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October 31st, 2005

Star Dog

As an elementary school student that spent a lot of time in the library, I read loads of books. One time I even went in and asked for a thesaurus because I thought it was the neatest thing that a book with nothing but synonyms existed. I think I pronounced it “Theosaurus,” like a dinosaur, when I asked for it.

There was one book, though, that I checked out more frequently than any other book: A.M. Lightner’s Star Dog, a 1971 sci-fi book about a boy whose dog mates with an alien dog and gives birth to a pup with telepathic abilities. Oddly, when I was in college and the current elementary school librarian was purging old books from the library, she noticed that my name was on the checkout card (back when they used to handwrite them) many, many times. Since my mom has volunteered at the library since I went to school there, the librarian gave my mom the book to pass along to me. So, not only do I have a copy of this pretty random, obscure sci-fi title that was my favorite book from childhood, but I have the exact copy I checked out so many times. It’s kind of neat.

Anyway, this past week, I decided to revisit the book for the first time in 20-some years. While I wouldn’t say the book holds up as my favorite book of all time, it definitely captured my interest and held my attention just as intensely as it did when I was in elementary school. I turned to Huyen after I was done and said, “That was pretty clever how the people communicated with the aliens!” She was confused, but I told her she’d have to read the book to find out.

Have you revisited any books from your distant past that have captivated you as much as they did when you were a kid? And I’m not talking Dr. Seuss books, I’m thinking more substantial fiction novels that you may have read in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade.

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Maria
DATE: Monday October 31, 2005 -- 12:38:33 pm
Ryan, I had wondered what book you had checked out so frequently as a child.

Still a favorite for me is Jumper by Steven Gould. I think I first read it in 6th grade, and as an adult it still holds up.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday October 31, 2005 -- 3:06:42 pm
I knew I had written about that book recently, but totally overlooked that Ping. Anyway, yes, Star Dog is the book in question.

DATE: Tuesday November 1, 2005 -- 9:30:15 am
The Wizard of Oz books are good. Ozma of Oz, Emerald City, Tik Tok, etc

FROM: aharris
DATE: Tuesday November 1, 2005 -- 5:52:29 pm
You know...I think about this often. I've thought about going to a bookstore and buying all of my old favorites (yes, including the entire babysitter's club series) and just reading them. But then...I don't b/c there is something creepy about an adult reading books about adolescence.

Since I did an insane amount of reading I liked the challenge of series books. B/c it is hard to get the entire series b/c at any given time one (or all) would be checked out. So then I would pick authors and try to read their entire catalogue.

I really liked Beverly Clearly (Dear Mr. Henshaw was just a brilliant book for kids). Of the ones I can remember I liked Bridge to Terabithia, Caddie Woodlawn, Ramona Quimby, Age 8... And I was an analytical type so I really liked "mystery"/problem solver books like Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jensen and a great series called Two Minute Mysteries.

I can't wait til my niece can read chapter books so that I can inundate her w/ truckloads of unwanted books. :)

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