Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Thursday, September 20, 2012

C: My Childhood Reading Favorites

Did any of you see this heart-stopping YouTube video?  I first saw it on a news broadcast and only made it through the entire thing because the anchor said at the outset: “Don’t worry—it all ends well.”

I loved seeing this—how the little ducklings would scurry back to the guidance of their mother after their little group was scattered by the wind of passing traffic.  How she would wait on them to regroup before continuing her perilous path.make way for ducklings

It made me think back to one of my favorite childhood books: Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey (1942 Caldecott Award.)  For those of you who don’t know this book, it is  about a family of ducks crossing a city street (with the help of the friendly traffic policeman) to get to the lake at the Boston Public  Gardens. 

The book is famous enough to merit sculpture at the gardens to commemorate it.make way for ducklings scuplpture

Another of my favorites was about Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Marianne (by Virginia Burton, 1939.)  I also loved The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward (1953 Caldecott Award.)  I shared all these with my son.

mike mulligan BiggestBearJPG

As I grew older, my reading interests became more focused.  I was a horse lover from the get-go.  C. W. Anderson’s series on Billy and his pony Blaze were some of my early favorites, not the least because of Anderson’s ubilly and blazenbelievably beautiful and realistic illustrations.  Billy and Blaze had many, many  adventures together, including forest fires and mountain lions.  I so identified with Billy because from age 6 I had my own horses on whom I rode hours at a time on adventures in the miles and miles of wooded trails that surrounded our house.

You may be more familiar with the movie based on these, but Walter Farley wrote a series of books that I devoured.  The black stallion Black Stallion was the first, but there were many, many after: The Black Stallion Returns, the Son of the Black Stallion, the Black Stallion Races, and on and on.  He also added a few books called “The Island Stallion,” about Flame, a beautiful red chestnut who lived—where else?—on an island!

And I cannot leave out Marguerite Henry.  She wrote a whole bunch of books on horses, the most famous of which may be the series on Misty of Chincoteague about the Assateague Island wild ponies and the festival each year where the herd king of the wind must swim to Chincoteague for the auction of some of the herd to keep it thinned.  My personal favorite of Henry’s books was King of the Wind (1949 Newberry Award.)

There were many other books that cultivated my imagination as I was growing up –too many to catalog here!  It is safe to say that I read all the time—now a lifelong habit.  Going back over these in my mind after watching the duckling video gave me a great deal of pleasure.

I can only hope that this video-game age of kids will continue to read, as I did, so that they may have this kind of memory to enjoy in their waning years! 

Let me hear about some of your favorite childhood books!  --C

7 comments:

Vee said...

I know Make Way for Ducklings well. Robert McCloskey was a Maine author. I read the Black Stallion books to my children. My son especially loved them. My own favorites were the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Blueberry Summer, and so many more. Yes, I hope that children are prevented from spending all their free time on the computer or their Leap Frogs.

Vivianne said...

yes, I too read The Black Stallion (oh my, when Ginger dies ! :'-( ) books, and the King of the Wind & Misty ones too. I also remember a book about Seabiscuit ...

Cowgirl V said...

I loved all Marguerite Henry's books and my Jr. High science teacher, Mrs. Potter, was her personal friend! King of the Wind was my very favorite. I loved all the horse books I could find--even though I never owned one myself. The Golden Mare was another favorite as well at the Windy Foot books --Sleigh Bells for Windy Foot and Maple Sugar for Windy Foot.
Cowgirl V

Vickie said...

Hey girls - ME TOO! All the horse books I could get my hands on. I practiced drawing horses from Marguerite Henry's books. One of my faves was a little book called "A Penny's Worth" - about a horse of course. Bobbsey Twins, and when I was very young... Little Black Sambo and The Velveteen Rabbit! Aw, you made me think about books that I haven't thought about in a while. I searched out Little Black Sambo and The Velveteen Rabbit when my kids were young and read it to the them, too. :)

kath001 said...

I love this topic...I may have to hijack the inspiration for a blog post of my own. :) I was such a bookworm. The public library was just a few blocks from my childhood home, and as a latchkey kid (before the term was coined) it was a haven of comfort and security. My favorites were the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald. And any mystery. At home we had a collection of books on great women: Martha Washington, Clara Barton, Sacagewea, Dolly Madison, Amelia Earhart and many more. They were illustrated with lovely silhouettes. I read and reread those many times. Great post...great memories!!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee
I think I read where Mr . McCloskey purchased some wee duckings and observed them over n over in a makeshift " pond" he created using something like a wash basin in order to achieve the level of accuracy he wanted for his illustrations. How I wish all adults could just "see" / experience the WEALTH of children's books available now - approaching all topics with breathtaking illustrations - unbeliable!!!! One can garner both arms full of children books just on topic of The underground Railroad, children struggling to learn how to read, the Holocaust , etc - plus all the new faces that are just delightful !!! ( My face was Little Women.). Just wish everyone knew about all these outstanding books - just an explosion in publishing for children!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry! Shoulda proofed - blaming all errors including face for face on smart phone lol _. Dee

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