Friday FabOoolousness: Long-Lost Childhood Reads

Most people love to pick up a book, curl up in their favorite chair, and read another’s words printed on the page (or on the Kindle and Nook screens).  Some read to relax, and others to stimulate their minds, while most read to temporarily escape from whatever current reality surrounds them.

Those that like to read started with books in their hands when they were very small.  Many, like me, raced to the bedroom at night so that mommy and daddy could read a bedtime story before turning out the lights.

Most children enjoy the classic fairy tales such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan, Rapunzel, or Snow White.

I read the classics, but the Serendipity Book Series by Stephen Cosgrove was my favorite read as a child.  These books each teach an important lesson like most fairy tales, but sadly this series doesn’t have the same popularity with children today.

The one that I probably read the most was about a little bunny named Leo, whose ears weren’t like the other bunnies in the field.  Leo the Lop shares a great message for all ages alike – “normal is whatever you are.”  Don’t the children today need to hear this message?

Muffin Dragon (also known as The Muffin Muncher) teaches the important lesson of sharing after a village dragon eats all of the baker’s muffins.

Sassafras, the little elephant, learns that imitating others isn’t very kind after she hears an echo of her very words.

Flutterby, the little flying Pegasus, flutters about trying to discover exactly who and what she is.  It takes meeting a wise butterfly for Flutterby to see her true beauty in her reflection.

Freezing, The Gnome from Nome seeks desperately to find a way to warm up, and when he meets a sea otter learns that true warmth stems from friendships.

Shimmeree and her other crystal horse friends learn that they don’t have to fear the unknown after she discovers a seed that blooms into a beautiful rose spreading beauty across the land.

There are over 50 books in the Serendipity series, but these six hooked me as a child and so began my addiction to reading.  Luckily for me, my Serendipity books are safe and sound in my mother’s cedar chest along with my baby blanket and other childhood keepsakes.

As I grew up, I read books all the time, some more than once like Charlotte’s Web and Little Women.  Reading for enjoyment during the early years undoubtedly helps a child transition when reading becomes an assignment in school.

Maybe the fabOoolous Serendipity series is the reason I have an addiction to buying books today?  Maybe Cosgrove is one of the reasons I write?

Regardless, I can’t recommend books enough, and Leo the Lop, Muffin Dragon, Sassafras, Flutterby, The Gnome from Nome, and Shimmeree deserve all the credit for creating this word lover.  Oh, and my parents.

What books did you read as a child?  Do you read those same books to your children today? Have you read any of Cosgrove’s Serendipity Series?    I’d love to hear from you!

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56 Responses to Friday FabOoolousness: Long-Lost Childhood Reads

  1. Stacy Green says:

    You’ve given me some great books to read to my daughter – thank you! Always looking for new ones. I read Charlotte’s Web a lot. Also the Little House books, Ramona and Beezus, Judy Blume’s books were another favorite. Superfudge, Sheila the Great … fantastic characters!

    • The Serendipity books are early chidhood reads and I can’t say enough good things about them. I highly recommend! I loved the Judy Blume’s books too! I still need to watch the 2010 movie – did you see it? Do you recommend? Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    There are so many great children’s books out there, especially now. When my boys were little, I loved reading them the Sandra Boynton series. Cute, goofy fun!

    Thanks for a terrific post, Tiffany!

  3. It’s funny, but I remember those little Golden Books. I remember nursery rhymes. But then I don’t remember anything else until the Happy Hollister series. (They are mysteries.) I know I couldn’t have gone straight from the little books to the Hollisters. Could I? Although, I could read well at an early age, so maybe….

  4. Catie Rhodes says:

    I loved this post! When I was a kid, my favorite book was Key to the Treasure by Peggy Parish. I also loved the Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary and the Judy Blume books. When I was very small, I liked Dr. Seuss.

    As an aside, I’m totally envious of the YA books available now. During my short years of shopping in the YA book section, the offerings were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are now. Sweet Valley High was about as real as it got. Back in those days, I read and re-read S.E. Hinton’s books and longed for something better.

    Thanks for this post. I always love your Friday FabOoolousness posts.

    • I agree with you, Catie! The plethora of books available to young adults today is fabOoolous compared to what we had on the book shelves as children. I was a big fan of the Sweet Valley High books growing up, so much so that I’m thinking of having a SVH slumber party for the girls this year. LOL!

      I need to check out Key to the Treasure. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Gene Lempp says:

    I loved loved loved Charlotte’s Web as a kid. So much so, that at one time I used to talk to spiders and look for messages in their webs. Not kidding, I was four or five.

    Great post, Tiffany 🙂

  6. wosushi says:

    As you know, I grew up with the Serendipity series as well. The two I remember most: Buttermilk Bear, which had to do with prejudice and Raz Ma Taz, which taught me not to be a show off (that lesson stuck with me. 😉 )

    When I was living in Seattle, I came across this little art shop not too far from there and guess who the owner was? Robin James, the illustrator of the Serendipity books. She happily signed a collection I gathered for my mother as a gift.

    • Amber, I LOVE that you read the Serendipity series and I love even more than you’ve rebuilt the collection for your mom. If I ever visit Seattle again, and hopefully I will, I would love to see if that art shop is still around. 🙂

  7. Wow, I have never heard of these, but they look great! I read The Babysitters Club series, Animorphs, and Tamora Pierce’s fantasy quartets.

    • Angela, I loved The Babysitters Club! I found the movie on the movie channels not too long ago and tried to watch it. It wasn’t the same as an adult, but what a great series for little girls!

  8. We had the classics, like Cinderella, when I was a kid, but nowhere near the number of kids’ books available nowadays. My my grandsons were young, I always loved reading them Dr. Seuss’s Marvin K. Mooney. I cracked up on every page.

    My all-time favorite kids’ book, however, was one we got for my daughter when she was a little girl, called There’s Only One You. I don’t know why that one didn’t become the best-selling childs’ book of all time. The theme was the uniqueness of each child, and I’ve always thought it was instrumental in helping my daughter develop a positive self-image.

    Sadly, the book got lost somewhere through the years.

  9. Five Children and It. The Phoenix and the Carpet. L.E. Nesbit wrote those (I think I’ve got the name right). I was reading these books as an 8 year old – I don’t really have many books I remember prior to that, other than Golden Books that didn’t really stay with me…

    • I remember having a few of the Golden Books too, Christine. I haven’t however read Five Children and It or The Phoenix and the Carpet. I’ll have to look into those. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I loved reading as a kid. My favorite book as a tot was, Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber. I think I can recite it from memory! My earliest memory in school, was when our librarian would read Ickle, Bickle, Robin. I have no idea who wrote it. Guess I could google it. 😉 I will never forget sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see if he could fly!

    Then I tossed down every Sweet Valley High book I could get my hands on! LOVED LOVED LOVED those books!

    • I bet we could create a Sweet Valley HIgh fanclub!

      I remember going to the library at school and sitting on the ground while the librarian read to us. I also remember the excitement of book ordering day. I always wanted so many books and my parents would only allow like five. Memories….

      Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

  11. Terrell Mims says:

    I never read any of the Serendipity books, but I’m reading Peter Pan right now.

  12. jamilajamison says:

    I still have the fairy tale book that I used to love as a kid, and it’s incredibly special to me. I had a collection of Golden Books (a couple are still in the garage — “Bunnies New Shoes” was a favorite), and when I got a little older, I read a lot of Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Tamora Pierce, Animorphs… I also liked the classics — The Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, etc. I was a book fiend. 😀

    One of my favorite things to do is to go back to that old fairy tale book. It hit me a few months ago that some of the imagery and ideas that I employ in my fantasy work is rooted in the illustrations from that book. They’ve stayed with me all these years, and I’m really grateful for that foundation.

  13. I can’t believe I missed so many of those books! I’m going to have to get them for my kiddos. Of course, I loved Charlotte’s Web, Little Women, all the Little House books, Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and so many more. This year, my daughter and I read The NEverending Story together. I didn’t even know there was a novel before the movie until just before then *blush*.

    • Hi, Sonia! What did you think of The Neverending Story as compared to the movie? I think it’s great that you read it with your daughter. Has she seen the movie? Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    I was a big Nancy Drew fan. I have read every single one of the hundred and some odd books she wrote. It still amazing me that she wrote so many books! I wanted to be a sleuth or spy and marry Ned. Ned was my dream man.

    • I don’t remember ever throwing away any of my books when I was younger, but I can also only remember where just a few are. I hope that I can still find all of my Nancy Drew books. I credit Nancy for my love of mystery. Thanks for stopping by, Jill!

    • My sister had all of them, and I had all the Hardy Boys. My grandsons turned their noses up because there weren’t any light sabers or spaceships, so I gave the who set to the Friends of the Fort Worth Library. Sad.

  15. Amanda Rudd says:

    OMG! I LOVED the Serendipity books when I was little! Wow, haven’t thought about them in years though, geez…

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  17. Julie Glover says:

    My parents had a series of four books with classic children’s stories from which we read. My favorites from those were Gerald McBoing-Boing by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Bluebeard (creepy), and The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. Later on, I remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and Nancy Drew. Great post! I hadn’t heard of the Serendipity series.

    • I loved the story of Blubeard! I hadn’t thought about that story in a long time. I have always had a thing for pirates. From the responses, I think all of us girls loved Nancy Drew – and rightfully so! Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

  18. amyshojai says:

    Never heard of the Serendipity books but would have loved ’em. I loved the Mouse & the Motorcycle, and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and all of the “Misty of Chincoteague” horse books–and Albert Payson Terhune collie stories. There weren’t any cat books but I devoured anything with horses or dogs, or mysteries like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. A Wrinkle In Time.

  19. Jess Witkins says:

    Cute post! Charlotte’s Web would make my list too. And all the Happy Hollister series by Jerry West, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children. Real young, I’d have to say Peter Rabbit, Noisy Nora, and The Triplets.

    • Thanks, Jess! And thanks for the special linkage. I read Peter Rabbit and the Peter Cottontail stories a lot as a child. I love taking all of these trips down memory lane – Thanks for the memories!

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  21. The first book I got that was all mine (I’m fourth of four) was a Peter Rabbit; the second was a big fairy tale book. My parents had the original Childcraft set of books from the 1940’s; the first one was a book of poetry that I probably memorized by age five or so.

    I wanted so much to fit in with my older siblings that I skipped most children’s books. The hospital gave me Goodnight Moon when my sons were born; that and Love You Very Much got read to flimsiness.

    Great post; I’m running off to find books!

  22. Jami Gold says:

    I loved the Ruth Chew books as a child. They all had some paranormal-ish aspect, wizards, time-travel, etc. (The Secret Summer, The Trouble with Magic, The Hidden Cave). So it’s probably safe to say they influenced me as an adult (so says the paranormal author 🙂 ).

  23. lryanis says:

    My favorite childhood book was “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I still have it. Also loved Nancy Drew and Judy Blume as mentioned in several comments above. My boys loved the Magic Treehouse series. What a great post. Fun to reflect on childhood reading memories.

  24. kristal lee says:

    My favorites as a kid were the Boxcar Kids series, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

  25. Alana says:

    I love Charlotte’s Web. It was one of my favorites growing up. I also really liked The Babysitter’s Club series when I was young.

    Now I’m tempted to reread some of my childhood favorites.

    • Hi, Alana! Thanks for stopping by! I’m with you – I wish there was more time in the day so I could pick up some of my favorites and reread them. Unfortunately, my To Be Read pile is too big right now – but one day…. That is one reason why it’s so important that I keep all of my books safe & sound. 🙂 The Babysitter’s Club was GREAT! I tried to watch the movie not too long ago; it wasn’t the same. LOL

  26. Alana says:

    Yeah, my To Read pile is enormous too. But the nice thing about a lot of those children’s books is that they aren’t too long.

    I don’t remember the Babysitter’s Club movie…was there a TV series too? I think I watched that.

  27. I read a little bit of everything. Let’s see. The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley, The Wrinkle in Time series by Madeline L’Engle, Beverly Cleary’s books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Conan the Barbarian by Robert Howard, the Horseclan books by Robert Adams.

    I hadn’t thought of how I became a fan of sci fi in years. I started to read the books by Burroughs, Howard and Adams when I was about nine or ten. A neighbor moved and gave me a box with those books in them. Nobody told me I couldn’t read them so I did. I didn’t actually didn’t read A Wrinkle in Time til I was about twelve or so. Kind of upside down I guess.

  28. Jill Kemerer says:

    I love Harold and the Purple Crayon and all of the Pigeon books (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!). The middle-grade books that stood out for me when I was a kid were the Black Stallion series, the Shoes series, anything by Madeleine L’Engle, and The Phantom Tollbooth. I adored reading and still do!

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