Friday, July 16, 2010

A Trip to the Past

I've been revisiting my childhood with some of the books I've read lately.  These two are both books I downloaded for free on my Kindle.  My grandmother's house was a huge 3 story Victorian.  The 3rd story was an attic crammed full with all sorts of treasures, and  at least once a week, I'd ask permission to go up to the attic to treasure hunt.  I was fascinated by the old furniture, cast off china, trunks filled with old clothes and keepsakes, what-have-you.  One of my "finds" was a chocolate set:  a pitcher and 6 cups of white china, trimmed with an intricate web of gold.  I was allowed to keep this, and still have it. It's Nipponware, now collectible, although not particularly rare.  But it was the basis for a small collection that I've amassed over the years.  The real treasure, as far as I was concerned, was the collection of old books.  My grandmother was a reader as were the previous occupants of the house, and the attic was filled with books.  I would grab several each time I visited the attic, and each time I went up there, I found a few more.  Most of the books were from the early 1900's and most of them were children's books.  This is where I was introduced to the Bobbsey Twins,  Mary Jane, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, and Prudy, who risked damage to her hearing when tried sticking a knitting needle into one ear to see if what went into one ear came out the other!  Later I discovered some real tearjerkers:  The English Orphans by Marjorie Holmes, and Rainbow Cottage, by Grace Livingston Hill.  I still have many of these books, although SOMEBODY in my family decided Rainbow Cottage was theirs.  Anyway, here are two books I didn't read as a child:

Book #65

 The Bobbsey Twins Go to WashingtonThe Bobbsey Twins Go to Washington by Laura Lee Hope
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was trip down memory lane for me.  I loved The Bobbsey Twins series when I was a kid, and I read all that I could put my hands on.  I had discovered a set of them in my grandmother's attic, and they were all the original editions, published in the early years of the 20th century.  This is a title that I never found.  I loved visiting with Nan and Bert, and Freddie and Flossie.  The plot is simple:  Mr. Bobbsey takes the family to Washington, DC on an extended business trip.  The children go sightseeing, and locate some missing china for an elderly neighbor.  The writing is dated, and certainly reflects the attitudes and culture of the turn of the century. As an adult, I can cringe, but I can also be transported back to my childhood.  This Kindle edition has not been rewritten for present-day children, and as such, would not appeal to present-day young readers.

View all my reviews >>

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I first read Pollyanna, as a youngster, probably around the time the first  Disney movie was released.  I loved the book, probably more because of the movie and my crush on Hayley Mills.  I never read this sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up so when I found it for free for the Kindle, I downloaded it.  As a nostalgia trip, this book was okay.  Otherwise I found it cloying and predictable.  Pollyanna spends a winter in Boston while her aunt and new husband Dr. Chilton head to Europe.  Pollyanna brings the Glad Game to a unhappy wealthy Boston Brahmin, and meets another orphan, this time named Jamie.  There is a missing child mystery that is solved, and of course lots of happy endings.  Pollyanna also falls in love, and after a series of misunderstandings, is happily united with him.  The plot is definitely dated, and the book does not pass muster for inclusion in my classroom library.

And Book #66

I have a few more kids books on my Kindle to read, and I have several more to read/re-read in preparation for teaching 7th grade reading/language arts this year. So stay tuned!

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