Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Five

My husband told me about TFYO's day at school yesterday. Apparently when he got there to pick her up, she was sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by her classmates, and she was reading them a book. So, today's Friday Five is dedicated to my child's love of reading to anyone who will listen to her. I think The Rotten Correspondent may have already done this for a Thursday Three, but I'm doing it anyway.

Five Favourite Childhood Books

1. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch and Michael Martenko

I was in Grade two, and this was my favourite book that year. It's about a Princess named Elizabeth who lives in a marvelous castle and has a handsome boyfriend, until a dragon comes along and burns up her stuff and steals the boyfriend, Ronald. She dons the only thing left unburnt, which is a paper bag and goes to get Ronald back. She learns a lesson about pretty boys, and self-reliance. Looking back, I wish these lessons had stuck with me a little better when I was in my twenties. It's now one of TFYO's favourite night-time reads.

2. Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel

I was an early reader, and this was one I had from kindergarten on. It's a grouping of sweet stories about Frog and Toad, and the nice things they do for each other because they are friends. It doesn't matter if it's looking for a lost button, or Frog writing Toad a letter because Toad is bemoaning the fact that he never gets any mail, they always look out for each other.I always had trouble making friends, and so these stories always gave me hope, even as a little kid.

3. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I loved all of the Little House books. Sure, she glossed over some of the more serious matters, but Wilder also gave me a little insight into what it was like to live between 1870 and 1890. I had the whole series, but this one was my favourite, even though it is the bleakest. The family is trapped in town, cut off from the outside world by a series of blizzards. I can still remember reading this book, snuggled down in my bed, with snacks around me, listening to the winter howling outside my own window. I think it was my Grandma and Grampa who bought me the box set of the books when I was about nine years old or so. I can't wait to buy the series for TFYO.

4. Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss

One of the very first books I can remember having read to me, and reading myself. Its silly and short rhymes make for easy reading by even the youngest kids, and I used to crack myself up reading some of the pages. "No, Pat, NO! Don't sit on THAT!" This is also dear to me, because I remember whispering to my little brother when we were small "Hop on Pop" early in the morning, and we'd go jump on our Dad. He wasn't really amused. But I was. This one has been in TFYO's library so long the pages are now dog-eared. She's way beyond reading at this level now, but she still likes to pull it out, and laugh along with the poems every now and again.

5. A tie:

Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

I first read this in sixth grade. I had gone through puberty waaaay before my peers, but I understood Margaret's anxiety. I moved around a lot as a kid, so Margaret trying to fit in at a new school resonated with me. And it was considered slightly naughty by some of the more matronly mothers I knew, which made it that much more attractive. I liked reading about Margaret finding her self-confidence. It helped me fake some of my own, even when I felt like I didn't have any.

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, by Paula Danziger

This booked tied here, because it's a lot like "Are You There God,", in that it deals with a young woman feeling uncertain. I was never skinny, and like Marcy, I always felt big, ungainly and kind of stupid, even though looking back, I know I wasn't. I also appreciate the relationship she has with her English teacher in this book, because it reminds me of countless teachers who encouraged me, and let me know it was okay to be smart, even if other people didn't like me for it.

TFYO isn't ready for these books, yet, but I'm going to be so happy to share them with her when she is.

So, that's my Friday Five, let's hear what books shaped your minds as kids. Which one of you will be the first to admit to Mad Magazine?


bellevelma said...

I have some Little House books on my bookshelf! I thought they were long gone after I'd gone away to college, but my brother is a packrat and kept all my old stuff and sent me the books a while back. A bit moldy and dusty, but I hope to read them to Snags one day. Not sure he'll "suffer" a "girl's book".

I was always a big Nancy Drew fan. And sometime in middle school all the kids were sneakily passing around Judy Blume's Forever. Remember that one?

my two cents said...

Some of my favorites were the Betsy and Billy books by Carolyn Haywood. Beyond that, I can barely remember, but some of the books I loved reading to my kids were the Arthur books by Marc Brown (before the TV show came out). Jen, some books TFYO may like are the Magic Tree House books--I can't remember the author, but my kids LOVED them. The series was much shorter when they were reading them, but my fifteen-year-old daughter still likes to read the new releases when we see them. It takes her about twenty minutes, now! Bellevelma, I found my son liked the Little House books a lot. There is plenty of adventure. This is a bit of a divergence, but one of our favorite family vacations was a driving trip to South Dakota and Minnesota when my kids were five to see some Little House, among other, sites.

My code word is yymmvao which reminds me I need to go make cookies!!

Jillian said...

Fold in A to B

What, Me Worry?

Sorry - I guess I'm the first to reference Mad.

I really only remember one book from when I was a kid - I think I've repressed that portion of my life sufficiently - or so my shrink tells me!

I remember "Charlotte's Web". My mom read it to me and had some unfortunate results - which I'm sure Jen will share at a later date (she has full permission to tell my Wilbur story).

Diana said...

OH! Does your daughter's school do the Scholastic book club sales? If so, you are going to get lots of the books you loved for her. It's where I picked up the Little House set and pretty much all the Beverly Cleary books and scads of others. You hit many of my favorites except the Paper Bag Princess, which I didn't know, but based on what you wrote, I'll have to get it for my daughter. She'll love it. I also read all the Narnia books and the Dragonriders of Pern books until they are falling apart (and still on my book shelf).

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Very strange jen, are we splitting a brain now?? You're not planning on writing about the psychic wildebeest of the Parisian Outback tomorrow, are you??? I love it!!

Favorite kid books -
1) All the Nancy Drews. I once pulled a book report out of my butt the night before it was due by writing about Colonial hidden staircases. Thanks Nancy!

2) All the Little House books,but, like you, The Long Winter is my favorite. I reread it when I need a kick in the behind. I also love Little Town on the Prairie.

3) Champions Don't Cry - I've never been able to find this book as an adult, but it's about a young tennis player trying to make it to her first tournament.

4)Harriet the Spy - Such a buttinski kid. I loved her! And also the fact that she kept such good notes.

5) The mixed up files of Basil E. Frankweiler. I know I'm spelling that wrong somehow. My kids have brought this home as school reading and it makes me feel like a fourth grader again.

Fun topic!

code - okhrjd. Translation, please??

Mya said...

Hi Jen,
You and RC are on the same page today! Charlotte's Web made a big impression on me too. Also, Stig of the Dump, lots of Dr Zeuss stuff, The Hobbit, The Didakoi (sp) by Rumer Godden, I think. Loads of books about ponies, The Famous Five. What a weird combination of books - it's no wonder I've grown up to be such a freak!

Mya x

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, it's funny how so many books I liked have already been mentioned.
Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Stig of the Dump, The Didakoi, The Chronicles of Narnia, Are You There God It's me Margaret which I still have, I remember 'Forever' too.

I also loved Roald Dahl's The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine, Matilda and The BFG, The Secret Garden, The Faraway Tree...

There are so many.
I also remember a rainy caravan holiday when my mum read 'The House that Sailed Away' to us each night.

Ahh the memories.

Fab topic Jen.

Come over and play. I have an award for you.

Jen said...

bellevelma, I do remember Forever, but it was tough to find, quietly removed from our school library if I recall. A friend of mine in high school had it. Her lesbian mom bought it for her.

mytwocentsThanks for the book recommendations! We're always looking for new things to keep TFYO entertained.

Jillian I'm a bad best friend and don't remember the Wilbur story all that well, but didn't it have to do with pork chops or bacon? I think it was bacon.

Diana I remember thos lovely Scholastic book sales. As she's just in Pre-K now, they aren't doing them yet, but I imagine we can look forward to them in another year or so. Props for marrying a Canuck! We're a fun group of people ;-)

RC Actually, I was thinking about the psychic yak of Nepal, which gives prescient milk, so not close to you at all. LOL I liked Nancy Drew as well, but she kind of annoyed me. I was always yelling at the book for her to think things through before opening the door. Although I thought it would be cool to be named George. I'm sure George was secretly a lesbian.

Mya, don't worry about being a freak. You're a lovable freak, and you're in good company here *grin*

JoI'm not familiar with Stig of The Dump, I'm guessing that's a UK thing, but I shall look for it now. I got to Roald Dahl a little late, but I got to him thanks to my brother.

My code word is: iamhnru

I'm a hun, are you? Funny it should mention that....

Dumdad said...

I loved Mad magazine. And DC Comics. And Brit comics like the Beano, the Dandy, Hotspur, Valiant, Beezer etc.

Books: the 7 Narnian books, Lord of the Rings, truckloads of science fiction yarns.

jillian said...

Yes, Jen, it was bacon. We would have oatmeal for breakfast every morning - and one morning (while I was reading Charlotte's Web) I came into the kitchen to discover the most amazing scent... bacon. My fraternal unit, being the *oh how shall I say this* female dog that she is, very nastily informed me that I was, in fact, eating Wilbur. I didn't eat meat for a year.