QotD: Books From My Childhood

What books did you love as a child? 
Submitted by hearts

A Date for Diane
Betty Cavanna

First, let me point out that this question is not age specific.  I am choosing, therefore, to bypass my Betty Cavanna stage which, though I was rather child-like when I read her books (and I read them ALL), occured at a slightly later date.

No.  The books I loved, that inspired my childhood, that I could easily re-read now, are the ones by Edward Eager.  I found out about him this way:  I was 10 years old, sitting in class. To my right were seated two of the smartest, cleverest boys in my grammar school 'year'.  Should I name names?  Yes, I'm sure they're reading my Vox blog.  James Hendry and Roland Greene.  They and their friends were the wits, the 'Souls' of Hancock Park Grammar School.  One of their number had a crush on me, but that's another, far uglier story.

ANYWAY.  One said to the other, 'Have you ever read Edward Eager?'  I never heard the answer, but the question was enough for me.  First chance I got, I took my cumbersome 5'6" frame (full height at 10 years, YESSIR!) to the library and checked out what Eager books I could find.

His stories were clever, humorous, intelligent, human and literate.  The protaganists were invariably a group of children - not in any way exotic, but unique only in the fact that they were strong friends and bookish (their most treasured possessions were their library cards).   But these average children would stumble upon the most wonderful magic adventures - only in such mundane ways that the reader would almost believe that such a thing could also happen to him.  Or her.  OK, me.  Depending on which book you had just read, you would find yourself looking for a nickel on the sidewalk, thinking maybe it would be a magic talisman; or hoping that the weed you saw growing by the sidewalk was actually a sprig of thyme and wondering if somewhere in its leafy heart it would take the time to grant you a wish? 

In short, these books made you think that anything was possible.  What could a child love more?  

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7 responses to “QotD: Books From My Childhood

  1. Ooh, I loved EE too! So imaginative–and way more fun that that pedant, CS Lewis. I've never heard of Betty Cavanna, though.

  2. Oh! How exciting! I will get Edward Eager books now and read them! Why had I never heard of him? I was a constant reader as a child. But, I suppose I was more into the horse books, Nancy Drew and then on to science fiction. EE sounds like a great one to gift my younger cousins' kids with!

  3. I LOVED the whole series, and I can still remember which shelf they resided at Jackson Heights Queens Public library.
    What has been even more fun is giving these books to my nieces to enjoy

  4. Excellent descriptor, BA. You get the feeling that EE took away the best parts of public school with him and left behind all the dogmatic "nobility" that CS Lewis embraced.

  5. Hmmm…Betty Cavanna. BrownA, she wrote the type of stories that a 12 year old romantic could relate to. Love-lorn 16 year olds, and stuff like that. My interest in her can best be explained by the classic excuse: it was a phase I went through.
    Lauri, do buy these books as gifts! They'll be a creative, benign and happy influence for your cousins' children. And as for you: get on to reading them – at once!

  6. I must also read these EE books! I have no idea how I missed them, but my little po-dunk country school didn't have a very extensive library. Still doesn't, so I'll have to get these for my nieces.
    I gave the 9-year old the "Little House" collection and she was enthralled. Yay!

  7. I loved Half Magic, too!

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