Weekly Geeks #3: Of mice and horses

Favorite childhood books

This is part two of a three-part response for this week’s Weekly Geeks, in which we were to write about our fond memories of childhood books. In Part I, I talked about books from Dr. Seuss to Dr. Spock and the dogs Clifford and Fletcher. In this part, I continue with more of my favorite childhood books, and in a third part, I will share the memories that were triggered by my reading the posts of other bloggers who participated in this week’s challenge.

This past Monday, as I mentioned in a previous post, I found myself rummaging through boxes of books at my parent’s house, where I came across many of my favorite childhood reads. I wasn’t consciously thinking of this week’s Weekly Geeks challenge, but it seemed to work toward it regardless. In the photo are some of the books that I rediscovered, including the aforementioned How Fletcher Was Hatched by Wende and Harry Devlin (I’m not going to provide a link to Amazon for all of the books like some, because I figure you can choose to use Amazon or ABE or whatever source you so choose, just by way of an aside). Other books in the picture are:

  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien
  • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  • Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • The Great Cheese Conspiracy by Jean Van Leuwen
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In reverse order:

  1. I just remember one of my teachers in elementary school reading this to as a class. I want to say it was fourth grade, but I’m not sure. I only remember it was Mrs. Corson, whom was my teacher in fourth and sixth grades. I fell in love immediately and went on, of course, to read The Lord of the Rings and later The Silmarillion.
  2. Out of all the Dr. Seuss books, for some reason, this was my favorite, even above Green Eggs and Ham (gasp!). My favorite part is when the executioner wants to chop off his head, but can’t, because he won’t remove his hat, or hats as the case may be.
  3. From the back of the book: “Fed up with the slim pickings in their movie-theater home, a gang of three mice, led by Merciless Marvin, decide to hit the Big Time and pull a heist on the Outside. The Target: a cheese store…” It might have been the first book with mice that talked that I read, although it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
  4. Pippi was everything I wasn’t: brash and outspoken. As a child, I was shy and introverted and she said, and did, the most outrageous things that I only wish I could have done.
  5. The story of how horses came to Chincoteague Island off the coast of Maryland was one of my favorites, along with the sequels that Marguerite Henry wrote. It was probably the first of many books with horses with which I fell in love.
  6. This might have been the second or third. I just know I read the entire series. It was the same with another of my favorite series by Jim Kjelgaard, but this one was about dogs, Big Red And Other Dog Stories (one I have in my collection and which I neglected to put in the photo, d’oh).
  7. Another book about mice. To me, what all of these books share are great first lines: “Mrs. Frisby, the head of a family of field mice, lived in an underground house in the vegetable garden of a farmer named Mr. Fitzgibbon.” As a child, I was hooked right there. This wasn’t going to be a normal book, I knew right away.

What was it, and is it, about animals that talk that draw many of us as children? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that our imaginations were, and are, opened to something we all wonder: What would animals say if they could talk? Whatever it is, I know some of my favorite books when I was a child were of animals. Ironically, I had, and still have, a fear of mice and rats, so why I liked reading these books, I still have no idea, but I just know I did.

One response to “Weekly Geeks #3: Of mice and horses

  1. Pingback: Weekly Geeks #4 » The Hidden Side of a Leaf