Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Today the Artsy Reader Girl's topic is.... top ten childhood favorites!

I didn't realize this before, but boy howdy did I read a lot of science fiction as a kid.

1. The Henry Huggins/Beezus and Ramona books. Beverly Cleary was my first 'favorite author'. I think I began with a book about Ribsy getting lost.  I was nuts for dogs as a boy, and I think I read everything my library had after that.

2. The Boxcar Children.  Introduced to me through a scholastic book fair,  I found both the initial book -- about four orphans doing a My Side of the Mountain type thing in the woods, using an abandoned boxcar as their home -- and the mystery series that Warren later developed of interest.  The series got a little odder after the...fourteenth one, I think? That's when the children suddenly reverted to their early ages and were then stuck like that as the decades rolled on, so whoever followed Warren could just write mystery after mystery without having to fuss with age drama.

3. Bruce Coville's SF,  namely the series that grew off of Aliens Ate My Homework! One of the sequels was The Search for Snout.    Want to guess what that was based off of?   Conville's worlds were bizaare to me in a fun way at that age.

4. Goosebumps, Goosebumps, GOOSEBUMPS!   Everyone at school read these, but I had the plots and front-cover taglines memorized. There's a lot you can do as a kid when you don't have TV.  I started with Let's Get Invisible,  in which turning on a mirror's lamp seems to make persons in front of the mirror invisible.   Stine was known for his end-chapter twists, but especially his end of book twists.  The Monster Blood and Haunted Mask series are probably the most memorable, but no one can forget Slappy!

5. ST TNG: Starfleet Academy.  These novels were stories about the TNG crew when they were younger. Meant for junior readers, they and the adult novels were my primary exposure to Star Trek as a kid.  I saw the show for the first time when I dislocated my elbow and was in traction for three weeks, but since we didn't have a television I just read the books. A little later on we did have a television -- local stations only --  so I was able to watch Deep Space Nine, mostly as it aired.

6. Wishbone
Um...mysteries solved by a dog?  A dog recreating old novels? I can't actually remember despite having a shelf full at some time.

That's all the series I can remember from childhood. If we count middle school and beyond, then OF COURSE we'd mention...

7. California Diaries.     I mention this series a lot, and last year I did a full post on them.  Suffice it to say...at a school in fictional Palo City, California, children are required to maintain journals. The series follows a year at the school, experienced through the lives of five kids -- four  eighth grade girls and one 10th grade guy -- who all have their personal drama, in addition to the stuff that happens to them.

8. Animorphs.  Another series I loved, this one had the added appeal of rebellion: my parents didn't like the idea of them, so I came up with ways of buying the books without their knowing,  and traded paperbacks  so I could read more without having to buy more.   I also managed to buy a couple of VHSes when the shows became a series, but those were much harder to enjoy without parental knowledge. I think I had to watch them early in the morning when my mom was at yardsales.

9. Roswell High.   I've also given Roswell High its own post,  and like California Diaries it gets mentioned incessantly.

10. Fear Street. My sister collected these, and I don't know if my parents knew what they were about. For a sheltered kid, I wound up reading an awful lot of grisly murder stories thanks to this series.  Oddly, they inspired me to write fiction of my own -- stuff in the same genre, mostly monster, slasher, and ghosts.   The only one I remember clearly involved a monstrous spider living in a swamp.

Countdown.   I'd like to read this series again, actually: it was the most 'mature' series I read in my youth, following the aftermath of all the adults and kids turning into buttles of goo when the new millenium began.   So...it's a world run by teenagers, who have to rebuild society and figure out WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED.


  1. I was a huge fan of the Boxcar Children series as well.

    My TTT.

  2. Boxcar Children, yes! And I was a dedicated fan of the Wishbone TV series. We never had cable either, so PBS was my jam.

    "The Search for Snout" - lol!!

    1. And Snout was the logical one of this ship, so it was a definite reference. :-D

  3. It is obvious I am a bit older than you as I read the Boxcar Children and Bruce Coville's books to my kids. I forgot about Beverly Cleary when I made my list. Loved her Beezus and Ramona series. Great list.

  4. WISHBONE! That was my FAVORITE TV show as a kid so now I'm gonna get long. According to Wikipedia there were 3 different main book series + some junior versions. I only ever had the "Wishbone Classics" books, which were just straightforward retellings of classic books -- I just now learned of "The Adventures of Wishbone," which mirrors the TV show structure and is the kind of book I THOUGHT I was getting. Each episode was about an event in the day-to-day life of the dog and his preteen/teenage owner that paralleled a classic story and prompted said dog to narrate a condensed version of the story (transitioning into visual recreations where Wishbone played the lead male character, dressed in spiffy period costumes).

    And then I guess Wishbone Mysteries divests with the classics entirely and does, indeed, have the owner & his friends solving local mysteries, with Wishbone in tow. Childhood Me would have LOVED this...it would have taken all the sting out of stupid Arthur replacing the show on PBS far too soon.

    1. I never saw the TV show, oddly enough -- but I'd try any book once (including stuff like Sweet Valley High), and found I liked those.


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