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Grab a book or two…or 10

Grab a book or two…or 10 Grab a book or two…or 10

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I have always loved to read. My fascination with reading began with Little Golden Books. It was such a treat, growing up, to go to the grocery store and carefully thumb through the selections to choose the perfect book. There wasn’t anything better in the world than getting a new book. I still feel that way.

High-quality children’s books were hard to find, at a price people could afford, until these books were first published in 1942, at a whopping 25 cents per volume. The response to these treasured volumes required a third printing of many of the titles, resulting in 1.5 million copies in print by February, 1943.

By Little Golden Books’ 10th anniversary, almost 183 million books had sold. In 1954, they were available for purchase throughout the world, with the exception of the Soviet Union, as they were considered too capitalistic.

One of the main illustrators of these golden-bound tomes was Eloise Wilkin. Her watercolor and colored pencil illustrations portrayed glowing depictions of babies, toddlers and their parents, in idyllic rural and domestic settings. Her woodland babies are extremely charming, as well. The animals look so soft and cuddly, it seems as if they are just waiting for someone to pet them.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas was one of the first books I remember receiving, appropriately, as a Christmas gift. The Poky Little Puppy was a particular favorite because you know…a puppy. It was one of the first 12 titles originally published.

I loved Mickey Mouse’s Picnic, with all the delectable goodies Minnie Mouse had packed into the coolest picnic basket ever. I have a picnic hamper similar to that one, though I’m sure it never contained anything even remotely as delightful.

I still have all my storybooks and they’re still in excellent condition, though a few may be a little dog-eared from the constant loving use they received over the years, but impressive for being 50 plus years old.

As my love for Little Golden Books grew, so did the cost. I realize inflation and printing expenses need to be taken into consideration, but I received a bad case of sticker shock the last time I went to purchase one. Little Golden Books now sell for around $4.99.

Though books are pricey, what a wonderful investment. Toys may be fun, but eventually break or are outgrown; electronics are temperamental and can stop working at any given moment; and the only thing you have to show for a gift of candy is fleeting scrumptious deliciousness and a few extra pounds. But books last forever.

I received my first Nancy Drew book in sixth grade and I was hooked. Written under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene, one of the ghostwriters of the Nancy Drew Mystery books was Mildred Wirt, who, for over 30 years, made the fictional character come alive as the teenage mystery-solving sleuth.

That was my one request for many Christmases and birthdays. I own the entire hardbound set of Nancy Drew books, including the Nancy Drew Sleuth Book and the Nancy Drew Cookbook. Even at my ripe old age, I’ll still grab one of my favorite volumes and cuddle up with a blanket to read on a rainy afternoon.

I cherished this set so much, I was sure my daughter, Hannah, needed the entire set as well. I started buying them for her when she was in fifth grade. She has at total of 26 books, which seems pathetic, since she is now 20 years old and there are 56 original volumes in the set.

She informed me she wasn’t as “into them as I was.” Gasp! I can’t believe a child of mine uttered those words. In all seriousness, Han loves to read and has many diverse literary interests. I feel it’s not important what material you choose to read, just as long as you read. Period.

If you have a child who isn’t keen on reading, I highly recommend purchasing The Wonky Donkey. It’s a hilarious children’s book published by Scholastic, so you know it has to be good, right? I laugh out loud every time I read it. It’s just a fun, silly, upbeat story and even includes a website on the front cover, where you can download the song.

It’s my latest obsession, so now any time I need a gift for an occasion, this book is what will be chosen. (I hope my 30-year-old nieces and nephews like their Christmas present this year.) Happy reading!