Old friends

Children's Classics

Over at 5 Minutes for Books, we’re hosting a Children’s Classics carnival. Actually, it was yesterday but like everything else, bloggy and otherwise, I am two steps behind. I hope I can still crash the party though somewhat tardy!

Anyway, this month’s theme is classic children’s chapter books, and just like with that bookworm meme I did a few weeks ago, I have enjoyed reminiscing and remembering old friends. Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls, Anne Shirley, Jo March these were my dear friends and I would visit their worlds often as a young girl, reading their stories over and over.

I first discovered Anne of Green Gables in the double wide trailer belonging to our neighbors, a retired couple who would often have our family over for supper. The wife would give me free reign of her bookshelves and there I first plucked LM Montgomery’s classic novel off the shelf. I immediately read my way through all of the “Anne of…” novels, from the Island to Ingleside. I recently re-visited Anne of Green Gables and laughed at Anne’s antics all over again.

I met Jo and the rest of the Little Women at my grandmother’s home, reading the edition that belonged to my mother and her brother and sister. I greatly admired Jo for her tenacity and her compulsion to write. I also loved Little Men and Jo’s Boys, also my grandmother’s, but Little Women remains my favorite. I now own my grandmother’s copy of Little Women that I loved as a girl.

I’m not sure Nancy Drew qualifies as a genuine classic, though Carolyn Keene’s original mystery novels (in contrast to the “new” Nancy Drew) with their vintage yellow binding belong among my all time favorites. Borrowing multiple copies from the library each visit, I devoured them, enjoying a good mystery as much then as I do now. Nancy was smart and had a charming boyfriend Ned–two attributes that ranked high in my young girl’s perspective.

And finally, the quintissential children’s classic is surely the Little House novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved them–LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them. I still own my original set, dog eared and well worn, sure signs of a much loved classic. I was completely obsessed with Laura and her life. One year for Christmas I received a biography of Laura which I pored over with the devotion of a true enthusiast, particularly enthralled with the pictures. My favorite Little House novel was These Happy Golden Years, swooning over Laura and Almanzo’s love story.

Old friends. Dear friends. What about you? Any old friends you’d like to share with us? Check out the Children’s Classics carnival and let us know what books you count as friends as well as see others’ recommendations!


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

12 thoughts on “Old friends”

  1. Okay, I may have to link to this post. I really wanted to do this, but with my mom back in the hospital and losing a night sleep in the ER with her Monday night, I just haven’t had the time or energy. But when I saw this feature, the ones that went through my mind were these 4.My girl is reading “Anne spelled with an e” for her school summer reading project and I’m enjoying the excerpts she reads to me all over again!

  2. You listed all my favorites too! My youngest daughter’s name is Emily Anne simply because of my love for LM Montgomery’s writing. I enjoy findng other women who were touched by these beautiful books in their youth (and even now). Thanks for sharing.

  3. Confirmation that you & I are bosom friends! Love all of these books. I mean, SERIOUSLY LOVE! I have the first season of Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew coming in the mail from Netflix today. Happy dance!

  4. Wonderful books. I LOVED all of these as a girl, particularly LHOTP, Green Gables and Little Women. I have 3 girls – 5, 3 and 1 and I have just started reading them Anne of Green Gables, I think I’m more excited than they are. We are reading the Sterling Classic version that is abridged for younger children. Having just got into chapter books with my oldest, I am returning to these old favorites because I have been dying to read them with her and introduce her to my old friends. Also, I am very concerned about much of the reading material that is put out in chapter books for girls her age, much of it is about older girls and boys, girls being naughty and magic, not what I want to feed her imagination with.

  5. I loved all these books as a girl!!! They still sit on my shelves today. I hope you can stop by. I’ve reviewed The Five Children and It.

  6. Love all of those books. **sigh** wonderful childhood memories. Anne of Green Gables was just on TV the past week or so and I DVR’d it to watch with my 12 yr. old step-daughter. I think we’ll both love it.

  7. What a great post! I smiled the whole time I was reading it, hearing about how you met your “old friends.”My boxed set of the Little House books were among my favorites. Amanda and I read the first two years ago, but she’s now declared them “boring.” Sigh. I’m hoping to encourage her to read some of the later ones, because yes, they are really great.

  8. Like you, I have a worn and dog-eared set of “Little House” books (somewhere in storage). I look forward to sharing them with the kids, now that they are older. Maybe we’ll read them this winter? For now, I’m whetting their appetites with the children’s versions of the “Little House” books, like this one. (Beautiful art on those, by the way.)But truthfully, the series I read and read and read and read was “The Chronicles of Narnia.” I read a TON when I was young, but I read the Chronicles about four times each year.

  9. I still adore my set of dog eared Little House books also. I bought my daughter her own boxed set from a book order and was totally dismayed to discover that they didn’t have the original illustrations! I guess I’ll have to haunt used book stores or something.

  10. I am in the middle of reading Before Green Gables, the book that was written this year about Anne Shirley’s life BEFORE she was sent to Green Gables and I highly recommend it to Anne’s fans.I have written a page, Anne of Green Gables Books By Lucy Maud Montgomery, about Anne’s world, past and present, with tons of information about what is happening in her world that you might like to read. It even includes information on the new television movie that is being released this fall.Brenda

  11. Thank you Lisa…for being behind! I’ve always wanted a kindred spirit. LOLI was behind too. But I had good reason…. was reading a classic to my grandson. I cant’ wait to read to my one year old granddaughter all of these books. In a while of course.

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