Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday's "Forgotten" Books - Children's Titles

This Friday's topic for "Forgotten" books is children's or teen titles. I picked two books I love, and one series. They all bring back wonderful memories.

Betty MacDonald is probably best known for her book, The Egg and I. But it's her fun children's book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, that is special to me. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the widow of a pirate, and she lives in an upside down house. Every child in town is her friend. She allows them to dress up in her clothes, dig for her late husband's buried treasure in the yard, and, she makes up stories for them. It was her stories for kids who didn't like chores that brought in the parents. Suddenly, mothers were calling when they had a problem child, and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's cures for those problems are fun. There's The Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure, The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure, and, my personal favorite, The Radish Cure for the child who doesn't want to take a bath. Each short chapter is a story in itself in this chapter book for children ages six to ten.

Maria McSwigan's Snow Treasure is a book treasured by three generations in my family. I bought this book from Scholastic Book Club when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and, when I brought it home, my mother said it was one of her favorite books as a child. My sister's children wore their copy to pieces. When I read the book, the story was believed to be true. Now, over seventy years later, there's no proof it ever happened. But, it's a story of courage, and children caught up in war.

The book says, "On June 28, 1940, nearly a year after World War II broke out in Europe, the Norwegian freighter Bomma reached Baltimore with a cargo of gold bullion worth $9 million." The ship's captain tells the story that under the very eyes of the Nazis, Norwegian children smuggled the gold down to the ship, pulling it on their sleds.

Snow Treasure is an exciting book that needs to be read. In this case, watching the movie is a big mistake. The book loses its focus and suspense in the movie that was made. Snow Treasure is listed on my blog as one of my favorite books.

And, there's one mystery series that is hard to come by. Readers fondly remember The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. I read, and enjoyed, them. But, the series I loved was The Happy Hollisters, a collection of twenty-five books by Jerry West. When my family went on a month's vacation in a converted van, my sisters and I were allowed fifteen books each. My sister, Linda, and I cooperated to take books we'd each enjoy, so we'd have a total of thirty books. The Happy Hollister books, a
series about five children, and their adventures on vacation, and at home, were the perfect books for our own vacation. I still remember those books with fondness.

I really haven't ever forgotten this Friday's "Forgotten" books.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. HarperCollins Publishers, ©1947. ISBN 9780064401487, 130p.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. Scholastic Inc., ©1942. ISBN 9780590425377, 156p.

24 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lesa-I still have Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and one of the sequels. Loved those books although I'm not sure now that there weren't a reflection of the repressive fifties.

Lesa said...

Well, at least kids now still love them. My children's librarian said to me, what do you mean, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle isn't forgotten!

Bill Crider said...

My wife is a huge fan of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. She still has her copy of the book.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Bill. I don't have a copy since I always read a library copy. But, I went back and read it again, and I still enjoyed it.

Maria said...

I loved the Happy Hollisters!!! And I had forgotten all about them in my doddering old age!!!

Lori Thornton said...

I know this post is mostly about the books, but I loved the story about the 30 books you took in that van on vacation. I wonder if today's children will have similar stories about the books they took along on their "staycations."

Lesa said...

Oh, Maria! I thought the Happy Hollisters were wonderful stories, and probably the first mysteries I ever read. Loved them!

Lesa said...

Lori,

I'm glad you liked that story. I'm waiting to see if my sister, Linda, will remember it! It was her girlfriend's family that gave us all of those Happy Hollister books to take.

I don't know about remembering from their "staycations." I do know I remember the books from that trip, while my father swore I missed half the country because I was either sleeping or had my nose in a book.

It might be why, when I went to Sedona last year, and thought I was seeing it for the first time, my mother said I'd already been there. I probably "missed" it!

Todd Mason said...

I must've forgotten any sluglines that claimed SNOW TREASURE was a true story...or perhaps by the early-mid '70s editions, Scholastic was willing to fess up that it was a novel. But it and Ian Serrailier's ESCAPE FROM WARSAW/THE SILVER SWORD were my two favorite YA WW2 novels back when.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

As a grandma, I think you for some great selections.

I'll have to see if the Happy Hollisters are still around, at least in the second hand shops.

Terrie

Carol said...

I'm a big fan of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! I remember reading them in grade school and I, too, especially loved the The Radish Cure. I've never forgotten it! My grandchildren are also enjoying those stories!

Lesa said...

Todd,

When I was a kid (mid-sixties, not seventies), Snow Treasure was still supposed to be a true story.

I'm glad it was one of your favorite WWII stories, too.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Terrie.

I think the Happy Hollister series, not Nancy Drew, instilled a love of mysteries in me. I read them before I read Nancy Drew.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Carol! I guess Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle isn't as forgotten as I thought. And, it's nice to know someone else liked The Radish Cure!

Lesa said...

Thanks, Carol! I guess Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle isn't as forgotten as I thought. And, it's nice to know someone else liked The Radish Cure!

Christie said...

Lesa--I bought the whole set of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for Elizabeth and she just hasn't seemed to enjoy them the way we did. I was so excited when they were offered as a set in her Scholastic magazine one month. The stories are a little dated, but, like you, I still love The Radish Cure.

We liked the Happy Hollisters, but what about the Bobsey Twins!

Christie

Lesa said...

Oh, I'm so sorry Elizabeth doesn't like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Darn! Well, at least we all enjoyed them.

I liked the Bobbsey Twins, too, and read tons of them. But, the Happy Hollisters were my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Every library I have worked in has the set of Mrs. PW and they circulate...but maybe that is my doing. :)

libraryann said...

ps. ^ That was me

Lesa said...

Ann,

I'm sure some of it is your doing. Someone has to introduce kids to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and tell them why they might like the books. That's definitely you!

Les said...

I only read a handful of Nancy Drew books as a child, but The Happy Hollisters were definitely among my favorites. I remember checking out several copies at a time when we'd visit our public library in Pullman, Washington (back in 1972). I devoured those books! Loved The Bobbsey Twins, All-of-A-Kind Family, and Trixie Belden, but the Hollisters were my favorite. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)

Lesa said...

Anytime, Les!

My sister mentioned The Bobbsey Twins, too, which I read, but, like you, the Hollisters were my favorite. My other sister, Linda, wrote, and said her friend still has the series we borrowed for our trip.

Les said...

Wow! I would bet that collection of books is worth a bit now!

Lesa said...

Les,

You really think they're worth something? I don't know. Between our two families, those books were well-read.