Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Specific Nonsense

on June 3, 2012

My mother visited this past week. She’ll make it to 84 later this year. She has one sister who will reach 97 this week and another sister who is 85 since January. Hopefully, that leaves me a lot of time to keep reading.

How can you even think of your mother without being reminded of your childhood? I mentioned in an earlier entry that I read a lot as a child. I can’t begin to remember all the books.

My SCBWI chapter has a blog ( in which the bloggers are issuing writing challenges leading up to the annual summer conference. This week’s challenge was to list what you read as a child and why.

All of this has caused me to think some more about that very subject.

My Grandma had an ABC book that was well worn. We used to give her a hard time when she’d try to skip pages.  The rhythm and rhyme drew me in. Mom got very tired of The Little Red Hen and much of Mother Goose, including “The House that Jack Built.” Same type of repetitive rhythms.

I never, ever missed Captain Kangaroo when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the books he introduced, including Curious George and Mike and the Steam Shovel. I suppose the presentation was some of the fascination.

Dr. Seuss was new to the world when I was in grade school. I just missed being born in the same year as Horton Hears a Who! I don’t remember having his books at home much, but the school always had them around. The silliness and word play were evident even to a very young child.

By the time I could read more than a couple of words, I was heavily into horsey books. My third grade teacher read us chapters of Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, who also wrote Misty of Chincoteague. It wasn’t long before a re-read occurred. Animals were a big draw for me.

I ordered as many books from the Scholastic list as my meager budget could handle. Of course, in those days there were many titles for twenty-five cents. I’m not sure of the exact title, but there was another book about horses I know I read at least four times.

Disney’s television shows were another way I got interested in stories. (Television was a big deal in my childhood.) I love adventure, but only if there are good characters involved. Upon seeing The Fighting Prince of Donegal, I immediately had to read the book by Robert T. Reilley. I can never get enough of a good character. In junior high, I was reading Leon Uris novels and Gone with the Wind for the characters. The fact that they were long only made the characters stay around longer. This bloomed into reading a lot of classics. Hardy, Dickens, even Shakespeare. Love them all. Again, I love adventure, but what I love most is a good character.

When my own kids were little, we got to know Berenstain Bears and Richard Scarry very well.

As an adult, I went through stages with Agatha Christie, Dick Francis (still love those horses), Mary Higgins Clark, Susan Howatch, and John Grisham. I’ve read Lord of the Rings multiple times, loving Treebeard  more with each reading. Now, I read a lot of children’s books and do reviews. Many of the books are nonfiction, which I forgot to say I also enjoy. Every once in a while, I still need to read those long epics or re-read an old friend.

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