Collecting Childhood Favorites

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Vintage Childhood Finds

I have always loved old books.  I do not see that every changing.  In my opinion there is nothing better than old books; childhood favorites especially sweeten the pot.  For someone who has always been a big reader I truly treasure the books that left an impression on me as a kid.  I will always get a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart when I see a book that left an impact on me.  As I was mostly a library book reader I did not have personal copies of most of my favorites.   I did have some of the books pictured below.  Yes mom.  I know.  I told you to get rid of them.  Looking back on it now I should not have been so hasty in insisting that you just get rid of them.  It would have been great to have my own original copies but c’est la vie.

So let’s explore some of my favorites! 

The expected favorites such as Charlotte’s Web and Little House in the Big Woods are on there.  These are the stories that every child should read.  They have so much to offer and are completely timeless.  I was especially thrilled to find the hardcover copy of Little House in the Big Woods I have.  It is a 1953 hardcover edition with the Garth Williams illustrations.  The illustrations of the Ingalls family that Garth Williams drew for the reprints are how I visualize the books.  They are one in the same.  If I think of popular illustrators of my childhood….I honestly think of Garth Williams.  He did Little House and E.B. White’s books (Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little).

If I had to identify my favorite childhood book it would have to be Matilda. This means that I adore Roald Dahl’s very British writing style that he shared with children all over the world.  I own a few of his books.  I have very specific memories of reading most of them.  My dream book find is a very early edition of Matilda.  I have yet to find it but I know that it will happen some day.  I could easily seek one out online but where is the fun in that?  I did find a lovely 1972 edition Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.  I found this in one of my favorite independent bookstores Hyde Brothers in Fort Wayne Indiana.  Truthfully I hope to find my dream copy of Matilda at that book store.  It will happen someday.

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Copyright 1976

I think that it is safe to assume that Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is a Newbery Award winner that most people have read.  It is such a classic.  I have memories of reading this in school.  Although I have no idea what grade I was in I do have those strong memories flash back when I see this book.  I remember being fascinated by this story of a girl surviving on her own.  As an adult now I am quick to note how rare it was at the time to be presented with a strong girl character.  The main thing that stands out to me is skinning seals and scavenging the shoreline for shellfish.  That entire concept of foraging for food was a novelty to me and to this day it still stands out to me.

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I am not going to deny that when I spotted this at a thrift store I snatched it up so quick…you would have thought The Flash stole it right off the shelf.  Off the top of my head I am not able to tell you what this book is about.  All I know is that I was absolutely obsessed with this cover.  It was creepy, involved ghosts, a stoic white cat and a terrifying doll.  When I was a kid I found weird and creepy things really appealed to me.  Let me put this in perspective….visual perspective…for you.  As a child I was obsessed with Tim Burton films (Beetlejuice and Michael Keaton as Batman) and I could not get enough of Ann Ramsey in Don’t Throw Mama from the Train.

So yea I may have been a weird child.  Here is the description for The Doll in the Garden.

“She had been warned never to go there but as a ten year old Ashley followed the beautiful white cat through a small opening in the hedge, she stepped into an enchanted place. A place where she might find the answers.  Who is the little girl with golden curls and huge sad eyes? Whose voice cries out in the dark of night? Why does the white cat cast no shadow in the moonlight? Who is the owner of the beautiful old doll found buried in the garden? And if Ashley discovers the truth, can she ever go back?”

Again, I have absolutely no recollection of that plot.  I do not even remember if I was pleased with the book.  I just remember the cover.  The cover is forever imprinted on my brain and a new to me copy resides on my shelf.

Lastly, book #1 of The Baby-sitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin.  Kristy’s Great Idea is where my connection with The Baby-Sitter’s Club all began.  When I was a little girl I was always excited for the gift that my Aunt Dawn would get me.  I would always get money…which meant I got to go to the bookstore in the mall and buy the next Baby-Sittter’s Club book.  Five dollars was just enough to buy a brand new paperback.  I associate The Baby-Sitter’s Club with being able to shop for my own books.  It was my money.  I got to go to the tall shelves filled with brand new books and  choose which book I wanted to take home with me.  It was a big decision that I took very seriously.  I treasure those book buying memories.

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