Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Random thoughts: Chicken and children's books

The local grocery had fried chicken in the lunchtime hot bar. Yay.

I need to read the rest of Rumer Godden's work. She's my favorite author, but I don't think I've read even half of her books, I suspect because the older I get, the more I perceive the sadness in them. Poor Mr. Plantaganet in  The Dolls' House makes me want to cry now.

I was realizing recently that the best children's books often are sad, in  a way that haunts me more than adult books. Where the Wild Things Are. Peter Pan. A Wrinkle in Time. The Light Princess. Stuart Little and the rest of E.B. White's books. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. A Little Princess. The Velveteen Rabbit. Harriet the Spy. Hitty. Ruth M. Arthur's books. And more and more. For some reason, even the ones with happy endings still leave me with a flavor of sad.

I went Googling for a reminder of what titles make me think this, and found an article about Anne Carroll Moore's work in introducing children's books to libraries. Well, and then it goes on to some controversy. It's an interesting article.

I want a copy of Ruth M. Arthur's The Saracen Lamp. It seems to be extra out of print. Not in the sense of being unavailable, just in the sense of expensive.

I used to check out Ruth M. Arthur's books from the library shelf across from Rumer Godden's books and a few feet down. I spent a lot of time in the children's room. My brain has a hard time accepting that those books are no longer on those shelves, waiting for me.

My favorite book on building dollhouses was upstairs in the adult room, down in the second rank of shelves, roughly in the middle. They rearranged and moved it once. I was dismayed. I own a copy of that one, now. With the correct dust jacket. The correct dust jacket is an important part of the experience of that Mine Mine All Mine I've Got My Own Copy Now Ha! experience.

That is all.


  1. Just last year I finally used some birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift money and bought myself a copy of the (out of print) ridiculous and wonderful "Horrible Hepzibah," in which good things happen to this perfectly awful little girl. Written by Edna Mitchell Preston and illustrated by delightful Ray Cruz (who also did "Alexander and the Terrible, HOrrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"), I still don't know why I love that thing. I just do. In any case... I paid $73 for a beat-up library copy with torn dust jacket, just because that was the only one I could find. And it just makes me happy.

  2. Ooh! I Googled to see the illustrations, and of course you love it. Congratulations on finding a copy. :)