Trust the Gene Genie

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chit Lit

We've been talking children's books lately. Oh, don't worry, you'll do it too once you have kids. And if you don't, you're not good parents. As any writer will tell you. The chitlins right now like the books with pictures. And I don't disagree, I like books with pictures.

Anyway, for the past five years, we've had the tradition at Christmas of getting the girls a children's book Becky and I loved as kids or one that we felt was of high enough quality to warrant a gift-giving gesture. For example, last year we got them "The Little Red Light House and the Great Gray Bridge" of which, Becky's favorite line is still, "Those boys, those boys. This will never happen again." The year Leigh was born we got them the only two children's book Umberto Eco has ever written, "The Bomb and the General" and "The Three Astronauts." I'm pretty proud of that one.

Well, Claire is now in kindergarten and in a couple years will graduate to semi-picture books or even non-picture books. It got Becky and I talking about those books we remember reading or remember being read to us as elementary school students. For Christmas this year, we decided we would start with the granddaddy of the them all and buy them "The Chronicles of Narnia." But not the new Harper-Collins edition. Which, we all know is a crime against humainty. Yes, I'm one of those old-school types who believes H-C's decision to republish the series IN A DIFFERENT ORDER is akin to treachery. Oh yes, they betrayed children everywhere. And, to add insult to...another insult, the new books don't look that good. So Beck and I went online and found the old MacMillan paperback editions and bought the whole set for the girls. The artworks pretty cheesey in that neo-late 70's cartoony way, but if it was good enough me, well, it's good enough for anyone else.

Of course, the girls will open them Christmas morning and quickly discover the books have no pictures, which will be funny to us, but I'm sure will not excite Claire and Leigh. But that's the thing, we started with "The Chronicles of Narnia" because, at least "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," was the first novel I ever read. Or rather, had read to me. We used to sit around as a family on -- Saturday nights? Sunday nights? I don't recall -- and listen while my dad read the books and we munched on popcorn and drank little bottles of soda my mom had bought from the local dairy. I can't remember the name of the company, but the pop came in these little 8-oz. glass bottles. It was pretty cool. Anyway, I wasn't much older then than Claire is now. So we figure, within the next year, we could probably start reading them to her and she might actually enjoy it.

It also got me thinking about the books from elementary school. Some of the greatest children and young adult fiction around. Books like "The People in Pineapple Place," "The Eggchild," "Sign of the Beaver," "My Brother Sam Is Dead," "Black and Blue Magic," and even "Hitler Stole Pink Rabit," even though the protaginist is a girl, were just good books that totally captured my imagination.

Anyway, the girls certainly won't be short on things to read as they grow up, and that, of course, is a good thing. What you won't find on their shelves? "Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites." Or "Charly" since I have girls. Poo-poo on you Mr. Jack Weyland.


Urpy said...

I hope you didn't just hurt his feelings.

I got to thinking that the girls should probably have something else from us to open Christmas morning, just in case the Chronicles are a let-down. And then I remembered that we bought the Scripture story DVD from the distribution center. This will be their best Christmas yet!!

Scott's Blog said...

Just curious, but were these soda pops you talk about, "Pop Shoppe" Pops? They had like all kinds of flavors plus unique ones like Lime Rickey.

Anyway we had these as kids too.

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