Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Books That Made Me Love Reading

Top Ten Picks is a weekly meme hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings. This week the topic is 'books that made you discover your love of reading'.

Such a fun topic because, as all bookworms know, the next best thing to reading a favorite book is reminiscing about a favorite book.

Like many bookworms, my love for books and reading began at a very early age. In fact, I reckon the bookworm trait must be encoded in my DNA. Of course, my mother did read to me constantly so a lot of nurture in the mix as well... but if I had been raised by wolves I would still be a bookworm... at least, once I returned to civilization and learned to read. ;o)

My Top Ten Picks cover my earliest book memories from age three/four through elementary

1. Wonder Books and Little Golden Books

Like Jillian, these precious little storybooks were a huge part of my toddler and childhood years. Even after I outgrew them, I was still reading them to Little Brother #1 and Little Brother #2.

My mother, angel that she is, kept them all safe and sound. Most are still at her house but I've brought a few home to Oklahoma to read to my little boy. He loves them too.

Wonder Books... I wonder what ever happened to Wonder Books. I found practically no mention of them in a google search other than folks collecting or selling.
Do any of you... ahem....'older' bookworms remember Wonder Books?

A few of my well loved and well read Little Golden Books. I distinctly remember cuddling next to my mother at age three and four while she read So Big and The Little Book to me.... over and over and over. I still remember the thrill of knowing what was coming next in the story and the anticipation I felt as each page was turned. Yep, definitely born a bookworm.

Actually, the Tootle and Love Bug may be Little Brother #1's books... he is five years younger... but I remember reading them for myself. All these Little Golden books cost thiry-nine to forty-nine cents. Hard to believe, isn't it.

Some of Little Brother #2's collection. He is thirteen years younger so these were purchased in the early 80s and cost eighty-nine cents.

A couple of my little boy's books. Today, these cost $2.99... the $2.50 price is a Walmart special.

Oh my, haven't prices changed!

2. Dr. Seuss

I may have been born a bookworm but I wasn't born a reader so I give credit to Dr. Seuss where credit is due.

I vividly remember being boggled by everything in first grade especially reading. Quite nerve wracking, really, when you are expected to perform and it all looks like Greek. I spent most of the year in the Pug reader, the lowest reading group... while gazingly longingly over at the Blue Dilly Dilly group. Yes, I'm still peeved.

After speaking with the teacher, my mother enrolled me in the Dr. Seuss bookclub. Lots of practice reading went on during the summer between first and second grade.

At the beginning of second grade, the teacher called each student to her desk to read aloud to determine which reader they should start in. While waiting nervously for my turn, I whispered my page over and over... each word seemed to make sense... but I lacked confidence. My turn finally arrived and I read the whole page fluently! I was in the top reading group from then on... Whoot Whoot! Take that, Pug!!

Thank you, Mama and Dr. Seuss!

By the way, the books in the photo are my thirty seven year old copies. Apparently, my brothers and I were hard on books.

3. Danny and the Dinosaur

This book was a favorite picture book of many students so was rarely available to check out at the school library. The idea of a museum dinosaur coming to life, befriending a little boy and exploring the city was absolutely enthralling.

4. The Funny Little Woman

This retelling of a Japanese folktale is charming and magical. A funny little woman who makes the best dumplings and always laughs 'Tehehehe' chases a rolling dumpling all the way to the demon underworld. The head demon keeps her as dumpling maker. She finally escapes, sells dumplings and becomes rich. Wow, this story must be where my love of fantasy began.

This picture book was such a favorite that I rechecked it from the school library countless times. I've searched for this book for years but couldn't remember the title... I kept thinking it was 'the runaway dumpling'. No one ever recognized which book I was describing... so frustrating. Finally, this week the Google Gods smiled and I found it! Now, I can buy it for my little bookworm.

Are you familiar with The Funny Little Woman?

5. Little House in the Big Woods

This book was my first beloved chapter book. I read it and the sequels over and over from the end of second grade through middle school. The later books fall more in the YA category.

I loved reading about perky Laura and her family's adventures as they moved farther and farther West in search of a better life.

6. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Isn't Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle the cutest little lady? This series of books kept me laughing during third and fourth grade. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside down house and carries a big bag full of all kind of cures for children's misbehavior and bad habits. She is a parent's dream. If your child has 'gobbley-monia' or 'won't go to bed-itis', just call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

7. Beverly Cleary Books

Oh, how I loved Henry, Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona. I read every Cleary book in my school library. I owned a copy of Ramona The Brave and read it so many times.

8. Bobbsey Twins and Boxcar Children

Yes, I know, different authors, but I just realised this is number eight so must lump some together. These are more favorites that I read from third grade to fifth grade. I loved immersing myself in the adventures of other children and families.

9. Lois Lenski books

Around age nine or ten, I discovered Lois Lenski's regional books at the public library. Strawberry Girl, the best known, is about two girls from feuding families in the early 20th century South becoming friends.

Being from the South, I loved reading Lenski's books. I especially loved that the dialogue was written in various Southern dialects. To this day, I thrill when an author accurately captures a dialect on the written page.

10. Andrew Lang's Colored Fairy Books

Another public library discovery around age nine. Oh, how I loved these fairytales. My library didn't have the whole collection but I remember avidly reading the green, red, blue, yellow, and brown fairy books.

11. Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators

I found this series at the public library too and read it from fourth grade through middle school. These are such deliciously shivery mysteries. The Secret of Terror Castle is the first in the series and I've never forgotten it. Isn't it funny how the covers changed over the years.

Do you know this series? I'll be blogging about The Three Investigators Series in a future Tuesday Treasures post so stay tuned.

What a wonderful experience reminiscing about the early books that cinched my love of reading. Thanks, Jillian!

Drat, I didn't mention A Little Princess and Heidi...


  1. I want want want those green fairy books, seriously they appeal to me now goodness what I would have made of them as an adult.

    I love the scribbles on those books you and you brother made, believe it or not even with the scribbles you still took better care of your books than I did.

  2. I love this list! I haven't had the good fortune to have read everything on it, but I've read (and enjoyed!) several. The one that spurred me to comment, however, was Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. She's awesome. Even now, as a parent, I wish I had her wisdom (and little bit of what must be magic) to solve "problem behaviors" in my own children!! Too bad most of her solutions are a little too silly to work in real life. But they sure sound good in the books . . .

  3. Great list! The Giving Tree is defiantly one of my favorites, I cried the first time I read it.

  4. Ohhh the fairy books. How lovely! I want!

  5. Jessica and Jane-- there are 12 fairy books in the series, each one a different color. The book in the photo is gorgeous isn't it. Believe me the editions I read as a kid from the library looked nothing like that. Just thinking about old library books makes me feel so nostalgic-- I'm going to start collecting the whole series.

  6. Kathy, I'm so pleased you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

    I wish I had Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's wisdom and cures too or that she at least lived right down the road.

    I think I will start reading the first one to my little boy-- couldn't hurt. ;o) Plus, I'd love to see if he finds the books as funny as I did.

  7. Oh I love the fairy tale books! Do you know at all if you can still get them nowadays? I would love to have at least one copy!! And I definitely remember Danny and The Dinosaur!

  8. Great books, they all look like fun reads :)

  9. I think I have just become 8 again. I love the covers you selected; many brought back fond memories of curling up near my grandmother's livingroom window so that the sun would warm me as I read. I cannot count how many time I read Heidi and Black Beauty.

  10. This is nice reading.I remember some of these little books,and remember not to dare leave the grocery store without buying you one.We have The Old Women Who Lived In A Shoe,coverless,torn,maybe even fingerprints,read over and over agin,but still can be read.Oh what fun!

  11. Lesa,funny, but this meme didn't excite me until I read your post. (No insult to any other participant: I haven't read any yet!)

    I was so excited by your choices, and they brought back beautiful memories.

  12. Jillian-- yes, I saw a lot of them for sell on ebay but not the pretty collector's edition. Amazon and Book Depository mainly had paperback versions.

  13. Sari and DeLynne-- Writing this post left me completely nostalgic-- even after 3 days. Thank you for letting me know it bought back special memories for ya'll as well.

  14. MamaGram-- I hope you aren't implying I threw a fit in the grocery store! ;o)

    Oh yes, the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe was one of my favorites. Charming vintage illustration and the children were loved-- no whippings before bed or broth with no bread. The old copy is very fragile and the last page or 2 is missing but I read it to Little T at your house and he loved it too. I'd like to find a new for him.

  15. I loved the writing and scribbles, too. Shows the love. Don't we all go through a phase of writing our name somewhere, too. :)

    I've never heard of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, but will make a note. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Loved reading this post. I agree with every choice you made.

  17. LOVED Henry Huggins!! Actually I loved pretty much anything Beverly Cleary!

    --Jamie at the Broke and the Bookish


Welcome to the yakkity yak box, Book Lovers! Your comments are greatly appreciated so please feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

Comments/questions will receive a response here and visits will be returned as time allows. We are a chatty bunch but also busy with work/school/family so apologies in advance for any delays.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...