Have you ever been haunted by a book? I was haunted by a book I couldn’t remember. My mother told me that when I was about three years old, I had a favorite book, one I checked out over and over again. I had absolutely no recollection of that book, and I wondered—what kind of book captured my imagination at that age? Was it a worthy book for a future children’s librarian?
Armed with a partial title, I searched Loganberry Books’ stumper database (http://www.loganberrybooks.com/solved.html ) and discovered Mary’s Scary House by Edith Thacher Hurd, illustrated by her husband Clement Hurd and published in 1956, the year I was born. Well, at least I had good taste! Edith Thacher Hurd authored many children’s books, some of which are still in print. Clement Hurd was the illustrator of the classics Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, as well as many others.
My search grew cold. There were no copies of Mary's Scary House remaining in the EVPL system. A few copies (mostly ex-library) could be had from used booksellers at “collectible” prices. I yearned to know more about this book that had helped to shape my love of books.
At Christmas, my husband surprised me with a beautiful, gently used and AUTOGRAPHED copy of Mary’s Scary House.
I rediscovered a charming story of a little girl who lives in a haunted house with a reluctant little ghost. Mary decides to take over the little ghost’s job, but learns that it is, indeed, difficult to stay up all night haunting. The happy conclusion is that now the ghost can be her playmate during the day.
I was delighted to be able share the story with my grandchildren. I paired it with a recently published book, Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara. I was struck by the similarties between my old favorite and Kohara's contemporary story and style of illustration. In this new book, an enterprising little witch finds a practical way to deal with the ghosts in her haunted house.
Did you have a favorite book when you were very young? What books do you love to share with your young friends?