Backlist Boogie: Brooke

Article by brooke

Every day, new books flood into the store--so many that I’m often overwhelmed by the possibilities. That’s why, every once in a while, it’s nice to remember the books that got me reading in the first place. The following are a few of my childhood favorites.

The Witches Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780142410110
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Puffin Books - August 16th, 2007

This is the definitive guide to identifying the witches in your life. Teachers are especially suspicious. Seen any women lately with unusually large nostrils who never take off their gloves? Witches! Roald Dahl’s classic about witch identification and grandmotherly love is one of my childhood favorites. Who could resist a grandmother who knocks cigar ash on her grandchildren as she tells them outrageous stories? This book delivers all the grotesquerie and hilarity Dahl is known for.

Farmer Boy (Little House #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064400039
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 8th, 2008

When I first encountered this volume in my Little House box set, I was like, What? I don’t want to read about a boy! But it turns out Almanzo Wilder is an okay kid. FARMER BOY delivers the expected descriptions of butter churns and snow drifts plus the trials of breaking a team of oxen. I was particularly taken with his mother’s indignation at the new fashionable round doughnut. Apparently they used to be braided and they would - get this - flip themselves when they were ready. I never understood how this worked, but I longed to live in a household where doughnuts were made on a regular basis.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547550299
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Clarion Books - January 10th, 2011

I have lost track of how many times I’ve read this book. When I was a kid, I used to read it every time I couldn’t decide what new book to read next, which was all the time. It’s got romance, friendship, old boats, corn-shucking, and mean cousins, plus a few mentions of the West Indies where the heroine was born. I like to think of it as Jane Eyre Light. Intrigue, mystery, and romance, but no nutjobs biting visitors and trying to set everyone on fire in the middle of the night.

Little Women (Puffin in Bloom) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147514011
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Puffin Books - August 28th, 2014

When I was in the fourth grade, I attempted to read this book for the first time and failed miserably. I made it to Meg’s aborted attempt at jelly-making before tapping out. Naturally, my real goal here was to get all those Accelerated Reader points. I was greatly disappointed to have labored for weeks with nothing to show for it. However, I did eventually read the whole book. As a kid, of course I was all about Jo and thought Amy was a brat, but when I read it again in college, I thought Amy was the pragmatist and I was all, “Jo, why are you marrying that old German dude?” Great literature - stands up to repeat readings. Thankfully, no matter how many times you read it, Beth is always the one to die. She’s kind of like Sybil on Downton Abbey. She’s sweet and everything, but a couple seasons after her tragic death, it’s like, Sybil who? Let’s get back to hating Edith.

Classics Reimagined, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cover Image
By Olimpia Zagnoli (Illustrator), L. Frank Baum
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781592538997
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: Rockport Publishers - September 15th, 2014

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ is a fantastic, magical journey about making friends with a tin can man and an anthropomorphic lion. It may also be a criticism of the gold standard. Or the silver standard? I can never remember. I love the story of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and I won’t waste time summarizing a plot we all know. The really important thing to know is that there is a new edition with ultramodern graphic-style illustrations. Even the edges of the pages are decorated! This hip edition of a beloved classic is an excellent addition to any library.

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