So as you all may (or may not) remember, our reading challenge for last month was to reread something that you read as a child. Whatever that meant for you. Anything from Cat in the Hat to Nancy Drew. We hope you took the challenge with us (or will if you haven’t yet!) Here are our results!
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Read by Stegosaurus Wilde
Let me start by saying that I remember reading this book as a kid. I remember it because I thought the title was “Manic Magee.” But after finishing the entire book I couldn’t figure out where the main character, Jeffrey “Maniac” Magee had been manic at all. I was really confused.
Fast forward about twenty-five years when I picked up a copy off a neighborhood book sale table for thirty-three cents. It was an easy read, but it wasn’t simple by any means.
Maniac is essentially homeless at eleven, and through the book he loses his family, but he gains a home. He also gains his nickname, “Maniac,” by performing spectacular feats like untangling Cobbler’s Knot and standing in the town grump’s yard for a full ten minutes without getting killed. All in the town of Two Mills, Pennsylvania, which is sharply divided by race. The white people live in the West End, the black people live in the East End, and never the two shall meet. But Maniac changes that, just a little. But a little is all that’s needed.
To be honest, when I picked up this book again in adulthood, I had no memory of the story inside. I discovered it all again, and it was truly remarkable. Maniac breaks the social rules of the town, not by doing things others can’t do (most of the time), but by doing things others won’t do. He changes the town for the better just by being willing to, and this world could sure use more of that.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak AND….
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorist
Read by SuddenButInevitable
I have always been a reader. You know those programs they put on at the library during the summer? Ours was a certain number of books would get you a kid sized Blizzard at Dairy Queen. I had a ton of Blizzards those summers. This book is from before that time. Because my mom has really always been about books so she would read to us at night. My Aunt April also helped out. She recorded herself reading 2 books. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorist. I’m cheating (what’s new there??) and am going to talk about both. Because these books are the books of my childhood. And they are short bedtime story books.
And then there’s Alexander. Who is having a really bad day. If this book was written now, it would be all about #firstworldproblems for a kindergartner. Just a series of horrible events that I am working on memorizing. It starts out with Alexander stating he’d gone to sleep with gum in his mouth and now there’s gum in his hair and when he got out of bed, he slipped on his skateboard and accidentally dropped his sweater in the sink. In Alexander’s eyes, everything that can go wrong that day did. His way of dealing with it is our way. Alexander continues to state throughout the book that he’s moving to Australia because bad things don’t happen in Australia. I will still shout at people “I hope you sit on a tack! I hope the next time you get a double decker strawberry ice cream, the ice cream part falls of the cone part and lands in Australia”. Because that is the best insult ever. He comes to realize that a new day will dawn that will likely not be as bad as today was and that things possibly could still be bad even in Australia.
Each time I read these books I remember hearing my aunt’s voice on the cassette that we played on a little Fisher Price tape recorder. She shared a love of reading with me and now I share these books with my niece but now my tape recorder has become a skype call. When I have children… I will share with them as well.
Night of the Living Dummy by R. L. Stine
Read by Bronto Incognito
Ahhhh, Goosebumps. I remember ordering book after book from those little newspapery Scholastic order forms. I’d read in class, prop the books open on my music stand, basically read all day until I finished at least 1 of the 2 books my mom let me borrow BEFORE I got home.
My mom would occasionally comment that maybe she needed to not let me order such easy books if I was going to finish them that fast. NOOOOOOOO!!!!! They’re soooooo goooooood!!!!!
So she let me keep buying them 🙂
This one, above all the others, stood out to me over the years because of just how freaking creepy Slappy is. Girl finds a dummy in a dumpster, sister gets jealous, and then she gets a dummy, too. Let the creepy, vomit-spewing wackiness ensue….
Of course the dummies start comign to life and of course they’re both super creepy and getting the girls in trouble and no one is willing to believe them. Unlike reading this as a 6th grader, this time around I definitely noticed how INTENSE ever single emotion the girls have is. High, low, high, low–there is no middle ground. But I guess when dealing with pre-teens that’s often true.
The book still creeped me out, though obviously not as badly as it did when I was 12. I kind of want to read the others in the series now because even though Mr. Wood gets defeated in the end I know for a fact that Slappy came back for more creepy hi-jinks. I just don’t remember what the all are!
So what books do you remember reading as a kid? What filled you with wonder or filled you with terror? What books are you going to make sure your kids read over and over again? Tell us down below!
Also, check out our challenge results from last month!
Or, if you haven’t yet, make sure to check out our complete list for the 2016 challenge!