Often, we will have books returned to the branch that never belonged to us in the first place. Maybe they came from a different county’s public system, maybe they came from the school, and sometimes they even just come from the public’s personal collections. Either way, they all end up here. Yesterday, we received one such accidental return that really took me back: Harry Allard’s Miss Nelson is Back. I adored these books when I was a kid, and it got me thinking about some of the other books I loved as a kid that don’t really seem to get much circulation these days. Here are just a few.
The Miss Nelson series by Harry Allard
I re-read a few books from this collection today so I could try and remember what I liked so much about them. It’s the subtle humor, the cleverness of Miss Nelson and the so obvious (to us, the wise reader) yet so funny terrible trick of Miss Viola Swamp, the evil substitute designed to trick Miss Nelson’s class into compliance.
The Cranberry series by Wendy and Harry Devlin
I re-read one of these books today too and I think what I loved most about this collection was how homey they felt. It has real morals, some quirky characters, but a real down-home vibe present in both the plot and in the illustrations. I was sad to note that the copy I was reading (and likely others in our library’s collection) would probably be weeded soon because it was more than 20 years old and has little signs of being circulated.
The Froggy series by Johnathan London
Another one I re-read today. I honestly can’t remember what I loved about these so much except that they had relate-able plots, some basic preschool level humor and the main character was a frog so he did everything humans do but in a frog manner (ex.: he ate dinner on a plate at a table but the food was flies).
Eloise by Kay Thompson
I remember getting Eloise for Christmas one year and feeling slightly confused at how long it was for a picture book. But I was enamored with Eloise and her antics and the crazy life she led in a hotel, acting glamorously immature. Also I believe one of the pages folded out and I loved tucking it in and pulling it out to examine all the *bonus* material stored on the lengthened page. I’m not sure – Eloise may still be popular for kids these days but I rarely see it moving around.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Ok Matilda is definitely still reasonably popular with the kids, especially now that another of Dahl’s books, The BFG, is set to become a movie and families are rediscovering Dahl’s work. But I couldn’t make a list of childhood favorites and not include Matilda. I would visit my library every week to check out the movie and my paperback copy was so well-loved that the cover tore off. Matilda was me, and I loved her dearly.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
I *loved* Harriet the Spy. I wanted to be Harriet the Spy. Soon after reading the book I took to carrying around a notebook with me everywhere I went to record my observations. I quickly forgot the task and soon abandoned the notebook, but would go on to pick it back up with the same objective in mind several times before realizing that maybe spy life wasn’t for me. Still, I loved Harriet as a strong, female, no-nonsense role model much in the same way I loved Matilda.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
I think I liked this book because it was kind of weird but also mischevious, it had the spirit of adventure mixed with a healthy dose of intellectualism (the kids locked themselves in a museum after all, and were very resourceful about it). I read this book so many times, though I don’t think at the time I would have admitted it was one of my favorites, because I always thought the name was kind of weird and off-putting.
The Baby-sitter’s Club Series by Ann M. Martin
Who didn’t love the Baby-sitter’s Club? I admired their friendship, drama and resourcefulness, and plus, with 100+ books, the series fueled my budding desire to collect things (who is surprised I went on to be a librarian?). My dad would take me to thrift stores and used book shops, buying them for me in bulk at 10 cents apiece. Sometimes I would forget if I had certain books, resulting in my owning multiple copes. I also branched into the Baby-sitter’s Little Sister series, bringing my collection to astounding numbers. I still can’t bear to part with them and have them all stowed on a bookshelf at my childhood home. In fact, my love for them was so great I may have to do a reflection on them similar to my Harry Potter post last week!
I’m sure there are more books – this may become a recurring series! What were your favorite books that you just don’t see getting as much love today?