One of the things I’ve loved about being an uncle is sharing some of the books I read over and over again with my nieces and nephews. It’s fun to visit old friends again or wander the bookstore or library and see which books have withstood the test of time and which ones are no longer still in print.
And with Shortcake, I look forward to sharing those books with her and discovering new favorites.
I will admit I had a tendency to check-out and re-read some of the same set of books over and over again growing up. Some I can still recall the title of, while others I can remember snippets and passages from but I can’t recall the title or author. (And believe me, I’ve spent a few minutes on Google trying to see if I can put together enough pieces to find them!)
- The Ramona books. Ramona Quimby and her family were a staple of my childhood reading. I loved the books and I swear I’ve got a couple of them memorized because I read them so much! If there’s one series I hope to revisit with Shortcake, it’s this one. (And the other Beverly Cleary books including the Henry Huggins novels).
- Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective books. While many grew up on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, I found myself gravitating more toward the Encyclopedia Brown stories. Part of the hook was that each story gave the reader the chance to solve the mystery. You read the story and the flipped to the back of the book for the solution to the crime. I always found it fascinating that Encyclopedia Brown was so much sharper than most of the adults in his world and could easily solve just about any crime based on the clues presented.
- The Great Brain series. Following the adventures of a ten-year-old con-man, the Great Brain novels were a lot of fun. The series had eight entries and I’m pretty sure I read them completely out of order.
- Choose Your Own Adventures novels. These were popular in late elementary school. At the end of each page, you got to determine the next move the second-person narrated character would make. Sometimes it lead to fame, fortune, and adventure, other times it led to certain death (often in horrific fashion). There were some many imitators too, including ones that were based on the Dungeons and Dragons game.
- Where the Red Fern Grows. I read and re-read and re-read this classic story of a boy and his two hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Anne. I vividly recall certain scenes, including the narrator’s grandfather’s reaction when our hero finally earns enough to purchase his hunting dogs, the dogs treeing a raccoon and the final, epic battle with a mountain lion.
- The Amazing Spider-Man comic books. From the time I first saw Spidey on an episode of the Electric Company, I was hooked. About the time I was really into comics and collecting them, Marvel Tales reprinted the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run of Amazing Spider-Man. I didn’t have all of them, but I had enough to love this run. And I still do.
- Amelia Bedelia books. Amelia Bedelia is a maid who often misunderstands what her employers asks of her, often taking their requests or instructions too literally. Hilarity ensues. The first novel includes a moment when her employer asks her to trim the drapes (which we find out means pulling them back later in the day) and Amelia whips out her scissors and literally trims them. I don’t think I read all of the books, but I loved the first couple in the series.
- Collection of Peanuts and Garfield comic strips. I may have checked these out of the library about a million times. But I still loved them and read them over and over again. I would even try and draw my own strips with the characters. One of them involved Snoopy on an inner tube, getting angry because he’s dunked off and biting the inner tube. That last panel sees him looking forlorn as the inner tube deflates. Why Charles Schultz never borrowed this idea for a Sunday comic strip, I’ll never know.
- Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too read-a-long. When I was three years old, I had open heart surgery. I was given this read-a-long book either before or during my hospital stay and I listened to it — a lot. At this point, the Disney read-a-long books including not only the story but music from the Disney version of the material. I had a ton of these, but this was one of my favorites.