October 14, 2011

Friday Fives: Childhood Favourites

Wow! This was really fun to do! I had a couple books pop into my head right away, but then I had that 'what was the name of that book???' moment where I ended up Googling like a crazy woman. Cue trip down memory lane. The end result: I found more than five. A lot more. I'll try to control myself, though.

1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My mother read this one to my sister and me as children, so it is particularly special. As an adult, I still love this book, though I'm still Team Laurie even after all these years (doesn't help that Christian Friggin' Bale AKA The Dark Knight was cast as Laurie in the most recent version *cat calls*).

2) This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger
A science fiction spoof where a teen is forced to move with her family to a colony on the moon. I remember this book being totally fun and I loved the space shuttle and moon colony settings. I can't help thinking that parts of it have influenced my current WIP. And that's all I'm going to say about that...

3) I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman
What a hilarious book! Seriously, Gordon Korman really understood his target audience (he probably still does too). Every year I spent a week or more at summer camp, so it was a special kind of funny for me. Only, I didn't share his feeling of wanting to go home - I loved the heck out of summer camp and looked forward to it all year.

4) The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin & Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal
I lumped these two together because they are both ginormous series and because I'm a cheater (there were too many books to choose from for this prompt). I LOVED the idea of a group of  friends forming a club for babysitting (despite the fact that my own babysitting experiences were tantamount to torture). As for 'the twins', (this is not a boob reference) at the time I couldn't think of anything greater than being a popular blonde and blue-eyed twin (I'm the exact opposite).

5) Fairy Tales (again, I'm a cheater, but since they're so short I thought I could get away with it)
My favourite fairy tales as a kid - and still as an adult - were The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen and The Twelve Dancing Princesses by The Brothers Grimm. The Fairy & Folk Tales course I took in university was by far my favourite in all my years of schooling. I still love the heck out of fairy tales.

Short Stories
I frequently signed out from the school library In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz (illustrations by Dirk Zimmer). A particular favourite in this book was The Green Ribbon, which was about a girl whose head was held on by a green velvet ribbon tied around her neck (I know, right? What on Earth?!)

Another library book I couldn't get enough of was The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone. I remember loving his frequent repetition of the phrase 'teeny-tiny' (bunny trail: 'klitzeklein' in German) over and over again. It was almost like a tongue twister if you read it fast enough.

Mostly, my reading experience as a child was very sensory in nature. One of my favourite things about reading was actually the smell of the books. To this day I still love that older-library-picture-book smell. I'm sure as a child (and still as an adult) I must have looked like a complete weirdo with my nose literally buried in a book, sniffing the heck out of it. Not that I've ever claimed to be anything otherwise...


  1. I can't believe how I'd forgotten about my love for Paula Danziger's books. I need to find a copy of THIS PLACE HAS NO ATMOSPHERE stat (I wonder if my parents kept mine in the attic?)
    My sister and I were obsessed with THE WILD SWANS. Such a gorgeous book.

  2. Really great picks! I love The Twelve Dancing Princesses!!! Also the Babysitters Club. LOVE!

  3. What lovely choices! I love Little Women still, too. The illustrations for those fairy tales are gorgeous!

  4. Good to know I'm not the only one who has trouble narrowing my choices. :)

    I've not read all of these, but maybe I need to introduce my son to some. Or maybe I just secretly want to read them.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  5. I read tons of fairy tales as a kit. Great choices overall!

  6. I seem to recall a period in my early youth when I read the Anderson and Grimm tales. My interest was especially piqued when I discovered that some/many? of the Grimm tales were sanitized for modern kids (though I'm sure the reference to "ugly sisters" would be more offensive today than the thought of them chopping up their feet to make Cinderella's shoe fit!).

  7. I've got to read that Paula Danzinger book - that's one I missed when I was a kid!

  8. Yes and yes to the BSC and SVH! I loved to read fairy tales as a child too, and now I get to read them to my daughter, who might love them even MORE than I did!

    Great choices, Jaime!

  9. OMG book smell! One of the best parts of my library page job in high school was getting to go up to get books out of storage when patrons wanted them. The whole place reeked of old paper and binding paste--it completely floored me that I was looking at/touching/smelling books that were older than my grandmother. One of the biggest fights I had with my mom as a kid was over a big box of old hardcover books--some set of classics or something that a friend of the family had had in the basement and then gave to us. My mom insisted on throwing out almost all of them because "They smelled old." I freaked--that was almost as alluring as the actual stories! The volume I rescued had The Snow Queen in it, and I read it over and over until it sadly aired out.


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