battling racism in 1930s Mississippi)
  • A Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnett (I also adored the Shirley Temple movie)
  • Anne of Green Gables and The Story Girl, by L.M. Montgomery
  • Many Waters, another Madeleine L'Engle, this one about teenage twins accidentally going back to the time of Noah's flood (it didn't hurt that the cover illustration was two hot shirtless guys in the desert ... OK, I was 12, what can you expect?)
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi (about a 12-year-old girl on a ship passage to America in 1832 who gets caught up in a mutiny)
  • The Last Silk Dress, by Ann Rinaldi (set in Richmond during the Civil War)

    Won't you share some of yours? OK, I feel like Mr. Rogers now.

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  • 18 Comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Let's see...

    As a toddler my favorite book was "Goodnight, Moon". I still love MY copy of it, but the new version of it that my little sis has just doesn't do a thing for me.

    I loved the Anne of Green Gables, and Sweet Valley Twins (I think that was what the younger version was called of the Sweet Valley High that I enjoyed in my early teens).

    One book that I borrowed from the library that I really like (and like you, I can't really figure out WHY I like]d it so much) was "Until the End of Summer" by Elizabeth Ogilve. I kind of wish I could get my hands on it but I think its out of print (and originally was called "Amber Ceiling" or something like that.

    And I loved these books that I don't know who wrote them, but the titles were all women's names...and the book of course focused on that one woman (young lady?). They were kind of period (or historical) romances, I guess.

    And my absolute favorite book now (and for the last few years) is "There is a Hair in my dirt. ~A worm's tale" By...Gary Larson?

    I love the cynicism and I love the pictures. Not a book to read to a little kid though. :)

    11:21 AM  
    Becky said...

    My favorite childres book was "Blueberries for Sal". Plink, Plank, Plop. My mom is a third grade teacher and they were cleaning out old cassets a few years ago, and she found a tape of that book. I've got it in my car and everyonce in awhile I pop it in and have a listen.

    12:40 PM  
    heather said...

    As a little kid my favorite was Dr. Seuss' "There's a Wocket in my Pocket" and Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Getting older my favorites were C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" (All 7 of them were read over and over....and over.)

    PS...GREAT POST!

    2:01 PM  
    heather said...

    OOOOOh...forgot one other classic that I loved as a kid...and makes me cry every time I read it as an adult. Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree".

    2:03 PM  
    Kristin said...

    Oh, Anonymous, I so wanted to list Sweet Valley Twins but was too embarrassed! Hee hee. The aforementioned Robika had the whole collection and I would stay up late reading them whenever I spent the night at her house.

    Heather, I adored the Chronicles of Narnia also. And Shel Silverstein ... Becky, you reminded me of the tapes we listened to in 4th grade of Silverstein's poems. My favorite was the one where the kid eats peanut butter and gets his jaws stuck together.

    2:09 PM  
    Beth said...

    I loved the Madeline L'Engle books. I was also a fan of the Anastasia Krupnik series. I still re-read many of them. They make me nostalgic.

    2:44 PM  
    Anonymous said...

    This is embarassing- The Babysitters Club. I had like 120 of them or something. Read and reread over and over again. When I was little, I loved Madeline, as I got older I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, Judy Blume, Bridge to Terabithia, etc. etc. I was quite a bookworm. I'm now rediscovering reading through our neighborhood book club.
    -Amanda

    2:54 PM  
    Patricia W said...

    I read Dracula by Bram Stoker when I was 15. I just happened to pick it up and start reading. It scared the hell out of me but I couldn't put it down until I finished the book. I re-read it a couple of years ago and although it was still scary it just didn't have that paralyzing vein of horror I remembered at 15. I wish I hadn't read it again.

    4:46 PM  
    Jocelyn said...

    Okay, I must mention "The Secret Garden" and C.S. Lewis books, as well as the Grimm Fairie Tales...such wonderful memories.
    I also was a Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie Buff a bit later.

    Thanks for asking :)

    9:01 PM  
    novaks8 said...

    Oh, don't you feel sorry for people who just don't like to read?
    I remember the summer between 4-5 grades and how I read SO many books for the book club at the library. I won a prize and everything.

    I loved the Little House books (and the show),
    any kind of biography, Robert Frost, the children of the Earth series that I snuck from my mom...

    and there was one story that I remember but I can't recall who wrote it or the title!
    It was about a girl who may have been orphaned but she moved into a big brick house and met some neighborhood children. She played with the silverware like they were people.
    If this sounds familiar to anyone I would love to know the author so my daughter can read it.

    :)

    9:54 PM  
    misschrisc said...

    Oh fun! I loved to read as a kid. Anne of Green Gables would be right at the top. The Little House series too. James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Lots of poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and other virtually anonymous writers. Also anything by Judy Blume because my best friend wasn't allowed to read them! They had "adult themes" after all. My mom didn't mind as long as I was reading.

    I started baby S's library 17 years ago and I try to add to it each month which isn't easy to do ordering overseas $$$. I consider it a necessity.

    4:14 AM  
    Kristin said...

    Nancy Drew goes without saying. ;) I adored her. But how could I forget about the Little House books and Charlotte's Web?! Oh, and I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, too.

    Now I love Harry Potter. My mother is always telling me I should write a children's book, but what about? Everybody thinks they can write a children's book.

    9:30 AM  
    Emily said...

    Chronicles of Narnia–I still read them almost every year and enjoy them more as I get older, not less

    The Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon books—also have reread a couple of times as an adult. The Emily books inspired me to be a writer.

    The Wizard of Oz books and all of George McDonald's fairytales. Again, still read 'em.

    Albert Einstein: “If you want brilliant children, read them fairy tales. More brilliant, read them more fairy tales.”

    12:13 PM  
    Kristin said...

    Emily, I adore that quote! I totally agree with you about the Emily of New Moon books ... I reread the first one not long ago, and that one actually still had the same magic because I felt - and still feel - like I have so much in common with little writer Emily.

    12:56 PM  
    Kasmira said...

    I recently re-read "The Diamond in the Window." I remember it as a dreamlike and fantastic book. It was sort of a dull, pretentious read as an adult.

    1:06 PM  
    Deacon Stormfield said...

    I liked John Bellairs (sp?) when I was young-also I reread all of the Tom Swift Series untill they fell to pieces. I recall a book called "The Ghost of Dibble Hollow" that scared me senseless, but I reread it time and again because it was fun to think that such could happen.

    Have fun, and keep drinking that cold Jones Soda Pop

    NMS

    10:08 PM  
    Robika said...

    Kristin Lambert?? This is the thief herself!! My mother actually googled my name and found this. Please please write back soon. We need to get in touch!! I always wonder where you are and what you are doing!! I'm sure we still have the book if you want it back!! :)

    6:29 PM  
    Anonymous said...

    Hi

    I saw this book for sale in a second hand book shop in Raleigh NC

    pls let me know how much you can pay to get it mailed to you by FEDEX/UPS

    best wishes

    Irv

    10:19 AM  

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