Nostalgia

From top left: George & Martha: Marshall // Caps for Sale: Slobodkina // Fables: Lobel // Sam, Bangs & Moonshine: Ness // Burt Dow, Deep Water Man: McCloskey // The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf: Sciezska // One Morning in Maine: McCloskey // Each Peach, Pear, Plum: Ahlberg // Chicken Soup with Rice: Sendak // Tim & Charlotte: Ardizzone //A Chair for my Mother: Williams

There’s a lot of text in that caption. And this is certainly not all the books I feel nostalgic about. In fact, my favorite book as a child was an “issue book” about new siblings called “Katy Did” in which a little girl blames all the bad things she did to her little brother (by trying to help out her exhausted mother) on her doll Katy. I’m a middle child; guess that one hit the mark. It’s so out of print and obscure I can’t even find a link. But I didn’t try that hard.
I want to talk about these books. It’s still Valentine’s Day, even though WordPress has already decided it is now February 15th. There are still 44 minutes in this day, and this is my Valentine both to my past and books in general.
George & Martha. I cannot look at these books without thinking of my best friend from elementary school, Ashton E. I don’t know her anymore, but on the yellow school bus of my memory she was a brilliant (no, really, she had a super high IQ), funny, artistic, dislexic, colorful, creative, beautiful, awkward, confident creature and I remember her reading this in 2nd grade or something and I was surprised but I didn’t tell her. We used to take sailing together and we capsized the boat two summers in a row. She wanted hair that was dark and curly on top, straight in the middle, and curly at the bottom.
Caps for Sale. I read this book thinking of my mom, shaking her fist like the peddler did, and then the monkeys after him. Monkey see, monkey do!

Fishy Dinner

Fishy Dinner

Fables. My very favorite collection of Aesop’s fables. For some reason, the illustrations have stayed with me all this time. Particularly this one. Whenever I am reminded of this one, I think of the cat dreaming of his fish dinner with butter, lemon and dill (and then it reminds me of a gluttonous friend of mine who manages to stay trim despite her butter addiction).

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine. In my application for school, I was asked to talk about someone who has influenced my work. Here is an excerpt from my essay. “Recently, I rediscovered a book from my childhood: Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine, by Evaline Ness. I remembered every page. Every line and color was as sharp in my memory as it was on the page. The way she used line—looping, thick-thin lines, intersecting not entirely neatly and almost, but not quite, tangling unintelligibly—the unexpected quality of the print—the accidental splot or absence of ink, the hurried frazzled energy of each overlaying image—these have directly inspired my work.”

  Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man. I think of my brothers without a doubt. We loved this book. It’s a sweet story, but it has a craggy old sailor in it. So, obviously, it’s awesome.

  One Morning in Maine

One Morning in Maine

For some reason, I loved the sparkplug more than any other part of this book, and remember this illustration the most. I still don’t know what a sparkplug is.

The others:

Each Peach, Pear, Plum and Chicken Soup with Rice: I can still recite almost the whole thing.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: I totally met Jon Sciezska while wearing an octopus costume. I was 24. And when I was eight, I bought this book from a Scholastic book fair in my elementary school’s library.

Tim & Charlotte and A Chair for my Mother: possibly the two sweetest books ever.
All these books are still in print. So the best thing of all I learned from working in a bookstore? My mom has excellent taste in books. But I could have told you that anyway.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Advertisements