Monday, July 20, 2009

Childhood Friends

"Coolth," said Katharine. "Blessed, blessed coolth."
"That's no word," said Jane.
"It aught to be," said Katharine, pressing on.

This quote is from "Magic by the Lake", by Edward Eagar (I knew you'd recognize it, Susan!). It's one in a series of seven books about children who encounter magic and their adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed them growing up, although I always felt that the kids were a little slow in picking up on the nuances of the magic in each book (each one was a slightly different flavor). I'm going home in a few weeks to see my family, and while I'm very excited to see them, I'm also pretty excited about visiting our library of books. The last time I was home, our immense collection was packed up for the move, and although I got tantalizing glimpses of some old friends, I didn't really have time to get reaquainted. I was a voracious reader as a child, and although I loved playing with my siblings and friends, I received as much enjoyment from spending time with...literary friends as well.
This is one of my oldest friends, and possibly one of my favorite books as a child. As an adult, I've pondered why I connected with Nat Bowditch (who, by the way, is a real person). As I've found other books I really enjoy (The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner, is one), I've discovered a pattern in them. The characters are not often especially strong, or heroic, or lucky, but they are always smart. Surprising, coming from me, right? They are clever, studious, and once they tackle a problem with all their talent and intellect, they succeed. I was never particularly talented in sports or in the physical arena, but I always knew (thanks to my parents and my childhood 'friends') that I could succeed in life by thoughtful application of my knowledge and ability.

Do you have childhood 'friends' that you miss? Maybe you have a little section of children's books in your room so you can visit with them occasionally? What was your favorite book as a child?


  1. Anne of Green Gables. The entire series. Hands down. For a long time I really hated my name and wished I had red hair. Now I just wish I had a Gilbert. :P

  2. I loved the Secret Seven, a series of English books. Imagine my surprise when I discovered as an adult that the kids were a little bit sassy to the adults in their lives and didn't always obey--in fact, they seem a little full of themselves and say quite naughty things. Hmmm....

    I also loved a book called Joe Pole, New American, about an immigrant from Poland whose mother managed to help pay bills by making cookies! I started thinking about it the other day, and thought, "I can get this on Amazon." I loved it.

    By the way, you should look into books about the Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall. You'd like them, Brittany. Very Edward Eagerish.

  3. I've never even heard of Joe Pole, New American. How can that be? I'll see if I can find them at the library here. :)