Today’s prompt: What was your favorite children’s book?
My first reaction to this prompt was “WTF!? I don’t remember what I read as a kid!” But that was a lie, because after thinking for about 10 seconds, I remember very clearly the one book I read over and over and OVER again, and loved it so much I bought Zack his own copy, too.
Tibor Gergley's Great Big Book of Bedtime Stories
The collection is a union of 32 Golden Book stories, packaged in one cozy bedtime book. And being Golden Book stories, none of them are bad, but there are two that clearly stand out above the rest, for me anyway.
The first story was “The Golden Year.” The story is one of the shorter ones in the book, but it goes through the whole year, month by month, in the lives of a bear family. Over the course of the year, they go skiing, plant a garden, add a new bear cub to their family, go on summer vacation, they fatten up for a hibernation they will never take, start a new school year, and they gather and feast for the holiday season. In reading this story to Zack, I now realize how sexist and ancient the ideals are, like when the father bear is the one responsible for taking the family on vacation or how the mother bear is the only parent who interacts with the cubs, but in the name of childhood memories, and an understanding that the stories in the book were written in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I overlook those things and it continues to be one of my favorites in the book.
The second story, and by far my favorite, is “The Happy Little Whale.”
The Happy Little Whale is a tale of a whale that is caught from the ocean and brought to a SeaWorld-type place to perform for happy little children and their happy little families. As happens in captivity, the Happy Little Whale becomes not so happy and she misses her friends and family from the ocean, plus she doesn’t like jumping thru hoops. Clearly, when you have an unhappy little whale in your tank, the solution is to capture another perfectly happy whale from the ocean and throw him in the tank, too, so he can become equally unhappy. But you would be wrong in your thinking, because obviously, two little whales from the ocean sharing a tank will fall in love and complete each other, all Jerry McGuire style and suddenly be thrilled to jump thru hoops for happy little families happily ever after. It’s heartwarming, really.
Other notable tales in the Great Big Book of Bedtime Stories include, but are not limited to the following:
Scuffy the Tugboat
Little Yip-Yip and his Bark
Rupert the Rhinoceros
Wheel on the Chimney
This book, and the stories within, are really not modern or in any way politically correct by today’s standards, but they’re classics, and I love ’em today as much as I did when I was a kid!