Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Children's Lit

I love children's literature! Lately I've been re-reading some of the books I enjoyed as a child. I don't know if it's the nostalgia factor or if books written back then just really were better than most of the newer stuff. Actually, a lot of the stuff I read when I was growing up (in the '70s) was written in the '40s and '50s.

I didn't start school till I was nearly 7. (The school where I started didn't offer kindergarten at the time.) I learned to read that year and just devoured books! I was reading full-length chapter books by the end of 1st grade. I remember that summer between first and second grade our tiny little library couldn't keep me in books. They would send off for books for me from a larger library in the county. The only books I was really familiar with at the time were the Little House on the Prairie books. I read that whole series that summer, and the librarian picked other books for me.

One book I remember reading was about a little girl who could read minds. I didn't remember the title of the book or much about the plot other than her brothers helping her win a spelling bee by sitting in the audience looking up words in the dictionary so she could read their minds and spell the words correctly. For some reason, I just really enjoyed that story. We moved away before too long and I never had a chance to read that book again, and I never could look for it in other libraries because I didn't remember the title, much less the author.

Imagine my delight last week when this book [The Trouble with Jenny's Ear] just jumped out at me at my favorite local book thrift store. The minute I saw it I just knew it was that book I have been looking for since 1973! And for a quarter! I finally got to re-read it, and guess what? The plot was exactly as I remembered it. Fun!

I also came across a copy of an out-of-print Lois Lenski book, Judy's Journey. I remember reading all of Lois Lenski's books (at least all that I found in the libraries over the years), but these days only a couple are available, even at the library. After I re-read Judy's Journey, I realized why. They wouldn't be considered politically correct any more. Such a shame.

I found a list of Lois Lenski titles and added them to my wish list on www.paperbackswap.com. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some more. I'm also looking for Betsy-Tacy books.

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