For the month of June, Friends of Atticus reminisced childhood by taking a look at some of our favorite children’s books. Oh, you didn’t realize that? And you missed them all? Well, we will get you caught up with Scout’s Friends Cheat Sheet.
6.04 The Lorax by Dr. Seuss brought to us by Zach MacDonald
It’s the early nineties and depending on the year I’m five or six or seven.Sesame Street, Teddy Ruxpin, Ninja Turtles and the Raccoons are the coolest things on the air, or at least on the two channels beamed to us from a glorified set of metal prongs called an aerial (for those who bypassed the experience), set in the branches of a tree beside our house. At night those two channels become the territory of my parents, and before long I’m sent up to bed.
Which is when I’d want a story. And very often the story I wanted was The Lorax. Continue reading »
6.04 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak brought to us by Sean Stanhill (23 years younger)
Where the Wild Things Are is my best favorite book. My Uncle Jay gave it to me. I can even read it myself sometimes. Actually, when my Uncle Jay gave me the book, I couldn’t read. But my mom helped me really. Yeah, it’s the first book I ever read by myself! Every night, maybe but, my mom tucked me in and read to me. After some time I started to look more at the words than the pictures. Mom always pointed at the words and that helped her say them, I guess. One day, she asked me to point at the words and she could still say them but I couldn’t. Pointing at the words didn’t help until I started learning the letters. The words on the front, I read those first. After that, W was one of my favorite letters!
I always felt so lucky because I know my mom never sends me to bed without supper like Max’s mom did. Continue reading »
6.06 Struwwelpeter (Shockheaded Peter) by Dr. Heinrick Hoffman brought to us by Leslie J. White
If you are looking for a book of cautionary tales for children, you may find none better than Struwwelpeter, by Dr. Heinrich Hoffman. My husband grew up listening to these dark poems of disobedience and consequence. He and his brothers all affectionately own a copy of this book. Over the years, they have shared many laughs as they remember the horrific stories contained in this book. Continue reading »
6.11 Anansi and the Moss-covered Rock by Eric Kimmel brought to us by Steven Gerner
Magic died. I was 7. I spat out watermelon seeds.
Sweet juicy nectar dribbled and trickled through my fingers, along my arms, pooling on the warm concrete at my feet. I wiggled my sticky toes. I longingly eyed the haphazard collection of seeds.
The pile of seeds grew. The stash of watermelon dwindled. The quiet languid afternoon air rested.
I stood lazy, content, yearning. I fervently wished, willed, and called upon the force to kindle just one seed into a fresh new watermelon for my pleasure. I was not greedy, just a bit unreasonable (George Bernard Shaw would be proud!) in my attempt to bend the world to my will. Continue reading »
6.13 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein brought to us by Holly Tseng
I remember reading The Giving Tree with my mom as a little girl. She usually had moist eyes by the end and sent me off to grab her a tissue. Thanks to her influence (and the local library), I grew up on Shel Silverstein, and he’s arguably my favorite poet.
Now here I am, mid-twenties, teaching English to university students in China, and, though my mom is a hemisphere away, Shel’s still with me. That’s right, you can find good ole’ Shel Silverstein in small-town China. Continue reading »
6.18 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry brought to us by Karen Griffin
For someone who claims to have such good memory, I’m having a difficult time remembering which children’s book was my favorite. However, about four years ago, I was enrolled in a beginner’s French class which required reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). I remember thinking to myself that reading a children’s book was a great way to begin reading actual French literature. I convinced myself that it could not be difficult, as many children’s books have very simple story lines. Continue reading »
6.19 Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman brought to us by John Estes
In playing this game with myself, memories of my early childhood in Morristown Tennessee came rushing back. I remember the joy of sharing a bag of M&M’s with my dad. We would separate them by color before eating them. I remember the disappointment when our neighbor’s dog chewed up my plastic, toy camel, and the shock of being scolded for the freshly applied grass stains on my pants moments before leaving for church. I remember my Sesame Street cassette player, my Jonah and the Whale action figures, and my impressive collection of cowboys & indians & army soldiers & zoo animals (war is complicated). Continue reading »
6.20 The Pout-pout Fish by Deborah Diesen brought to us by Lauren McElwain
Here is a rhythmic tale of a down-and-out fish. One who has given up on life because of the way his face looks. Basically, lips of the Pout-pout fish naturally poke out and turn down like a pout… so day after day, he swims through the ocean community he lives in spreading gloom and doom to whoever he meets. Continue reading »
6.26 Go Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman brought to us by Christopher Lowe
As a child, I was scared of dogs. My brother – three years older – was scared of them, too. There may or may not have been some confrontation with a mean dog when one or both of us were very young. Memory has shuffled all that away so that all I really remember now is the deep and abiding fear that I felt when I came across a dog. Size didn’t matter, nor did temperament. A dog was a dog. And I was afraid of them all.Continue reading »
6.27 Hop and Pop by Dr. Seuss brought to us by Bethany Cheatwood
I was raised to love a good story even before I could read for myself. As far back as I can remember, I recall NaNa’s famous bedtime stories. Sometimes I’d ask for the same one over and over; sometimes I’d ask her to make up a new story. Sometimes I’d ask for her own rendition of my favorite Disney movies. And she always delivered. Even now, years and years later, I can sometimes still hear her voice as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep; I remember her telling me about the jungle boy who outsmarted the tigers or how Sleeping Beauty was awakened by the prince and lived happily ever after. That was just the beginning. Then I started noticing the towering stacks of Daddy’s National Geographic magazines, and I’d flip through the glorious pictures, wishing I knew all about them. I remember wanting to be able to discover stories on my own, and not only that – to find answers to questions I had about things like the National Geographic pictures, to learn about words, to discover other people’s ideas… And reading was what opened the door to all those things I wanted. Continue reading »
6.29 The Lorax by Dr. Suess- An Environmental Perspective by Trey McCain
Yesterday was my last day at work. Nearly a full year has come and gone, and the fellowship is over. For the past year I’ve helped businesses with recycling and composting, ran school programs that provide teachers with environmental curricula and recycling equipment and provided hardware stores and fire departments with information about keeping mercury out of the environment.Continue reading »