robinellen (on Live Journal) got me thinking with her Friday Five post about some of the lesser known books she read in her youth. Instead of clogging up her comments section with my remembrances, I decided to blog about it today.
I was about eight or nine when I first remember walking into the school library (if I was in there before then, I can't remember it). I recall being overwhelmed by the shelves and shelves of books before me. I think I must have looked frightened for the librarian came up and asked if she could help me. I told her I wanted to check out a book (duh, I'm in the library). She smiled patiently and asked me which book to which I responded with a shrug. Poor librarian probably wanted to throw me out right then. But she didn't. She asked me what books I liked. Again with the shrug. She asked if I liked mysteries. I shook my head and told her I liked horses. Well, she led me over to an aisle and pointed out some books by Marguerite Henry. I chose Misty of Chincoteague. I don't remember how long it took me to read it, but I remember being so excited to get another one. I read Stormy, Misty's Foal next and followed with every last book by Marguerite Henry in the library's possession.
After finishing them, I started over. I even begged/bothered my parents to allow me to purchase Album of Horses from a book order. This book was amazing. It had what seemed to be hundreds of horses (but in reality was probably only a few), descriptions, and, if I remember correctly, stickers of the horses. I was in heaven! After reading through Ms. Henry's books for about the fourth time, the librarian asked me if I wouldn't like to read something else. I wondered, Could there possibly be any books in the library better than these? She asked me if I liked any other animals besides horses and I replied that dogs were okay. She introduced me to Call of the Wild by Jack London. I loved it and followed up with White Fang and Sea Wolf. I can't remember what I moved on to after that, but know I eventually read a couple of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. I didn't care for them much so never read the entire series. I do remember reading more books about horses by Jean Slaughter Doty (technically, I think they were ponies); Summer Pony, and Can I Get There by Candlelight. The horse's name was Candlelight and when the girl rode the horse, up a driveway, she went back in time (I read that one several times as well).
I recently purchased a three pack of Marguerite Henry's books during a Scholastic Book Fair at my kids' elementary school. I haven't opened the package and though I want to, there is a part of me that is frightened.
Why? I loved these books so much as a child and I'm afraid if I re-read them as an adult (and as a writer), I may not like them as much as I did then. I think that would be hard for me to take. LOL
So, Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Justin Morgan Had A Horse remain in their sealed plastic, waiting for the day to come when I will be brave enough to let myself see through adult eyes, the wonderful stories I remember from childhood.