Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9: One Favorite Book? Ridiculous.

December 9 Reverb Broads Prompt: What was your favorite children's book? courtesy of Niki at

I love this question and yet I cannot answer it properly. I cannot now, nor have I ever been able to choose a favorite book. There are books for different moods. Different needs, different emotions, different feelings, different subjects, different phases of our lives. I don't want to pick a favorite book. I will not. Kassie at 8 or 10 or 13 or 19 or 21 couldn't pick a favorite book. There have been too many. Too many loved and cherished and shared and re-read and fawned over and memorized.

The poetry of Shel Silverstein taught me the flexibility of words, eliciting laughter and the easy joy that could come from reading aloud. Curled up in my bed in my footie pajamas, wet hair all combed out after my bath, reading with my parents, taking turns letting those words tip toe across our tongues. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who simply would not take the garbage out.

Books read to me by teachers in school. Sitting quietly, intently focused on their soft, careful voices as the story unfolded into the closed air of our classroom. Books with dramatic stories of survival and independence, like Island of the Blue Dolphins, that convinced me that somehow, if all of my family and friends disappeared, I could not only survive in the backyard alone with just the dog, but that it might actually be kind of fun.

Little Women taught me about family and made me long for sisters that I would never have. (I did not force my brother to wear a dress. Ok, just the once, he lost the role because he could never play a convincing Amy anyway. Not enough blonde ringlets.) Little Women taught me the ability to forgive and love others even when they have disappointed me, and to feel the tragedy of a death, even a fictional death, so powerful and unfair and futile that I felt as if Beth had just been resting under a blanket on the sofa in my living room moments before she was taken.

Hiding behind that same sofa in our living room, stretched out in front of the incredibly sunny sliding glass doors and devouring tiny book after tiny book of the fanciful and charming Beatrix Potter series. All those little gems of whimsy and Victorian animals fitting in my hand like beloved dolls.

So no. I can't pick a favorite. Why would I have to? There's no desert island in my future. There are new books to be discovered everyday. And that thought makes every day a little brighter and a little sillier and a little better. And I now have a husband to make sure the garbage gets taken out.


jastereo said...

Even if he regrettably forgets on occasion! I don't think I could pick one either but if forced I usually default to the Boxcar Children b/c of how damned excited I was by the fact that..."What, it's not just one book...there are more!"

Emily said...

Oh Shel Silverstein. So wonderful. And you post made me think back to storytime in the library in elementary school. Wow did that just come flooding back to vivid. :)

Maybe you can help me Kassie...I remember reading in late elementary or early middle school a book that took place in a mansion or a museum or something. And there were statues or mysterious paintings or something. I think it was a mystery/ghost-like kind of thing. And I feel like they talked about full moons a lot. Would have been a chapter book...but I was likely not much older than 5-6th grade. Probably younger.

For the life of me, I can't remember what this book was. But certain parts of it are just sizzled into my brain. Is this ringing any bells for you? Could I me vaguer about this? :)

Kassie said...

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler maybe? One of my other favorites that I almost listed here. It was set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and two kids runaway from home and live there for awhile and become fascinated with a statue, supposedly by Michaelangelo? Ringing any bells? I adored that book. Adored!

Jennifer Bergey said...

I love From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! And Shel Silverstein. I want to go read all of these books again. :)

Emily said...

Yeah, I'm googling it all right now and that's the one that's coming up. But I only remember 1 main character. And I feel like it was in San Francisco. I have NO idea why I think that. I'm sure my memory is beyond faulty. I have a feeling I'll never know...

Kassie said...

The mystery makes me think Boxcar children, but that's like a gang of main characters. I have the same issue with a movie that I saw as a little girl about a corset and I can't ever find it, even with google. So strange how our memories work.

AmyK said...

"There are books for different moods. Different needs, different emotions, different feelings, different subjects, different phases of our lives."


Snowfairy said...

I Was only thinking about revisiting Little Women just this week and downloading it, thanks for reminding me.
In my head I was Jo with a smidge of Amy.