For the love of old books, I’ve done many things. For these, it was simple enough… a dollar and fifty cents, plus the time and energy to bring them 500 miles home with me, and the shelf space to keep them. It was, perhaps, a silly thing to do. You see, I don’t intend to read any of these books. I plan to repair one, if I can, as it will fall apart when read in the condition it currently is. But ultimately, they are both a memory of my past, and a hope for the future.
We had several of these books when I was young, and my mother told me she had grown up with them, as well. Classic children’s stories, in a clever binding that gives you two in one cover. There are quite a few of them – I don’t know how many, as my initial search only gave me ones that are being sold online, instead of information on the publication and series length, which is what I wanted. I do know that we didn’t have Tom Sawyer Abroad/A Dog of Flanders when I was small, as I haven’t read the first, and we had the second in a standalone paperback copy I can recall vividly. I did love dog book, and horse books. I’m not sure we had The Little Lame Prince/The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, because I don’t recall ever reading Lame Prince, and yes, I have read Robin Hood, although perhaps not this version. The First Reader, when we were looking at these volumes together, zeroed in on this one, telling me how much he’d loved Pyle’s version of Robin Hood. I have to wonder if it holds up to re-reading? Perhaps these will be read sooner than I anticipated!
I found it interesting to look at the wear and tear on these copies. They all seem to have been library books, marked from Carroll Lane School, and you can tell from the bindings which were the most popular amongst the pupils. Little Women/Little Men having been a favorite of my family, I am not surprised at this one being in the poorest condition, and I am hoping some book tape will keep it together for another generation’s reading. Heidi/Hans Brinker has already been mended, as they are also perennial favorites for young readers. Even those who might not have grown up with the goats, as I shared with Heidi while I first read her stories.
These books will have a special place on the living room shelf, tucked in a low corner just above the toys we brought in for young guests to enjoy on the occasional visits we get. I think they may be worth re-reading as an adult, particularly if I want to write more children’s books myself. I’ll likely find a few others to join them – I do have most if not all of the Chronicles of Narnia, for instance. And a few copies of my own books likely should join them. I don’t know that I will go out of my way to pick up more of the Companion Library books, but I knew as soon as I saw these it would be worth my time to acquire them, for the nostalgia alone!