Wednesday, 2 April 2014

International Children's Book Day

Today, April 2nd, is International Children's Book Day.

My favourite "toys" as a child were BOOKS, period. I had a bookcase chock-a-block full of books. I had a library card and knew how to use it. I won contests in elementary school for reading "the most" books... a Read-A-Thon for a Mutiple Sclerosis charity, I think. (I won a book, of all things! Specifically, an Empire Strikes Back photo book. For posterity's sake, I should mention that TJ Kaminski came in second). My favourite part of the school year was the annual Book Fair. So, for me, this is a difficult choice. As it stands, I could only partially narrow it down; therefore, in no particular order...

I enjoyed:

i) Judy Blume's "Super Fudge" series.
I'm pretty sure I first enjoyed this book courtesy of my fabulous grade two teacher, Mrs. Morton. I quickly read all the Judy Blume books I could get my grubby little paws on.

ii) any stories starring Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, illustration by Lynn Sweat.
I remember  my mom reading these to me as we snuggled together, chuckling along at poor Amelia's klutzy though well-meant antics.

iii) and Polly's Christmas Present (aka The Christmas Puppy) by Irma Wilde.
I checked this out of the Mayerthorpe Public Library over and over again. I was Kindergarten age or younger. I believe it's even where I got the idea to ask Santa for a puppy. He eventually bestowed upon us Holly Berry Crawley... an ugly-but-oh-so-cute little black and white terrier-slash-chihuahua, complete with big red bow who, immediately upon being "found" in the porch (boot room) by my father who claimed he had heard her whining where Santa must have left her, crawled under the toy box in my bedroom and peed on the floor.

iv) The Toothpaste Genie by Sandy Frances Duncan.
I fell in love with this story in elementary school (grade two, I think, but it could have been three) and spread the love one day when I was babysitting my cousin, Jessica, one summer.

v) the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
old, yellow hardcovers... new paperbacks bought here in Canada and overseas... Nancy and the gang teamed up in "double issues" with Hardy Boys... all of them! I still have my collection neatly stored away, in fact! My auntie Sheila gave me my first three Nancy Drews. I remember that I must have been slightly too young for them, even though I was a pretty advanced reader for my age, because I tried to read them and had difficulties. I actually remember thinking "these must be too old for me; I'll just put them away for later". 

vi) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
In grade three, from a stool at the front of the room Ms. Emons read my class a chapter from this novel once a week from a stool and I officially fell in love with the strange and wonderful world of Narnia. Years (and years and years...) later, my now-husband purchased the entire series for me for Christmas one year.

In general, I remember that I loved any and all books with unicorns in them - even better if they had stickers! The Elves and the Shoemaker also captivated me, although I cannot recall which version or author. I had memorized Sleeping Beauty from my mom reading it to me out of my book of fairy tales before the age of two - my mom thought she had a genius on her hands for a brief minute until she realized I skipped a few words here and there. Before kindergarten, I recall getting in serious trouble when I used my scissors to cut up my Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet book. I can actually recall thinking "this is going to be really good when I'm done" but, somehow, it didn't quite work out and my next memory is mom yelling at me in the car on the way to the library with the book carefully taped back together. I had made tiny pieces of it so that craft work was to be commended. As I grew older, I enjoyed the scary novels of Christopher Pike. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle was a classic. Anyway, I could go on for ages reminiscing about the books of my childhood... I will spare you more. For now.

Hubby's all-time fave kid's book was "What Ernie and Bert Did on Summer Vacation" by Patricia Thackray. I have been instructed to purchase immediately if I ever come across a copy for sale.

So... All of this begs the question:

What was YOUR favourite children's book and/or series growing up?