So first I find Fashion Beauty Friend Friday and I get a whole new excuse to talk about clothes. Now there’s Top Ten Tuesdays, which will give me an excuse to talk about books!
I might do some of their older prompts since they bring up some interesting topics, but my first entry will be the top 10 favorite books from my childhood, in vaguely chronological order.
1. “Corduroy” by Don Freeman. Corduroy the teddy bear can’t find someone to buy him and take him home until he replaces his missing button. As a little girl, I loved seeing his adventures through the dark after-hours mall.
2. “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I re-read this to test a theory I had, and I can confirm that this made me cry. This is a special story and I hope it lasts many generations.
3. Since it’s the Christmas season, “Jingle Bugs.” I’m not sure this is in print anymore, but oh man, this was hands-down our favorite book during the holidays. Christmas decorations get taken over by cute bugs that light up, sing songs, and pop out of presents. (Honorable mention goes to “The Polar Express.”)
4. “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” by Alvin Schwartz. Creepy stories were made even creepier with twisted, shadowy, cobwebby illustrations by Stephen Gammell. (Apparently the illustrations freaked so many kids out that newer editions have been re-released with less creepy artwork.) I think my favorite story was “Maybe You Will Remember,” in which a girl and her mother are vacationing in Europe and the mother gets sick. The girl goes out to get medicine (or something), but when she comes back, her mother is gone, their hotel room has been emptied, and the hotel staff don’t seem to recognize her. What happened to her mother? Is the girl going crazy? Is the hotel covering something up? Hey, when you’re ten, these things are challenging.
5. Goosebumps by R.L. Stein. I think I was in fourth or fifth grade when the Goosebumps books were huge. I didn’t buy many of them (Wikipedia says there were 62, jeez), but I read a ton. I don’t remember much about them – mostly that they were silly and tended to involve mysterious goop – but hey, I was reading, and I’d be off to bigger and better things soon enough.
6. American Girl. I think these books made up the foundation of my early reading years, and they’re probably somewhat responsible for my love of both historical fiction and fashion (although “What Not To Wear” probably contributed more heavily to the latter). I’ve raved about American Girl books before, and even though Mattel bought the company out a few years ago, it looks like the stories are still popular and respected for the way they address issues ranging from bullying to divorce to racial conflict.
7. “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett. Everyone’s read this, right? I don’t need to tell you about the fantastic illustrations of huge pancakes draped across the city and boats made out of giant sandwiches. I don’t need to reminisce about the brilliance of the story and the glorious celebration of imagination that is this book. Apparently the movie changes things so that the food is a result of some scientific device, not Grandpa’s story, which, in my opinion, ruins all the fun.
8. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. This was another mega-long series that was huge when I was in fifth grade or so, only this time I collected them obsessively. (Anyone else remember the Scholastic book orders?) I wanted to be Rachel (although Jake’s tiger morph was way cooler). I outgrew the series before K.A. Applegate stopped writing then, and I never really got into her spinoff series, but “Animorphs” still hold a place of honor in the library of my mind.
9. “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m still somewhat fixated on these because somehow I skipped a book, or something, and when I started the next one, Mary was blind! I still don’t know what happened to her, or when, because I’ve never been able to figure out which book it was that I missed. I loved the vivid descriptions and all the adventures Wilder recalled: her father escaping on horseback from a puma, Laura falling into the flooding creek and clinging for dear life to the single-plank bridge, her family having to pick up and move sixteen trillion times as politics kept changing. It didn’t hurt that her name was also Laura. Best name ever.
10. “The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton. When I was in middle school, I decided it was time to start reading real grown-up books. The authors I started with? Crichton and Stephen King. I made it through King’s “Insomnia” and about a quarter of “It,” but twelve-year-olds aren’t really cut out for thousand-page horror stories. Crichton, however, remains one of my favorite authors. I read nearly everything he’d written in one year. “Andromeda Strain” always creeped me out because it was less blatantly fictional than the others. There were never cloned dinosaurs on a tropical island, but there could have been a deadly mystery virus over the skies of Arizona in the 1960s.
Read the other Top Ten Tuesday entries here! What books stand out for you as childhood favorites?