Thursday, November 25, 2010

Even Older Favs From Even Further Back

My Old Friend Silver Chief

My last post of "Must Reads" (scroll down) began with a section of "Very Old Favorites From Way Back," way back meaning high school in the 70s. I can, however, go back even further than that. One of my oldest handwritten "documents" is my list of 100 favorite books that I read while in the 4th grade.

It's a funny list, printed in pencil on a piece of notebook paper, ranging all over the place from dog books to picture books, from mysteries to biography, from childhood nonsense to pre-teen angst. I thought of re-typing it here on my blog, for the sake of historical preservation, then realized that creating an amazon LISTMANIA! LIST would be so much more fun because it would include all of the old nostalgic cover art. Amazon has "no image available" for a few of the titles, and some of the old illustrations have been updated to something more contemporary.

However, as you will see if you check out LISTMANIA! many are as they ever were, and just the sight of them brought back vivid memories of visit after visit, down the hallway, down the stairs to the library at Intermediate School in Neosho, Missouri, in 1966 - 67. Do you recognize any old favorites?

Picture Books
Where The Wild Things Are
Nine Days To Christmas

American Classics
Charlotte's Web
Stuart Little
The Wizard of Oz

International Favorites
Snipp, Snapp, Snurr
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A couple that I've already mentioned earlier on this blog:
The Birds' Christmas Carol
(8 December 2009: "HOLIDAY FAVORITES" )

The Witch Family
(24 June 2010: "BEEHOLD! BEEGIN! BEE STILL!" )

More Witch Books (a phase?)
Dorri and the Blue Witch
Miss Grimsbee is A Witch

Many Mysteries
everything by Helen Fuller Orton
and Catherine Woolley, author of my favorite Ginny and the Mystery Doll -- an early example of my interest in fictional dolls, leading up to the book I would write 30 years later! See my LISTMANIA! LIST: "Dolls in Literature", including my book, Created in Our Image: The Miniature Body of the Doll as Subject and Object.

Brave Strong Girl Stories
The Jennifer Wish
Becky and the Bandit
The Glass Slipper
by Eleanor Farjeon
(see 30 September 2010: "The Precious Firstlings" )

Families and Sisters
Understood Betsy
The All-of-a-Kind-Family

A Surprise:
One of the mysteries on my 4th grade list ~ The Diamond in the Window, was written by Jane Langton, who wrote Emily Dickinson is Dead, which I read just a few years ago without realizing that it was by the same author as one of my way-back favorites (see 13 September 2009: "Emily From Different Angles"),

and lastly

Animal Books:
Barn Cat by Belle Coates: A token cat story! Though I've always loved cats in real life, I never had a favorite fictional cat . . . well, not until Hello Kitty! came along."

Molly's Miracle by Linell Nash Smith (daughter of Ogden Nash)
I was, and still am, totally enchanted by this gently mystical story of evolutionary time travel in the barnyard world.

and every Silver Chief book ever written. I was a girl who loved cats way more than dogs, yet there was something about Silver Chief and all the other big dogs of the north that drew me in! On my old fourth grade list, I scribbled these words across the top:

"The best books I have ever read are:
Silver Chief Dog of the North
The Return of Silver Chief
Silver Chief to the Rescue
Silver Chief's Revenge
Silver Chief's Big Game Trail

For more of my 4th grade favorites (about 50 of the original 100), go to amazon:

My Fourth Grade Reading List, 1966 -67, first forty


My Fourth Grade Reading List, 1966 - 67, conclusion


  1. Friends wrote on facebook:

    1. I am amazed that you have such documents from all different periods of your life and that you saved them as if you knew there would one day be such a medium as a blog.

    2. Understood Betsy! Understood Betsy! You're the only human being I know who knew and loved that book...yet there must have been many! If only I could tell you the joy I felt just seeing that name in print again, on your blog! Ohhh...Betsy. :...D

  2. Last year I reread several of the Silver Chief books as research for my novel THE SHAME OF WHAT WE ARE, in which the protagonist gets wholly absorbed in these books about the wolfdog, his pal the Mountie, and their adventures in the frozen Northland. I understand why I loved the tales then, in the age of innocence, when I was totally unaware of the hints of racism and sexism, not to mention the author's stylistic excesses. As an adult it's so much harder to find a great story because there's just too much to object to.