Once a year, our book club reads a children’s book and our young daughters and sons come to the discussion. In the past, we’ve read Charlotte’s Web, Little House in the Big Woods, Anne of Green Gables. This time we read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and met over the weekend to discuss it. As we nibbled on apples with caramel dip and chocolate brownies, we talked about the story. Several of us, including the younger readers, found the repetitive, simple storytelling a little aggravating. But we also liked the humor and adventures that were largely left out of the movie version.
My mom then said she vividly remembers being maybe five years old and my grandmother reading the Oz books to her. She described the delicious anticipation and excitement of discovering them for the first time.
Another book club member then said she had a favorite series of books when she was a child, and it involved a space ship, but she hadn’t been able to find them as an adult. Then when she was at the public library recently, she spotted them on the shelf.
“Now I want to buy them all,” she said.
It happens all the time at the bookstore — we’ll be sorting through used books people have brought in for credit, and one of us will spot a book from our childhood. It doesn’t matter how tattered and worn it is, we have to have it.
The Tawny Scrawny Lion is the picture book that still gives me warm, happy feelings. And The Boxcar Children is the first one I remember reading on my own and having that certain sensation that comes with reading a good book — a sense that you want to crawl into its pages, or that you already have and you never want to leave.
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The Bobbsey Twins. Choose-your-own-adventures. What was the book from your childhood that has stayed with you all these years? Do you have a copy on your shelf?