I have recently been reminiscing about the amazing books that my parents spent countless hours reading to me throughout my childhood. I have fond memories of my father making silly, monster voices while reading The Monster at the End of this Book. And I remember begging my mother to open the back cover of The Very Quiet Cricket so I could hear the electronic cricket noise that was built into the binding. I even memorized the words of A Fairy Went a Marketing when I was very young so that I could pretend to read the book to my family.
I decided to ask some of my fellow English Graduate students what their favorite books were from when they were a child.
Julie Kaiser responded by saying The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka was one of her favorite books. When I asked why she felt so fondly toward it, she responded, “STINKY. CHEESE. MAN.” I guess no further explanation is necessary.
Matt Harrington said that The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey was his favorite series as child. He says, “Captain Underpants is about a homemade kids comic book that comes to life and deals with problems through the children’s perspective.”
Lucas Marshall replied by saying that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett was one of his childhood favorites. When I asked why he enjoyed it so much, he responded, “It tells the pleasantly absurd story of Chewandswallow, a town whose inhabitants are quite well fed due to their meteorological pattern of raining food. The book starts out on a happy note, but then the weather gets severe–the raining food reaching catastrophic proportions–and the town takes a turn for the worst–the town school, for instance, has to shut down because a giant pancake falls on it! This book I always found absurd. But I also thought it would be uber cool to make a house out of two giant pieces of French toast, or to use one of them to escape down the river, Huck Finn style.”
Cody Cunningham told me his favorite children’s book was one we all know, Peter Pan and Wendy by J. M. Berrie. He continued to tell me about the fascinating book; “‘All children—except one—grow up.’ J.M. Barrie’s classic story of the boy orphan and the nefarious Captain Hook has captured the imaginations of children young and grown for well over a century. Pirates, Indians, and a tribe of Lost Boys inhabit the fantastical isle of Neverland, second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. Their grand tale occupied my dreams when I was Peter’s age and has continued to remind me to see every day through a child’s innocent eyes. ‘To live will be an awfully big adventure,’ Barrie suggests—whether sailing the seven seas or carried out in our own backyard. These characters have withstood the test of time and will continue to do so; for as long as children dare to dream, mermaids will mingle, fairies will fly, and Peter’s shadow will forever outline the London night sky.”