Monday, March 20, 2006


OK - cuddle up...

I am going to tell you a story about my love of books and how that led me into trouble...

But before you begin to read, be warned!

This is definitely a "give and take". I'm giving you a story and if you read it, I'm going to ask you for something. My birthday is coming up on March 31, so consider it my birthday gift...



Read on...

My favourite gift has always been books - my sister (10 years older) understood this and always gave me a stack of second-hand books for each birthday - they were my favourite gifts! My Mom and Dad always brought me home a book from every trip they took. I adored books - I loved to find a cozy corner and read to my heart's content. It's not surprising that I am a half-time teacher-librarian in a grade 1-9 school. I get paid to work with children and their books - what could be better??

Confession time....

When I was about 11, my parents went away on a trip and a close neighbour came in to take care of my brother and me. Dad left our weekly allowance money for us in an envelope - a dollar for me and a dollar fifty for my older brother.

It was a Saturday morning and I happened to be browsing through our local 5 and 10 store when I saw a copy of Five Little Peppers Midway. I couldn't believe it - one of my favourite books was Five Little Peppers and there was the sequel, right before my eyes!

There was only one problem - the book cost $2.50.

Oh! I wanted that book...

Now, I reasoned that my brother would not mind lending me his allowance for such a worthy cause. But, I hesitated to ask ... that seems to have been the tragic flaw in the whole plan.

Instead, I "borrowed" the money without his permission and bought the book.

At first I was ecstatic! I clutched my copy of Five little Peppers Midway close to my heart! Finally, I would learn what happened next to Polly, Jasper, Ben, Joel, Davie and little Phronsie.

But as I drew closer to home, doubts began to grow in my mind - maybe my brother wouldn't be so happy about this purchase. His reading tastes were more in the line of Marvel comics and the Hardy Boys - besides I "remembered" that he was planning to go to the Saturday afternoon matinee.

The book grew heavier and heavier. My feet began to drag more and more slowly.

When I came in the doorway of our split-level home, he was standing at the top of the stairs.

"Where is my allowance?"

He didn't look happy.

I did the only sensible thing.

I ran.

As fast as I could, down the stairs, to the basement playroom where there was a lock on the door.

He tore after me, but fear gave me wings and I made it - breathless - panting - but safe behind a locked door!

He pounded on the door - "Open up!" he yelled.

I wouldn't. There was no parent to protect me and our neighbour was out shopping.

He tried another tactic. The windows to our playroom were at ground-level. We often went in and out of them, just for fun, instead of using the door. So he ran outside to get in through the window.

I stood on the couch and held the window shut with all my might. He tried and tried to pull it open on the outside. Finally, in frustration, he slammed his fist against the window.

It was like a scene from a movie - played in slow motion. I saw the crack spread across the pane and then a piece of glass started to fall. I looked up at my brother.

"Oh !" I said. "You're in big trouble now!" (note the irony)

Then I noticed the look of horror on his face. He was staring down at my hand. I looked down and saw the blood spurting up. I started to scream.

I don't have much memory of what happened after that. Only, that somehow, the door was unlocked and my brother wrapped a towel around my hand and hustled me over to the neighbour's house. She took me to the doctor and seven stiches later, (the glass went right through my hand) I was home.

My brother and I were quite chastened by the whole incident. He felt badly for what happened to me and I felt badly because if I hadn't taken his money, it never would have happened. We both agreed it would be better not to tell the whole story to our parents. (pre-Christian days)

We gave an edited version that was the truth, but not the whole truth. "I was trying to shut the window and it fell in on my hand..." accompanied by lots of tears and a bandaged hand. No questions - lots of sympathy - probably some guilt because they weren't home. We were relieved - and the curious thing was that I actually never told Mom the whole story until I was an adult.

Even more curiouser and curiouser (as Alice would say) I never knew what happened to my copy of The Five Little Peppers Midway. It disappeared.

Anyway....that's my confession. The incident cured me of taking without asking, however it didn't dampen my ardour for books - I still love them. I love to visit the library. I love storytime with my primary grades, talking about books with my students and especially, ordering new books!

One of my favourite Internet past times is finding out what you love to read - especially your favourite children's books. I devour those lists! I open up another window with my local library account and copy and paste your favourites into the request screen.

And now my request...

(No - I don't want a copy of The Five Little Peppers Midway!! :)

I'm just asking for your comments.

Please tell me your favourite children's book.

Even better, a list of your favourite children's books.

I love, love, love to read lists of favourite books and I really want to know your favourites.

If that Neocounter thingamajig is really working I have had 62 visitors since 11 pm on Friday night!! But where are my comments??

I know it's not "De-lurking Day" but hey!! be nice to me - it's almost my birthday!

and if this cranky-looking lady doesn't work....

How about this sweet girl?