Friday, January 27, 2012

Vintage Children's Literature

 I'm always asking my sis, Kate, for recommendations on books.  She's a prolific reader and writer, who is working on her first novel.  This time, I asked her to share (with all of us) why she prefers vintage literature and to guide us to some of her kid-friendly favorites.

For me, the entire justification for a bookshelf's existence lies in pajamas and adventure -- mine or my kids. Sharing the story enlarges the world it occupies. Many of my favorite memories include reading aloud, my kids lounging around me, asking questions. "What's a milkman?" "Why do they keep saying 'Sir'?" "Why don't they just go to the store and buy one?"  I love vintage novels for the opportunity they give me to explain the daily life of another time. After reading the readily available (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Boxcar Children, Freddy the Detective) I looked for others in the same era. Following are some that inspire my family over and over again.

  • Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. The drawings bring the story to life for little kids (I think my youngest was two when I read this to them). Squeaky clean and fear-free adventure tales for boys and girls. Like The Andy Griffith Show in print!
  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Almost a time travel fantasy, but one step better as the characters exist in “modern†(1950s) time, even though they live a turn-of-the-century lifestyle. Inspired my kids to dress up as the main characters for Halloween. Don’t miss the sequel, or the Melendy series, also by Elizabeth Enright.
  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. This book on space travel pre-dates the moon landing. What boy doesn’t want to picture himself on a rocket with his best friend, on a mission to save the world?
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. Pre-vintage and heavy on the morals, this is the city equivalent to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie.  Both books portray solid family values, DIY know-how, and abundant details of households without modern conveniences.
  • My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Fantasy for the very young, this series focused on kindness and adventure won't get dusty on your bookshelf.
Stay posted tomorrow for an amazing use for vintage books--those ones that are less than remarkable but completely beautiful.  You wont want to miss this one!

1 comment:

  1. Like a walk through time, curled up on your bed reading bedtime stories. Love, Mom