An article in this week’s Shelf Talker made me think of that show on the Style network, “Ruby.” In Ruby’s quest to lose weight she’s been trying to remember her childhood. She has no memory of her life before age 13 or so.
Why did Elizabeth Bluemle’s column make me think of that show? Bluemle recounts the picture books of her youth and the books she read over and over again, books she’s found out that no one else has ever heard of. I tried to think of obscure picture books I read as a child, but like Ruby I’m drawing a blank. I can’t even remember the popular ones. My memories of reading picture books is lost to me for some reason. I can remember going to the library a million times throughout my life–my mother was an English teacher so there was no way libraries weren’t going to be a part of my life.
But what picture books did I read? Of course I can remember learning to read with the Catholic school equivalent of Dick and Jane–John and Jean. But after that, I just remember delving into nonfiction and novels. I read every book on World War II, saints, read John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage,” and then every Trixie Belden book. So where is my memory of the picture books? I can remember reading “Green Eggs and Ham,” and all of the other Dr. Seuss to my younger (by four years) sister when they came in the mail from the book club. My husband (my same age) can remember selecting Dr. Seuss books to read over and over until the teacher finally told him he was too old for them!
But what were the picture books I read in the late fifties? What books do you remember from your youth?