Reading this post over at 5 Minutes for Books took me back to my youthful Trixie Belden obsession. (I say youthful, but really, I don’t think my Trixie-loving days are completely behind me. I can still see the possibility of pulling a familiar title and enjoying it on some distant lazy afternoon.) I always loved Trixie way more than I loved Nancy Drew, but that’s another post. I have older cousins who passed their outgrown books on to me, and I believe that’s how I was first introduced to Trixie. Thinking about Trixie has led me to reminisce about other books I inherited from my older girl cousins. I have three such cousins on my mother’s side, and they are from nine to twelve years older than me, which makes them all sixties babies while I am a child of the seventies. Thus, I became acquainted with book characters that I would not have likely ever met otherwise, such as Annette Funicello. Yes, Annette Funicello she was the star of her own book series, in addition to television and cinematic fame. However, Annette Funicello did not make a huge literary impression on me. Actually, neither did the Donna Parker books, but I remember them with enough fondness to make me want to read one of them again to see just what it was about Donna Parker that I liked.
Well, it took me less than a hundred pages to figure out Donna’s appeal and to realize that my reading time is much better spent on other things. What I liked then about Donna is that reading about her life was like taking a very non-threatening trip into adolescence for the late-blooming pre-teen that I was (actually, I’m still a late-bloomer, but I did finally reach adulthood). In Donna Parker at Cherrydale, Donna and her friend Ricky are junior counselors at a summer camp for wealthy children. While there, they have some interaction with a boy from their school who is working at a nearby boys’ camp. The girls experiment with lipstick and think about clothes. They also get involved in a mystery, which is the real point of the book. All of these things happen in a very innocent, albeit boring-by-today’s-standards, way. Donna Parker at Cherrydale was published in 1957, and it reads much like an television show from that era. Although Donna and Ricky are rising ninth graders the summer their adventure at Cherrydale takes place, I agree with this writer who says that they talk like they’re older, and the illustrations actually make them look older, too. I find it somewhat ironic that their ages are given as thirteen or fourteen, but they seem more mature in some ways, much like most girls do today. Despite this fact, these books are innocent in a way that is almost nonexistent in the genre today and so they provided me with a nice little introduction to young adult literature, a genre that is often fraught with controversy. They are not fine literature, which is why I went back to reading Les Miserables after only about thirty minutes’ worth of reading, but still. It was nice to reminisce.
Now, for the contest. 5 Minutes for Books is hosting a giveaway in honor of Read Across America Day, and the giveaway is sponsored by Cameesa. For the contest, you must answer this question (which I did above):
In the spirit of Read Across America (and Dr. Seuss’ birthday) talk about the books or series you loved to read as a child. Describe how you got the books, and tell us how reading them made you feel.
Go here to read all the details! If you participate and win, you could get one of these really neat shirts:
I ask you, what self-respecting book lover wouldn’t love a shirt like this or this?