I’m fairly certain that I have been an avid book fan since the moment of my birth, because I honestly don’t remember a part of my life in which I wasn’t being read to or reading. We always had a ton of books in the house and made weekly trips to the public library. I looked forward to it like I was going to Disney World. Having all of these books around was quite handy, because I was quite possibly the world’s worst nap taker. Every afternoon my Mom would be put me in my room for “nap time” and I would lie there reading for an hour. As I got a bit older, I participated in every reading program and contest I could find. I probably read more books than any other child in the history of Pizza Hut’s Book It! program (I just googled this and am so excited that it still exists!). We ate more free personal pan pizzas than you can imagine. I crushed the Sunshine State Young Readers Program every year. There was no way I was going to let some other kid win the free dictionary or lunch with the principal.
Anyone else remember these?
So you get the point, I love books and I love reading.
After an 80s related Facebook post yesterday that mentioned the “Sweet Valley High” series, I started thinking about all of the books I loved as a kid. Since there are so many of them, this is going to have to span multiple posts broken out by age bands. Today I bring to you the books I obsessed over as a young child (up to say, 6 years old).
Number 5: “The Story About Ping” Marjorie Flack 1933
This was the only book at my Mema and Papa’s house. I chose to read this 100+ times instead of looking at the TV Guide.
The story is about a duck named Ping who’s owner takes him and his little duck family out to the lake to feed. When it is time to return to his owner, he is late. Fearing a spanking he hides and is captured by a boy on a boat who intends to serve him to his family for dinner. Luckily, the boy decides to release Ping who ends up returning to his owner as the last duck and receiving the spanking he was trying so hard to avoid.
Moral- Don’t be late. When you mess up, face the consequences.
Number 4: “Mrs. Nelson is Missing” by Harry Allard and James Marshall 1977
I think my mom had this for her preschool class. I thought Mrs. Nelson was so clever.
After Mrs. Nelson’s class behaves especially poorly, she doesn’t show up to teach one day. The class thinks they are in for a treat because now they can really act up. But before they have the chance, the substitute, Miss Viola Swamp, shows up. She is very strict and gives them a lot more work than Mrs. Nelson ever did. The children are miserable . After days of suffering, they go looking for Mrs. Nelson to find out why she hasn’t been in class. The next day Mrs. Nelson returns and the children are happy. It’s revealed to the reader that Viola Swamp was really Mrs. Nelson in disguise.
Moral- Don’t take advantage of those who treat you nicely, because one day you’ll wish you’d been more appreciative.
Number 3: “The Old Man and the Afternoon Cat” by Michaela Munteen 1982
My Mom subscribed to a series of books from Parents magazine. Every month we received a new, exciting book. This one was me and my brother’s favorite from the series. We’d sing the songs all the time.
The story is about a very grumpy old man who basically is miserable about everything in his life. All he does all day is bitch and moan. He even has grumpy songs he sings like this one:
I Hate Birthdays
I hate birthdays, I hate spring,
I hate almost everything.
I can be nasty, mean and grumpy.I like to sleep on a bed that’s lumpy.
I’m all alone, there’s no one but me.
No one that I think about, no one that I see.
No one to ask me, “How was your day?”
I’m all alone and I like it that way!
Then one afternoon in the park, an orange cat befriends him. Everyday he visits the park to nap on the bench with his afternoon cat. One day the cat doesn’t show up. He creates posters and asks people around the town about his missing friend. He learns that his cat is also friends with the school kids, the baker, the grocer, the policeman, and everyone else. Finally he figures out that the cat has been taken to the pound. He rushes to the pound to rescue him and places a tag on his collar so that everyone will know he’s not a stray. He and the entire community are thrilled to have their cat back. And everyday after, he and his cat go to visit all of the new friends the old man has made while looking for his cat.
Moral- Friends are everywhere if you’re open to making them. Animals are awesome friends.
Number 2: “Liza Lou and the Yeller Bellied Swamp” by Mercer Mayer 1976
I checked this one out from the public library so many times that I’m surprised the librarian didn’t just give it to me.
Liza Lou is a little girl who ends up out in the swamp delivering sweet potatoes to her grandmother. She encounters and manages to outwit haunts, gobblygooks, witches, and devils.
Yeller belly cottonmouth,
Possum up a tree,
You can catch the swamp fever
But you can’t catch me.
Moral- Nothing in life is a match for a sharp mind and a daring attitude.
Number 1: “The Secret Inside” by Geoffrey Hayes 1980
My Mom still has this one. It’s not very well known. This book just seemed so magical to me when I was a kid. From the antique cover which was devoid of the standard colorful illustrations to the bizarre story line, I adored everything about this book.
Patrick the bear meets a mysterious innkeeper who shows him the secret of his innermost thoughts. And that’s all I remember. It was such an odd book and I can’t even find much about it online (aside from copies for sale, one of which is $60). Hayes wrote many other books about Patrick the bear. They all look like normal kids books and are widely available. I can’t wait until I visit home so I can reread it.
Moral- We all have secrets? I really don’t recall the exact message.
“Go Dog Go” by P. D. Eastman 1961- This is the first book I read on my own.
Anything by Dr. Seuss- Obviously
“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak 1963 – I remember when the library got a copy of this. It was big and had magical pictures. I was so excited to check it out.
Your turn! What was your favorite book as a kid?
Stay positive & love your life!
Listening to: The Aggrolites – Enemy Dub
Eating: Tomato, mozzarella, and spinach sandwich
Drinking: Blue Monster
Random fact: I was such a bad napper that when in kindergarten I would sometimes have to stay in from recess to take a “second” nap, because me and my friend April talked throughout the entire nap time.