Usually it’s wise not to try to recapture one’s childhood by revisiting stories you loved way back when. Trust me, Underdog only works if you’re four years old; the only thing worthwhile about Super Friends is the theme music; and the Curious Geoge books can only be appreciated when you’re reading it to a child you love.
But sometimes it’s worthwhile. For instance, I’m at the library on a tutoring job right now, and while my stupid is occupied rewriting his outline to my satisfaction, I am surfing the Dope. Seeing Nikki Tikki Tavi’s name reminded me of Rudyard Kipling, so I took a moment to Google and read this story, which rocked just as much as it did when I was ten. (I glanced at the videoon YouTube, but it was not as great as the tale. But then, it never is.)
Anyway…that’s just me. Who else has recently re-acquainted himself with a beloved childhood story and found it was as wonderful as memory made it?
I actually just (as in, less than 15 minutes ago) read “The Giving Tree” to Bubster for the first time. I have fond memories of my dad reading it to me when I was small, and I knew he’d love it. I was right; we ended up reading it three times! But that’s fine by me, as I think it’s a very beautiful and moving story.
My all-time favorite, and the first book I ever read, is Muro Leaf’s “Gordon the Goat”, about a (you guessed it!) goat who chooses not to follow the herd. I pull it out and read it every few months, and it’s still as wonderful and magical as it was when I was young. Of course, now that I have an adult perspective, the metaphors in it are very clear and addd yet another layer to my enjoyment.
GREAT thread idea! Am anxious to see what others post. (And I, too, love “Rikki Tikki Tavi”.)
With the youngest set, I find several of the Dr. Seuss books hold their own. Horton Hatches the Egg is one of my favorites, and Oh the Places You’ll Go is a popular graduation gift.
Getting into the childhood chapter book classics, I have gained tremendous respect and admiration for Black Beauty and Charlotte’s Web. Now, as an adult horse-owner, I find the truths in BB all the more poignant, sad, and touching. Multiple owners, multiple levels of care, and winding up dumped at a sale used up and thrown away. Ginger’s spirited nature is beaten out of her, then her body is ruined, then she is ultimately worked to death. 125+ years later, it’s still very much a reality in the horse world. Watching the 1995 film version (truest to the book, IMHO), I started tearing up seeing BB in the sale ring a broken and ruined aged horse, nickering to a beloved early owner. DeathLlama teased me, then later admitted he, too, felt a wave of “Oh, man, that poor horse.” We have both sworn our girls have a home for life–thinking of my Ana looking back at me with those languid eyes breaks my heart.
Charlotte’s Web is fantastically well-written–the language in and of itself is intriguing and amusing. The themes are quite relevant to adults, and the central conflict is quite a bit more complex than it may seem on the surface. Love it–and I might have to reread it now.
I suppose it depends on where childhood ends. Is an 18 year old high school senior the same as a first or second grader?
I loved all five books of The Chronicles of Prydain, read when I was in the fifth grade. Then in sixth grade came The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also loved White’s Charlotte’s Web, already mentioned. Anyone else read The High King’s Daughter, or Taash and the Jesters
? And of course the was, and is, the Narnia books. I so wanted to meet Reepicheep, one of my favorite characters.
YES! My first book! "Mike Mulligan had a steam shovel, a beautiful red steam shovel. Her name was Mary Anne.
Mike Mulligan always said that Mary Anne could dig as much in a day as a hundred men could dig in a week, but he had never been quite sure that this was true."
A news story from 2006 tracked down the child mentioned in the story; the one who came up with the idea that saved Mary Anne, little Dickie Birkenbush. Isn’t that something?
Some of my favorite books from childhood were by the British author Nicholas Stuart Gray: Mainly in Moonlight, Grimbold’s Other World, Over the Hills to Fabylon.
Sadly, Fabylon is apparently an expensive collector’s item these days, and I’ve been unable to track down the edition of Mainly In Moonlight that includes the story “The Star Beast,” which for some reason was omitted from the American printing. One of these days though…
I probably don’t really qualify to contribute to this thread, as I arguably never reached “adulthood” in anything but a purely chronological sense.
Last year, I picked up the original “Peter Pan” by Du Barrie. I had only seen the Disney versions, and the book was surprisingly rich and in places, gruesome in a very subtle way.
A favourite comic of mine is the comic in five parts of Peter Pan by French cartoonist Régis Loisel (1990-2004), an unauthorized prequel comic book. A bawdy, violent series of six albums (two of which won the Angoulême Audience Award), giving Peter Pan’s back story a distinctly Dickensian flavor. The book resembled the comic far more then the Disney version did.
After someone described “The Giving Tree” as “a naieve and tenderhearted person gets serially abused by the self-absorbed person she loves”, I just can’t enjoy it anymore.
However, I gave Number One Nephew “The Monster At The End Of This Book” and despite being so simplistic, it was a fun read. Also, “Click, Clack, Moo”. I’m waiting for the day he outgrows Thomas the Train so we can read some real books, though.
I thought of two more (as well as some that have been mentioned).
“Scuffy the Tugboat” is a Little Golden Book that nobody outside my family seems to have heard of. It’s about a toy boat that sails away from his kid, all the way to the ocean.
“The Boxcar Children” was one that I picked up in second grade, at the request of my dad. I still have my original copy, though some of the pages have come loose from the binding. I so wanted to be those kids!
I still love The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit, although those could be considered adult novels I read them when I was in first grade. As far as simpler stuff, I still like The Rainbow Goblins, If You’re Afraid of the Dark Remember the Night Rainbow, and anything by Shel Silverstein. Ditto anything by William Sleator (Green Futures of Tycho) and Michael Ende (Neverending Story, Momo).