Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Children's Books

I just saw this blog post about Nancy Drew's 80th anniversary in print! Wow, that really makes me feel nostalgic for my childhood reading. (Not that I read it 80 years ago or anything, LOL). I loved the Nancy Drew books when I was a kid, mostly for the characters and the historical details like Nancy's little roadster and her chic clothes (the mysteries were pretty easy to figure out...). My parents would buy me a copy of a Nancy book when we went on road trips, and would get mad when I read it in the first hour and then demanded another! Good times. :)






When I was very small, some of my favorite books were the Eloise stories. I wanted to live in a hotel and wreak havoc among the guests! I also had a great fondness for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (the book was totally different from the creepy movie--I still have nightmares about that child chaser!), though my mother hated it because it was very long to read aloud. I remember a book about princesses with massively long hair and a Sesame Street scratch-and-sniff with a very stinky Oscar the Grouch page.







Later I found the Noel Stretfeild "Shoe" books--Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, Theater Shoes, etc and dove into their very English world. It gave me a real love both for English history and culture and the world of the performing arts. (I recently came across a not-too-bad adaptation of Ballet Shoes on Netflix, starring Emma Watson and Emilia Fox. If your kid also loves these books you might want to check this out!). There were also the usual books beloved by bookish girls--Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (though I was appalled at their prissy attitude toward fun things like clothes and parties!), Little House on the Prairie, etc. I was also crazy about the Betsy-Tacy books (I've been seeing these around a lot lately!)





A little later, I discovered Barbara Cartland novels and devoured every copy I could find! (And there were a lot of them). They gave me a real gift in introducing me to a wide variety of historical settings--Regency ballrooms, Lily Langtry's theater, India during the Mutiny, an Elizabethan pirate ship, a gypsy camp--and sending me to the library to check out non-fiction books to learn more. However, they did me a real disservice in my high school dating life when I found out there were NO sardonic dukes among the boys there. Not one.





I also found the "Sunfire" YA historical romances. (I bypassed "Sweet Valley High" entirely, thankfully!). These were American-set books, but they also featured a wide variety of settings and character types--Revolutionary Philadelphia, the Mayflower, Gilded Age New York, 1812 New Orleans, wagon trains, the Triangle factory fire, the Titanic. Each featured a girl (whose name was the title) who had to discover herself and choose between 2 suitors. They were a wonderful gateway to "adult" historical romance!







What were your favorite books growing up???

10 comments:

Kelley Pounds said...

I was learning to read before kindergarten, so books hold some pretty special places in my childhood memories. Aside from the usual fairytale type stories I loved as a little girl, I was a horse book lover: Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy, Star, etc. I even wrote and illustrated my own horse-themed books. Then I discovered The Littles and The Chronicles of Narnia. In middle school and junior high some favorites were Jayne Eyre, Gone With the Wind, Mists of Avalon, 1984, and Brave New World. Eclectic choices, to say the least. And one particular Regency romance I loved in high school was Duchess in Disguise, by Caroline Courtney.

Kelley Pounds said...

And Casper the Friendly Ghost! Can't forget that one. Loved it. LOL

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I devoured Nancy Drew, Encylopedia Brown, Judy Blume, and Madeleine L'Engle before I moved on to Taylor Caldwell, Anya Seton, and Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy/Philippa Carr. I was never a huge fan of Barbara Cartland. I used to wonder why all her heroines stuttered.

makeapeep said...

Looks like a lot of "girl" books! Although, I must say I have always loved "Alice in Wonderland" and "looking Glass." But overall I would say I am (still) a big Seuss fan. My fav?? Today, I would say "If I Ran the Zoo".

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee said...

Kelley, I think all girls go through a horse-book phase! :) I found KM Peyton's "Flambards" at a garage sale once when I was bout 12, and devoured it. I wanted to go fox hunting--until I learned they killed the poor fox, LOL. I also loved "Gone With the Wind" and "Jane Eyre"--the first time I read it I didn't know what it was about, and was shocked--shocked!!--to find the wife in the attic.

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee said...

LOL Elizabeth! I did sometimes wonder if they were asthmatic. :) I think what I loved about them (and I dare not try to read one again to ascertain) was the history and the settings. And they often seemed to have some great clothes. I forgot about Victoria Holt! OMG I loved her books, especially once I found the historical fiction titles.

I sometimes miss that sense of discovery I had about books back then!

beverley said...

I was definitely a Beverly Cleary, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Bobsie Twins girl. I love the series since way back then. :D Love 'em still.

Blythe Gifford said...

Amanda - You pictured one of mine! The Betsy-Tacy series was and is still a favorite. I reread them periodically even today.

MaryC said...

I've already admitted on some blog that I befriended a girl in school for no other reason that her set of Nancy Drew books so I guess that qualifies. *g*
My favorites though were The Happy Hollisters. I received them in the mail - 2 books a month. My happiest day of the month was the day those books arrived.

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee said...

Yay, Blythe! Another Betsy-Tacy fan. :) I would love to go to the B-T conference in Minnesota someday. When I was a kid I wanted to go live in Deep Valley so much...

LOL, Mary! There are worse ways to start a friendship than with a set of Nancy Drew books. :)