Revisiting Old Favorites

Books I Still Enjoy Today

By Jeff Salter

Before I launch into this week’s topic, allow me to puff out my chest briefly — since this is my 500th post on this group blog. Launched in February 2011, Four Foxes One Hound began with me and four different Foxes. I never imagined I’d still be here, 500 weeks later… but here I am. And I hope to remain… if the current Foxes don’t evict me!

Now to our topic:

“Have I ever revisited and old favorite book / movie? How did change for me as I got older?”

The folks who know me fairly well can likely understand that I’m a huge fan of movies, especially from Hollywood’s golden age. I could yak for ages about favorite films… and it’s quite possible I’ve already done so here at 4F1H. So for today, I’ll confine my commentary to BOOKS.

Books have been a treasured part of my life since my earliest memories. Not only did I enjoy many of them as a kid, but I re-enjoyed many of those same titles as a parent reading to my kids. And, in a few cases, I’ve even had a chance to read some of those same books to grandkids!

Do I still enjoy the stories? YES! Sure, the perspective is different, but what I loved about my favorite childrens’ books was a combination of the story and art. In the really great examples, those same aspects continue to impress me.

Miss Minerva

One of my favorites was a series of books about Miss Minerva. These began with “Miss Minerva and William Green Hill” by Frances Boyd Calhoun. The series was picked up by Emma Speed Sampson, who started with the sequel, “Billy and the Major.” I’ve acquired three or four titles in this series and would love to locate the others. [I should alert today’s readers that these books – the first title published in 1908 – contain certain stereotyped characters which may be considered offensive.]

As a librarian – my career for 30 years – I had occasion (during some of those years) to examine and purchase books for young readers. I was delighted to see many of my old favorites and also to encounter new creative authors / illustrators. Some of the names which stick out of this “new” – new to me several decades ago, but they’ve been around for a while now – crop of writers were William Joyce (with titles like “George Shrinks”), Mercer Mayer (with titles like “There’s a Nightmare in my closet”), Dick Gackenbach (with titles like “Harry and the Terrible Whatzit”), and many others I cannot even remember at the moment. I encountered these as a librarian and read some of them to my own kids. I still enjoy them today.

Here is a previous blog on a topic that’s somewhat related. Check it out and tell me if it answers today’s question… or something slightly different.

https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/childhood-books-which-left-a-big-impression/

Question:

What books have made a big impact on YOU as a youngster? Do you still enjoy them today?

[JLS # 500]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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19 Responses to Revisiting Old Favorites

  1. jbrayweber says:

    I don’t know about an “impact” on me but I can say for certain I have a huge amount of nostalgia for Golden Books. When I was young, my mother often bought me a Golden Book when she went grocery shopping at Weingartens. The books were displayed at the entrance of the store. So when my mother (or maybe it was me, I don’t remember) picked a book out, I was occupied during the whole grocery shopping experience. I loved those books and re-read my favorites often. Golden Books often told the fairytale/nursery rhymes/Disney classics we all know. But there were other beloved stories, too— The Tawney Scrawny Lion, The Animals of Farmer Jones, Little Cottontail, The Pokey Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, are just a few favorites. Fast forward to when my kids were that same age. I still have all those Golden Books to read at bedtime to my girls. The last Golden Book I bought was for my youngest—Grumpy Cat. 🙂 Someday, I hope to be reading these books to grandchildren (though not anytime soon!).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      We collected Golden Books, too! I remember The Pokey Little Puppy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, yes. The Golden Books. I had a few, but since my mother wasn’t much of a reader, I didn’t develop a love for reader until later in life. But I think my children had all the Golden Books. At least it seemed like it when I cleaned their rooms. LOL

        Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I loved the Little Golden books. In that link to my blog from a few years ago, you’ll see one of my favorites — “The Little Trapper.”
      I’m afraid too many kids of this youngest generation have little interest in the traditional “books”. If it doesn’t appear on their device, they’re not likely interested.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Truly a sad thing. But if their parents still appreciate books, the children may as well.

        Liked by 2 people

      • jbrayweber says:

        I read to my oldest every single night until she was 8. I read to my youngest nearly every single night until she was 6. My oldest is not fond of reading. She may a comprehension deficiency like I do, or maybe she falls into the category you mention. But then, she doesn’t like reading on a device either. Once I got into junior high, I hated books. It wasn’t until I was around 20 before I fell in love with reading again. Maybe she’ll be like me. My youngest loves to read. She does it on her own. I hope that lasts and she doesn’t lose the joy. I’ve watched first hand how the schools have destroyed reading expectations. Another topic for another time.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jeff Salter says:

          our daughter (younger child) has always been a reader.
          our son (older child) loved having books read to him, but after he got into school, he never wanted to read on his own.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Elaine Cantrell says:

      I still have a small collection of the Golden Books. I read them to my grandchildren.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m sad to see that many titles I’ve read and enjoyed have now been criticized for potentially offensive content. I understand the need to identify these issues, but I’m not quite convinced that banning them is the answer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I totally agree with you. And in the instance of that first Miss Minerva title, it was a university press which re-issued the book, after some 3/4 of a century. They have a detailed preface about the book’s value, the author’s links to that region, etc. And they also explain that the stereotypes — of the African-American cook, for example — are true to the times and culture of that period… even if distasteful to many modern readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff, me thinks your fear of being evicted by the current foxes is unfounded. LOL It sounds more like you are the foundation for this blog.

    Regarding books, as I mentioned above, I didn’t develop a love for them until later in life. Yes, I read books, but didn’t have an appetite for them. Back then it was art. Whatever the school said I had to read, I read. Then being in an advanced reading class in high school didn’t help either because the books they assigned were terrible. Things no high-schooler should be reading in the first place, in my opinion.

    My love for reading came about as I read to my children. Someone suggested The Hobbit. I started reading it to my daughter before bedtime and became so engrossed in the story, I would read ahead after she went to sleep, thereby reading the same book twice in one sitting. LOL After that, my friend said, “If you liked The Hobbit, you need to read Lord of the Rings.” So, I did, and he was right.

    Since then, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read those books, and each time I see something I missed previously. Love them. And yes, I loved the movies too. A long time ago, I had set my mind to books made into movies were simply “based” on the books. Not duplicates. I enjoy them now for what they are. The Script Writer, Producer, and Director’s version of the book. Sometimes even the actors have their input. So no, they will not be the same. When I watch one, I sit back and enjoy. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are movies I’ve watched over and over and enjoy them more each time, just like the books. Well done, Peter Jackson.

    The same holds true for some of the classics I’ve read as an adult, but not in my youth. Sherlock Holmes series, Jane Austen’s (I’ve read all of her books), the Bronte sisters, and more. Each time I read one and read it over again, it becomes dearer to me as a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I read the Hobbit — back around 45 years ago. Never did get “into” it. I guess it’s not my genre.
      I’ve loved Sherlock Holmes stories — both the texts and the films.
      One of these days, I’ll hunker down and read austen.
      As far as the reading lists for both H.S. and college English classes — I agree… they tend to select works that totally thud for most readers. I wish there was some common ground type of class in which they could let the students “select” their own reading material, from a curated list of course. Then they could also include the so-called indispensable classics.

      Like

  4. You are too modest,Jeff. You are Father of this blog, the last founding member and we all defer to you.We defer to you and always will.
    I do not know Miss Minerva; apparently, I missed a lot.
    We have been through childhood books and I will revisit some tomorrow, but I have gone around and found a few Little Golden books that I loved as a child, those that had been lost ina family move.
    I wish that I co uld find a few beloved Rand McNally ‘Elf” books,but they were printed on cheaper paper that did not last,and they are not being reissued as some Little Golden Books are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      aww, thank you for your support here at 4F1H over all these years. You must be over 400 blogs yourself by now.
      I remember the ELF books — and still have a couple, I think. Not sure if they were mine from childhood or more recent acquisitions from when my kids were little. As a librarian, my philosophy was to be sure kids always had books to read and make those books as appealing as possible. Also not only to read to the kids to let the kids see parents reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. trishafaye says:

    I love some of the older books. Miss Minerva sounds like a fun series to read.

    CONGRATULATIONS on your 500th post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Thanks, Trisha.
      Yes, there’s a certain charm to the much simplified lifestyle of the early 1910s and 1920s.
      Of course, “simplified” in our minds as the good ole days.
      But many people had to struggle to survive back then, and we owe a lot those who prevailed.

      Liked by 1 person

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