This week is all about childrens literature in the Chateau Chez Bombshellcat. Picture books, chapter books, series books… I just have them on the brain and, frankly, it really is not that uncommon around here. Two of my seven bookcases are devoted exclusively to childrens books: Juliet for chapter books and BoPeep for picture books. Most of Dorothy, my series case, is devoted to American Girl, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Narnia, Prydain and other books I grew up loving (and a few teen series and the Master and Commander books, the only “grownup” series I read.) Clara, the special collections case, has a shelf just for the Oz books and related literature as well as a shelf for “The Secret Garden” (which I collect illustrated versions of) and more versions of Cinderella than it is probably healthy for one girl to own.
This obsession is part nostalgia and part parenthood/aunthood planning. My children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will have only the best books at their disposal- I insist! Growing up the only I loved more than reading was being read TO and I want to make sure both opportunities are amply supplied for any young ones that wander into my life.
This week has seen a few additions to my collection:
The Marvelous Land of Oz
Ozma of Oz
Madeline et le Chenapan (Madeline and the Bad Hat en francais)
The Madeline is significant in that I am only just beginning to find my favorite books in French. I love the language and want to encourage the browsers of my library to fall in love with it too. I have a few French novels as well as Le Petit Prince and the French edition of the first Harry Potter book. My younger sister is a devoted Spanish student so I have always kept an eye out for good Spanish books for her- I am twice as likely to buy a book for my sister as I am for myself!
The Oz books have been a long time coming. I was hesitant to start collecting them outright for awhile, unsure if I would like the series enough. Last summer I read the first five through the library and fell madly in love… and asked for the big Books of Wonder hardcover set for Christmas. Needless to say, I never got the set. It is expensive and impractical. Maybe someday I will save up and get it for myself but, for now, getting the first fifteen (the L. Frank Baum ones) in used paperback will be more than enough to keep me happy. I am still being picky about which editions I get- if the illustrations are not included I do not want it! I have had a horrible non-illustrated copy of “The Road to Oz” for years now and I really cannot stand it. Half the point of an Oz book is the humorous, lovely illustrations that match the humor and loveliness of the writing.
Any other childrens book enthusiasts out there? Any favorites? I would love to hear about them!