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January 20, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: The Best Book You've Never Heard Of

Kate Hart
At YA Highway this week, we want to hear about the books you adore-- but no one else has heard of.

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Like a moron, I asked this question without having an answer of my own. I just started reading YA over the summer, and most of my other favorite books were AP Lit or college assignments.

But then I was reading to my boys at nap time and realized: I have a ton of little gems on my shelves, they're just on shelves a little lower to the ground. None of these are from the vault, exactly, but they're all books I either a) thought I had discovered all by myself as a kid, or b) didn't read until adulthood, when my husband said "How did you get to be a grown up without reading this book?!?"

CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE by Maurice Sendak

Exhibit A in the books my husband couldn't believe I hadn't read. Chicken Soup with Rice comes in a tiny four pack Nutshell Library with Alligators All Around, Pierre and One Was Johnny. All four are delightful. We bought the set for my niece and nephew this Christmas, prompting my oldest son to beg for us to read his copies every day for a week.

MOTHER MOTHER, I FEEL SICK, SEND FOR THE DOCTOR QUICK QUICK QUICK by Remy Charlip and Burton Supree

Apparently this book has been re-illustrated since I was a kid and has a new cover, but it's purple (boo) so I found a picture of the original. My mom has our copy of this book, and I make my four year old read it every time we're over there at bedtime. The drawings are all silhouettes, showing the doctor pulling crazier and crazier things out of the boy's stomach. My husband finds it somewhat alarming.


HAUNTED HOUSE by Jan Pienkowski

This book is the coolest of the cool pop ups. I'm pretty sure there's an octopus in the fridge and a cat in the toilet, and I know the eyes in the portrait move. My husband also finds it somewhat alarming.








SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK by Alvin Schwartz

I don't know about the stories, but this book had the scariest damn illustrations of almost anything I've ever read, kid, adult or otherwise. I would definitely hide this from my kids (and my husband) if I still owned a copy.






GREGORY THE TERRIBLE EATER by Mitchel Sharmat

Gregory is an average goat, except that he's a terrible eater. He won't eat his waxed paper and shoelaces because he would rather have orange juice and scrambled eggs. Eventually he learns to like everything, including, according to my son, "old tires and barbeque sauce machines." (Translation: Barber pole.)


MISS NELSON IS MISSING
by Harry Allard and James Marshall

If you did not like this book as a kid, you are at the wrong blog.









THE HEADLESS CUPID, A FABULOUS CREATURE and LIBBY ON WEDNESDAY by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I could never get any of my friends in elementary school to read these. Never! I still have copies of Fabulous Creature and Libby on Wednesday, both of which I accidentally stole from the St. Peters, Missouri library as a kid. (Sorry St. Peters.) I know I have detailed elsewhere how my best friend and I bonded over Libby and our mutual thievery.

A few slightly older selections...

A GIFT UPON THE SHORE by M.K. Wren

I picked this book off the shelf at Walmart sometime in late elementary. I read it about twenty times, but not since, I don't know, puberty probably. So I have very detailed and fond memories of it, but no sense of whether or not it is actually decent. Same goes for PEOPLE OF THE WOLF by husband and wife team Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear. I picked it off of my grandmother's shelf because it sounded similar to perennial favorite CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR; I chose the other because Jean M. Auel blurbed the cover. Because when other little girls were playing Barbie, I was pretending to be Ayla, in my cave under our deck, making arrowheads with gravel.



So I was going to beg for y'alls' help tracking down this book I adored as a kid, but in typing out the description, I suddenly remembered pancakes, which proved to be the right Google combo to produce:  OLD BLACK WITCH by Wende and Harry Devlin. Which I guess is funny, considering my current WIP deals in part with-- you guessed it-- witches.Who live in Oklahoma and are very outdoorsy... like Ayla... and the main character is having trouble adjusting to school... like Libby... and there are some connections to the local Native American tribes and their house creeps everyone out and there's some supernatural mysteries to be solved, like....
yeah. I think you get it. I never really grew up. :)


Head over to YA Highway and leave us a link to your own favorite unknown books!

9 comments:

  1. LOVE Chicken Soup with Rice and ZKS! I met her once at a book signing - I was starstruck!

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  2. Okay, so every book you posted are also my complete FAVORITES. You did, however, forget "The Babysitter's Club". lol! Just kidding. I had totally forgotten about some of those. And Monkey loves the little books you got Ryan. She keeps stealing them and hiding them under her pillow.

    Biz

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  3. The only one I've read was "Miss Nelson is Missing" and I loved that book!

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  4. Chicken Soup with Rice rules. I read that when I was a kiddle :)

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  5. Aww, I love the direction you took for this post.

    Don't worry, I've read Miss Nelson, my kids know Miss Nelson, we all love Miss Nelson. :)

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  6. OMG! I totally have Miss Nelson and Scary Stories on my bookshelf right now--and I don't even have kids. How freaky is that? :) Good choices!

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  7. Maurice Sendak is absolutely wonderful. We've ordered both Chicken Soup with Rice and the Nutshell Library for customers at work. They both had to be shipped in especially from our US supplier. I love how small and perfect the Nutshell Library is.

    Have you read Outside Over There?

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  8. I SO forgot about 'MOTHER MOTHER I FEEL SICK...'! I remember being fascinated by the sillhouette drawings and sort of chanting the words like a song.

    Brings back memories!

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  9. I was pulling out all of my old books to put in my classroom library and came across the Scariest Stories ones. I promptly hid them. ;)

    I did NOT want to be responsible for parents calling and asking why their child was traumatized.

    But I loved them as kid. :-P

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