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» Friday, August 25, 2006
1. What book or books were special to you in your childhood?
All of them? Hon, that would take a another book! :-)
2. What was particularly special or memorable about those books?
I loved animals, especially dogs, and most of my favorite books as a child were about animals. A few of my first books were Lady, a Whitman Tell-a-Tale taken from Lady and the Tramp, another Tell-a-Tale, Lassie's Brave Adventure, and the Little Golden Books version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I had all the Lassie Whitman books, the Albert G. Miller Fury books, Wild Animals I Have Known, More Than Courage (stories about real dogs and horses), Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, The Call of the Wild, etc. Some of my favorite school library books were about animals: Anne H. White's The Story of Serapina, Junket: The Dog Who Liked Everything Just So, and A Dog Called Scholar, the Frances Frost Windy Foot books about a boy and his Shetland pony living in Vermont, Clarence the TV Dog, etc.
I also had many of the classic children's books like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and the Louisa May Alcott books. I loved Rebecca because she was so smart and creative, even under the pressure of her practical aunt, and my favorite Alcott was Eight Cousins, with shy Rose learning to live a more enjoyable life with help from her guardian uncle and her seven boy cousins. I liked stories about kids who did stuff, whether it be solving mysteries or just doing neat stuff around their own house. I liked the older books like the original Bobbsey Twin books, back when they had a horse and carriage instead of a car, because it was fascinating reading about how people in those days lived. Cleaning out the town well? Having a magic lantern show? Building an ice boat? Putting together an Independence Day parade? Watching people be rescued off a sailing ship during a storm? Wow, too cool.
3. Have you re-read any of them as an adult?
Read 'em? I still own 'em, including the library books I loved. Bookfinder.com and Amazon Marketplace is a wonderful thing. I even found a Windy Foot book (Fireworks for Windy Foot) and an Anne White book (The Uninvited Donkey) that I didn't know existed.
4. If so, were the books as good as you remembered them?
Yes, and in some cases even better than I remembered because I knew the historical background behind many of the stories. The Singing Tree and The Chestry Oak are all the more meaningful because I've learned more about the World Wars. A lot of the books are great to read because the children back then had such freedom, not like the regimented daycare/school/adult supervised activities the kids have to do today.
5. What do you think about movies being made out of children's classics (like the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of The Rings, etc.)?
Um, I wouldn't classify LotR as a children's classic, although I know a lot of people read them in junior high! But I think it's fine as long as they stick as closely as they can to the story. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe changed a few things, but stayed pretty faithful to the book, for instance. The new version of Lassie Come Home, Lassie, is quite good, but I wish the producer had not changed so many things. The movie has the spirit of the original, but why not keep closer to the text (and the time period) the way the original did? There is an upcoming "remake" of My Friend Flicka that isn't a remake at allabout the only resemblance to the Mary O'Hara book is that there's a wild horse named Flicka who gets tamed. The main character is a girl instead of a boy and the entire story is changed. Why not just name the horse something else, since it's pretty much an original story. Although there were things about the 1943 version of My Friend Flicka that veered from the book and that I hated, like that obnoxious little girl Hildy, at least it stuck pretty close to the story!