Encyclopedia and Anne

June 6, 2006 @ 6:48 am | Filed under:

It’s Boys’ Week at Semicolon, and Sherry is suggesting good books for boys big and little. As always, her recommendations are right on the mark. I was tickled to see Drummer Hoff among the titles; that book was Scott’s favorite when he was a little boy, and our girls were delighted when he scored a copy at a used book sale a couple of years ago.

Sherry’s list for nine-year-old boys is full of our old pals, like Hank the Cow Dog, Encyclopedia Brown, and Tintin. I would add* By the Great Horn Spoon and The Great Turkey Walk to the list. I haven’t tested these on any nine-year-old boys yet, but my pack of girls adored them, and their combination of breathless action and offbeat humor is bound to satisfy any boy.

Meanwhile, over at Jen Robinson’s Book Page, it’s girls who are in the spotlight. Jen and her readers have assembled a list of the Coolest Girls in Children’s Literature. I have to say it was quite a thrill to see my own Martha Morse on the list. #112 on the list is Jane Stuart of Jane of Lantern Hill, a book by the author of Anne of Green Gables. Jane is the character who inspired my own “Jane” to choose that particular name for her blog alias when I started Bonny Glen 18 months ago. I myself re-read Jane of Lantern Hill at least once a year. The lion scene especially slays me.

Probably, though, I would pick Anne above Jane for Coolest Girl. And I have to think about who would get my vote for Coolest Girl of All…Anne or Jo? And then there’s Vicky Austin, Claudia Kincaid, and Martha Sowerby….

*UPDATED to add: Doh! Semicolon’s list, of course, was about series for boys. She posted a follow-up about individual titlesโ€”another excellent list.

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5 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. radmama says:

    Thanks, M! Jane was an awesome LMM character. It is Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat that I must reread each year and, in many ways, I love Pat more than Anne or Jo.

    Right now, I am rereading Magic for Marigold. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Carrie K. says:

    Having just read “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” aloud with my daugher a few months ago, I think I would go with Claudia as coolest. But Anne-with-an-e as dearest.

  3. Jen Robinson says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for the mention. You continue to bring lots of new visitors to my site, and they keep making great suggestions for the “cool girls” list. Your post also reminded me that I left Vicky Austin off of the original 10-person list, because I think that Meg Murray is a stronger character. But now that the list has expanded so much, Vicky clear needs to be added to the list (and will be). The funny thing for me is that I don’t think that I’ve read Jane of Lantern Hill, despite knowing Anne-with-an-e and Emily of New Moon quite well. Guess I’ll have to put her on my “to read” list. Anyway, I’ll be updating the list this weekend. Thanks again!

  4. Melissa Wiley says:

    Carrie, yes! You’ve nailed the distinction. Anne is my best-loved fictional friend, my favorite by a long shot; but “coolest” says other things to me. Claudia, now, she’s cool. Bold, innovative, shrewd, willing to take risks, sure of herself even when she’s out of her depth. Jo March is also pretty cool–except for “shrewd,” the above list of descriptors applies to her, too.

    Anne is quaint (even for her time), not cool. People don’t know what to make of her. They may adore her, be amused by her, or admire her (or, if they’re Pyes, none of the above), but they tend to see her as an oddity–even Diana. That’s part of why I love her so. I was never cool. Lovable, maybe, but that’s different.

    Jen, oh you have to read Jane of Lantern Hill! In grad school I got a job at a children’s bookstore. I’d read all the Anne & Emily books to tatters (and yes, had brought them with me to college and graduate school) but had no idea how many other book Montgomery had written. I pored over the Baker & Taylor catalog and spent my first couple of paychecks on the entire collection of titles. Jane was an absolute delight. I also loved The Blue Castle, which may not be one of Montgomery’s better books, but enchants me every time.

  5. radmama says:

    Another vote for The Blue Castle for the adult LLM lovers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Although I live in the LLM region and read everything I could find by her or about her, I didn’t discover the Blue Castle until I was in my teens.

    It was the controversy over the paralells between Colleen McCullough’s book and The Blue Castle that led me to LMM’s more adult work and I am so very pleased.

    A bittersweet book, really, as I think LMM’s life was much like the heroine’s, without the happy ending.