Saturday, February 11, 2006

Children's Books

One of the nice things about having a blog is having complete editorial control. That I should exercise more qualitative restraint might be a valid assertion, but I am the editor and publisher and the decision rests with me. What power!

I've been thinking about children's books. Miss Mila's visit, of course, required some reading. She particularly enjoyed Green Eggs and Ham and Olivia. She is only two, so she likes repetition and the ability to point out things. "Where is Olivia's red bathing suit?" "Dere it is!" I can't wait until her next visit when we will try Eloise by KayThompson. Mother gave my girls their first Eloise book, and it remained one of their favorites and my favorite to read. I also read it to my senior English students where it was received with much the same delight.

When I was young, my favorite books ranged from age appropriate to whatever Mother received from the Book-of-the-Month club. I loved the Box Car Children and Nancy Drew. In the 6th grade, I still read Nancy Drew, but after seeing the movies, I read Exodus and Gone With the Wind. My ability to switch with pleasure from children's to young adult to adult remains.

Our family once went on vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas when I was in the third grade. My memory of the trip consists of the fact that my Aunt Corry gave me The Secret Garden - how wonderful! I can still read and enjoy it, but not without recalling the pleasure of the first occasion, although nothing much else remains in my memory about the trip to Hot Springs.

In the 4th grade, my father said I couldn't bring home another Nancy Drew from the library without bringing something of WORTH. At a complete loss about what was of WORTH, I went to the adult stacks of non-fiction and began bringing home books about archaeology. Still remember the Etruscan necklace with gold as thin as rose petals, Doric and Ionic columns, aquaducts, and pyramids. My father's real purpose was to curtail my reading (he thought it was bad for my weak eyes), but he opened such broad horizons, and my glasses were strengthed every six months.

I read Brief Gaudy Hour a novel about Ann Boleyn at that time, one of my mother's Book-of-the-Month choices. Oh, history and England and fat Henry and Ann disguising her extra finger nail with flowy (sp) sleeves.

Was I a bookish child? Yes, but there was almost nothing on television then. I played hard after school, went to dance and acrobatic lessons, and read at night. Pretty much a live wire that only settled down when given a book. Or when designing houses with English Manor House libraries and long narrow dance studios with a mirrored wall.

My gosh, I've wandered on and away from the original subject,. Editor! Edit!!!


  1. No, no, DON'T edit! I love reading real stream-of-concsiousness stuff like this.

    I love many of the books you loved too.

  2. You would love "Olivia" a little pig who wears only red.

  3. I think it's interesting you remember a vacation to Hot Springs when you were in the third grade. It's still a wonderful town.

    Until my husband got transferred to Hot Springs three years ago, I thought Arkansas was mostly about huntin' and fishin' and the wonderful outdoor life. But that's only the beginning!

    We've been pleasantly surprised by the wealth of cultural gems here in our new home town.

    For example, as professional cellist who used to live only three hours away, I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the first-rate Hot Springs Music Festival, an annual event that attracts 200 pre-professional classical and jazz musicians from around the world.

    (Note: Although I am a travel writer and public relations professional, I am not paid to promote our city nor any of the properties or events I've listed. These are just our personal favorites!)

    Ours is a unique demographic here in Hot Springs, where the median age is 42. A healthy percentage of us have incomes of $100K or more, and we support 12 championship golf courses and 27 non-profit organizations directly related to the visual and performing arts.

    Because the dowtown Historic District has hosted Art Gallery Walks the first Friday of each month for nearly 16 years, Hot Springs was recently named #4 Art Town in America. The 200th Gallery Walk Celebration was held just last weekend.

    There are definitely other great things to do in addition to the Hot Springs Music Festival, held the first two weeks of June each year. Early September brings the annual Bluesfest and Hot Springs Jazzfest.

    By late October, the city swells with nearly 20,000 people for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, one of four preliminary sites for the Academy Awards in the documentary category.

    From January through April, hotels and restaurants are booming with racing fans at Oaklawn Jockey Club, a 102-year-old thoroughbred racetrack.

    Cradled by the Ouachita Mountains, three pristine lakes lure the likes of FLW Bass Fishing Championships. A breathtaking bounty of botanical beauty known as Garvan Woodland Gardens. is located on a 210-acre peninsula of Lake Hamilton.

    Our particularly outstanding accommodations include Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, one of only three Arkansas inns listed on the Select Registry. Many folks enjoy the convenience of Embassy Suites Hot Springs, an all suite hotel adjacent to Summit Arena, was ranked #1 Embassy Suites worldwide for 2004. You'll find adult locals politely congregating in the atrium around the piano bar during happy hour.

    Even our campgrounds are impressive. The Hot Springs National Park KOA recently received the 2005 Franchisee of the Year!

    Looking for lunch? For eclectic urban cuisine, check out the award-winning Cafe 1217, recently featured as one of the best deli's in the country on The Food Network!

    Best of all, Hot Springs is packed with people who understand hospitality. Sure, we have attractions. But without the people who live here, we'd be a ghost town instead of a resort town.

    Local people. Local events. Hot Springs' REAL attraction.

    Come see more of us!

    Rebecca McCormick,
    Executive Editor, Hot Springs Life & Home and Wayne's Mom

  4. My parents took us (me and my sibs) to the drive-in to see Gone with the Wind, I think when I was in the 4th or 5th grade, and I immediately got a copy of the book and read it for the first time. I love children's books too and have a couple of shelves donated to them on the bookcases in my bedroom. I've always loved to read and can't imagine a life without access to books - I would LOVE to have a home with a library!

  5. I Loved Nancy Drew, too, and Harriet the Spy. And reading the Boxcar Children series to Kacy was especially enjoyable...and anything by Dr. Seuss...

    And the only one who should be editing herself is Rebecca McCormick from Hot Springs!

  6. Although Children's Books was always the 'poor relation' in publishing circles I always enjoyed the fact that I HAD to read all those stories. As a child myself read voraciously from the inappropriate Walter Scott to the hugely enjoyable if now seemingly literarily devoid Enid Blyton. I missed out on picture books as a child, but boy did I make up for it as a commissioning editor!

    I still have a decent sized collection, even though I have been clearing out over the past ten years. My favourite author/illustrator remains David McKee with whom I very much enjoyed working.

  7. I read Gone With the Wind in 5th grade and Roots in 6th. Lucky me, my mom was the high school librarian and she figured if I was old enough to be interested in a book I was old enough to read it. My well-worn and loved children's books live in the bookcase in my daughter's room and I visit them frequently.

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