This post is a two-for-one special. Firstly, it’s the third (and final) installment in my children’s literature series. In the last post , I reviewed current bestsellers. Here, I’m reviewing some my own favorites I had as a kid. Okay, secondly, it’s the first post in a new series answering the sorts of book questions I’m notorious for asking everyone else. See, two birds, one stone, end of one series, the beginning of something new.
So without further ado, question #1: Favorite childhood book?
Unfortunately, I can’t really answer this one. Aside from childhood lasting roughly eighteen years, during which a person changes dramatically, I have incredible difficulty choosing a book that’s my favorite for any given year, never mind eighteen of them. But if you twist my arm. . .
1. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I know these aren’t really considered kids’ books (except maybe for the second one), but I adored these books as kid—still do, in fact. I loved the adventure, of course, and the characters (Aragorn, Prince Imrahil, and Beregond were my favorites), but I think what I loved most about them was the world. I was endlessly fascinated with the intricacy of Middle-Earth, its history, myths, and languages. In fact, I went on to read mountains of Tolkien’s histories of Middle-Earth. Also, I taught myself Quenya. A little. I only remember tiny snippets of it now, but I learned enough at one point to write a very, very bad poem in it. Sigh. Yes, I know. I’m a geek.
2. Redwall by Brian Jacques
Mice and moles who live in an abbey in the middle of the woods and fight rats and weasels with venerated swords left behind by long-deceased saints? As a kid, I figured books couldn’t get much better than this. And there’s humor, and dialects, and songs. Even better, there’s a whole series. And to my little kid mind, the fact that every book by Jacques is monstrously thick only added to the fun: I didn’t have to leave Matthias and Mariel and Logalog for 400 pages. Yeah, l don’t know how many Redwall books I read, pretty nearly all of them, I think. And since for years (which goes to show how many books there are) my family read these books aloud in the evening, the mere sight of one can send me down the corridors of pleasant nostalgia.
3. The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey and other Cooper Kids stories by Frank Peretti
With the caveat that these books should probably not be allowed in the hands of six-year-olds (though, in my parents’ defense, they bought them for my older brother, and I stole them from him :)), they’re absolutely marvelous for kids (or kids at heart). Excitement, danger, the supernatural, spooky but not toooo spooky, they follow the adventures of two kids, Jay and Lila, as they tag along with their archeologist dad and travel all around the world.
4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Probably, you haven’t lost your parents in a terrible fire, been hunted high and low by an evil relative after your vast fortune, been falsely accused of murder, worked in a lumber factory with only coupons on pay, attended a villainous school where you had to live in a crab and fungus infested shack, sledded down a melting waterfall, been in a pit with hungry lions, or forced to listen to Vice Principal Nero’s horrible violin recitals—all by the tender age of two. Unfortunately, Sunny Baudelaire has, along with her two older siblings, Violet and Klaus. And I’ve just given some of the highlights of their lives. Still through it all, the kids look out for one another, oppose their evil relative without falling into evil themselves, and attempt to discover the secret of their parents’ deaths, all while using Oxford-worthy vocabulary (honestly, I probably learned dozens of words from these books, like penultimate, ersatz, and lachrymose). The only really unfortunate thing about this series is that the last two books nosedive in quality. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
5. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
I remember picking this book up when I was about twelve, and being instantly drawn in. It’s about a twelve-year-old kid named Luke, who commits a capital crime every day just by being alive. You see, in his society, it’s illegal to have more than two kids, and Luke has two older siblings. Initially too fearful of being caught and killed to do anything but hide in his house, Luke eventually finds the courage to make a stand against injustice. It’s the first book in a series.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What were your favorites as kid? Do you still like them now?
Long days and pleasant nights from the Tale-Weaver.
Further posts in the series will include (with a few possible additions):
Least favourite book I read this year (so far)?
Favorite book I’ve read this year?
Favorite fictional character?
Favourite fictional villain?
Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Name a book that you could/would not finish.
What distracts me easily when I’m reading?
Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Most disappointing film adaptation?
I found the list of questions I’m using as a starting-point here .