Aug 24, 2008

"THE GOOD PEOPLE"

Author Laurel Snyder asked of the blogosphere, "What is your favorite book from childhood?", and I couldn't wait to answer. I have, on my bookshelf, right here in this apartment as I type, a few of my very favorite books from my own childhood, and I'm tickled pick to name them because, let's be frank, dear readers-- how often do we get the chance to talk about books we loved as children? Not nearly enough.

But first, let us talk about Laurel Snyder, because she is quite a force. According to her, she always wanted to write books for kids, but grew up and pretended to be a grownup for a while, went to Iowa Writers' Workshop, attended too many conferences, published in a lot of magazines and websites. Then, she got knocked up and quit her job, and that caused her to dust off her old manuscripts and send them out and, if I may say so, the world of children's books is far better for her having done so. She has two adorable little boys, and is on a personal mission to force writing colonies to admit authors who want to work on quality books for kids (which they hardly ever actually do, so this mission is a very worthy one in my book). And, and, and she has two books for children coming out:

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, the story of Lucy and her best friend Wynston (who happens to be a prince, though that’s not really his fault). As Lucy and Wynston grow up a bit, the King insists Wynston devote his attnetion to the overly-complicated process of princess-finding. Her feelings hurt, Lucy (by law an unsuitable match for the prince) sets out to find her long-lost mother, on the Scratchy Mountains, accompanied only by a sniffly prairie dog and an obstinate young milk cow. Together they learn about friendship, and how to bend, but not break, the rules. Governmental oversimplification? Alleviating passive-aggression? Bending rules? Yes, please.

...and....

Inside The Slidy Diner, a fantastically scary and creepy picture book coming out around Halloween. (Inner child Me jsut did an enthusiastic giggle at the mention of something both creepy, Halloweeny and book-y!) The book is about Edie, who lives at The Slidy Diner as she steers us clear of pumpkin asparagus pie with crunchy-bit toppings (ew!) to give us a seriously greasy spoon experience. Laurel Snyder's words, Jaime Zollars' illustration.

Now, why, you ask, am I so positively delighted about a Halloweeny book? Because when I was a kid, my very favorite books in the world were the late 1960s/early 1970s fabulousness that was the Dorrie The Little Witch series by Patricia Combs. Dorrie was a witch, as was her mother, Big Witch, who, by the by, was a single mother and took care of business, stuck it to the man in every story, had a strong sense of what was good and right and just, and lived in a castle. Correction, a magic castle. And Dorrie was a skinny little girl who was very silly and very magical (though she wasn't always sure how to use her magic properly) and she had brown hair and she and her little black kitty, Gink, has many adventures on their own. (Hello, ringing bells?) 1964's Dorrie and The Blue Witch was my absolute favorite, and, sadly, it's one I don't have.

What about you, citizens of blogistan? What was your favorite book as a kid? Now, I'm not going to tag anyone to participate, but rather let you answer for yourselves on your blogs as you see fit. Simply say: Author Laurel Snyder asked of the blogosphere, "What is your favorite book from childhood?" and take it from there...

12 comments:

TheFemGeeek said...

My favorite book was a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov called Earth Is Room Enough. I would read this book over and over. I was especially fascinated by two stories. One titled Hell Fire and the other titled The Immortal Bard. You should really read them.

Anonymous said...

I owned my own hard back book called "Lightfoot the Deer" pre bambi-- when we left California I had to leave it behind, my heart was broken. It wouldn't fit in the car. YA did not yet exist--I read so much as a child, I read The Jungle Book over and over. Linda

Mr Noded said...

I don't recall if this is the first book I read or if someone read it to me but Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel was one of my eary favorites. I gave me a sense of the ability to do the impossible and the ability to look at alternate solutions. Still love it today.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Mulligan_and_His_Steam_Shove.


Mr. Noded

John Kuttenberg said...

While celebrating Laurel's excellence in children's lit let's not forget she is also a first class poet and a queen of collaboration as demonstrated in her anthology Half Life

sparkypoo said...

Fun times. :) The Pippy Longstocking collection was my favorite as a wee lass, and was the book I trained to read on. Another favorite was Big Dog Little Dog.

Angela said...

When I was about six or seven there was a book that I could read to myself, I think it was titled ME AND MY FLYING MACHINE. In this pb a kid builds a flying machine in a garage, but then can't get it out the door -yet still has 'real / imagined' flying adventures.

I'm certainly not doing the story justice on this comment.

But I did LOVE the book!

Laurel said...

Oh, you guys are so awesome!

Mr. Noded, Mike Mulligan is something we reread obsessively in my house right now! Katy and the Big Snow as well.

Mama Sparkypoo said...

sparkypoo forgot about "There Are Rocks in My Socks, Said the Fox to the Ox" and a story about angels called "Sky High". Ms. sparkypoo actually memorized "Sky High" when she was about 2.
My favorite book was "Heidi". I also loved the traditional fairy tales and later read all the books in the Cherry Ames series.

Brianne said...

I wish I had my own blog on which to ramble about childrens' books.

Any book by Roald Dahl spoke to me; I started with The BFG, and then devoured Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Boy, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Danny Champion of the World...

He has such a wicked, macabre sense of humor. For me, his books took me from fluff to the real stuff.

Laurel said...

Brianne,
Any tome you want to ramble, come guest-blog for ME!

Jenny Schwartzberg said...

For lost books from your childhood, I recommend you search online book search engines like http://www.vialibri.net which lists various copies of Dorrie and the Blue Witch as well as Lightfoot the Deer for sale.

It's dangerous stuff. I spend too much time and money tracking childhood favorites down....

I adored the Oz books, all 40+ of them and also read and reread Jean Lee Latham's Carry on, Mr. Bowditch!

Ayse Erin said...

I'm following your lead and have now posted about my favorite childhood book on my blog: http://ayserin.blogspot.com/2008/09/love-story-between-fairy-and-wizard.html