A Childlike State

As I launch into a month-long run in Sondheim’s Company at the local community theater, I’m afraid reading has taken a back seat. About all I’m good for is a few distracted pages as I try to key down before a late bedtime.

So I’m especially glad that one of my book groups decided to devote this month to children’s classics. I’ve used this topic with other groups and it always makes for a fantastic meeting. We have so much nostalgia, so many missed treasures, so many core memories. It’s a pleasure to have a chance to explore them. Themes that return book groupers to that wonderful state when they first discovered a love of reading may be my favorite of all topics, especially for groups that need a less challenging the_castle_of_llyrmonth of reading. 

But where to start… my beloved Oz books? An adventure with the Three Investigators? The Hobbit? Another trip Through the Looking Glass? Or back for more nights in the Metropolitan with From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? When I think about this topic, my list grows fast. One of these years I’m going to spend two or three months doing nothing but devouring children’s literature.

the-little-princeBrowsing in our library’s children section I decided to go for some books I’ve always wanted to read but haven’t. Although I’m a fantasy lover, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles never made it into my hands as a child, so my first pick was the third volume in a series I’ve savored as an adult, The Castle of Llyr. I love Alexander’s characters–Taran, the assistant pig-keeper, Princess Eilonwy, the goofy bard Fflewddur Fflam–to name just a few.

Next I grabbed Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Theadventures-of-tintin1 Little Prince, a book that seems to inspire true devotion. Then I found a volume of The Adventures of Tintin. Stephen Spielberg is making a live action film of this before too long, and from what I know about Herge’s classic, it seems like a wonderful match of minds. So that went into my stack too.

I’ll report back after our meeting. I’m curious to see what books my friends will pick. How about you? What three books would you bring to our meeting?

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

1 Comment on "A Childlike State"

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  1. misha says:

    Three is too hard! Any Ramona book by Beverly Cleary. “An Episode of Sparrows” by Rumer Godden. “A Wrinkle in Time” by L’Engle. “Dominic” by William Steig. “The Hobbit”–of course!

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