July 2 is “I Forgot” Day. The Internet tells me that Gaye Andersen of DeMotte, Indiana, is responsible for this assignment. Given all the things I forget, I’m not sure one day a year is enough to make up for it, but I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks, Gaye!
For today, I thought I’d invite you to remember your childhood. (No, not that horrible bit. Let’s just leave that be.) But you wouldn’t be such a voracious reader today if you didn’t stumble (perhaps quite literally) across at least one great story when you were a child. Remember the one, so loved and so dog-eared that the corners of the cover were powder soft? The one whose smell made you feel that the world was full of promise and magic? The one you couldn’t be without, but then…you forgot?
Your favorite might not be one of these, but I hope this list will spark some memories and encourage you to start a lifetime love of reading for the tiny person in your life.
1. How Joe the Bear and Sam the Mouse Got Together
I loved Joe the Bear and Sam the Mouse. Though they had a devil of a time trying to find something in common, they were determined to be friends anyway. Sort of like today’s political climate, except not.
Young readers will love the soothing watercolor illustrations, though they may grow up with an unfortunate love for brown plaid suits. At least, I did.
2. Charlotte’s Web
This may have been the first time I encountered a book with more words than pictures, and I was not sure the experiment would be successful. However, E.B. White was destined to become one of my favorite writers. One has to wonder how considering the difficulty of weaving “Some Pig” led to the maxim “Omit needless words.”
The book is not without dangers, though. It taught me where bacon came from and that was a tough issue for my parents to talk their way through.
Thank you, Ludwig Bemelmans, for introducing me to France, and nuns, and all-girls’ schools, all of which would someday be part of my life.
This charming story and its lovely rhymes are perfect for early readers. Bonus points for children who know what the Opera (or an opera, for that matter) is.
Who doesn’t love that silly old bear? Apparently the real-life Christopher Robin Milne, son of author A.A. Milne. The younger opined:
“It seemed to me, almost, that my father had got to where he was by climbing upon my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.”
Well, boo and hoo. It seems Milne had a very idealized view his son, which might be seen a plus, until you read that he walked away from Pooh and children’s books altogether partially out of “amazement and disgust” at Christopher’s appearance in adolescence. All of that is terribly sad, but the entire Milne clan has gone to their rest, where one hopes the petty squabbling has been healed, and the rest of us can happily continue to play in the Hundred Acre Wood. The victory goes to books.
5. Green Eggs and Ham
Green Eggs and Ham is the result of a publisher doing what publishers do best: Trick authors into writing books.
Bennett Cerf, founder and legend at Random House bet Theo Geisel $50 that he couldn’t write a book using 50 or fewer words. Geisel rose to the challenge and took Cerf’s $50. Poor Cerf had to console himself with the proceeds of selling 200 million copies of the book.
Millions of children learned to read on Seuss books and this one taught them a lesson about trying a thing before you reject it. Apologies to those who tried green ham in real life.
Those are some of the books I had forgotten. What are your childhood favorites? What lucky child is going to get it as a gift because of “I Forgot” Day? Share your thoughts and tune in next time for more great answers to “What should I read?”