Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Blast from the Past - Children's Literature

It's funny what you remember about your youth. The impending release of the Nancy Drew movie had me thinking about books I read when I was a child. Certainly Nancy Drew was among them. I didn't know what a roadster was, but I knew I wanted one. Not that much different from a T-Bird, is it?

I do hope the new movie is good. I suspect it won't be just by virtue of the fact that this is an updated version. For me, a large part of the charm of those books is the age. But I intend to go into the theater with an open mind. I didn't expect to like Daniel Craig as Bond, either, but turned out I loved him. So, we'll see.

Another much-loved book from my past is THE LION'S PAW by Robb White. Try to find that one, will you? It can't be had for less than a few hundred bucks. Turns out, this book has become a collector's item. For someone who grew up and still lives in Florida, I understand the appeal. I wish the publisher would put that one out again. It would do quite well. I don't want to collect it. I just want to read the story!

My sailor in "A Lotus-Covered Door" is named Robb as homage to Mr. White. (Still waiting to see whether that short story makes publication. Should hear something soon.)

Finally, there was my quest for Patricia. For many years, I've been trying to find a book that I read when I was about ten. I knew the girl's name was Patricia and that Patricia was in the title. She lived on a military base with her father. The mother was absent. At one point, she went missing and was feared abducted. Everything turns out all right in the end. I remember absolutely loving this book as a child and wished I could read it again.

I heard about a place on Live Journal where people post books they are missing and other people help find them. I posted there, and to my surprise I had the answer in just a couple of hours! It's PATRICIA'S SECRET by Ruth Daggett Leinhauser, originally published by Scholastic in 1956.

You know Amazon had a copy for me. Of course, they did! I ordered it from their network of independent booksellers. The book arrived yesterday, and I devoured it immediately. It's every bit as entertaining now as it was (Gulp!) almost fifty years ago. I had real tears in the end.

Isn't the Internet an amazing thing? How did we find lost books before we had this web?

Have a wonderful day!


Mark Wolfgang said...

Interesting you should mention books you loved as a tyke. And speaking of tykes, I remember loving a series of SF books featuring a strange little scientist named Tycho Bass. You gave me the idea to look it up on the Internet (I Googled it, of course).

Seems that this was the "Mushroom Planet" books by Eleanor Cameron. There were five books, and the first three involved travel to a nearby planetoid (hiding behind the moon) via a small spaceship built by neighborhood kids:

Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet -- 1952
Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet -- 1956
Mr. Bass's Planetoid -- 1958

All available through Amazon, naturally. --Mark

Susan Cody said...

Exactly! Now if I could just find an affordable copy of THE LION'S PAW!!