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More on "sticky books"

Since my post of the other day, I have decided that either kids' books are more likely to be inherently sticky or that things we read when young are more likely to stick. I came to that conclusion whilst reading this post on The Guardian about a signed first edition copy of The Wind in the Willows selling for a lot of money (since it's a British article about a British book, I have to say "whilst").

Writer Allison Flood points out in the article that, beloved as it is now, The Wind in the Willows took a while to catch on. But once it did, it really took hold. I loved this quote from A.A. Milne on how he felt about the book:

". . .one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character."

I would call it a test of personality more than character. But I did love that book, especially the relationship between Mole and Ratty. I loved the way the book started with Mole digging his way to the surface because it was spring; I loved the river, and the visits to the deep woods, and meeting Badger. It's a book that did truly stick in my mind. If you loved it, too, be sure to read the article about some of the inspirations for it.

So what do you think? Are kids' books sticky because we read them when we are young and impressionable or is it the stories themselves?

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
(since it's a British article about a British book, I have to say "whilst"). <--This made me giggle. :)

I think it has more to do with being young and our brains being wiiiiiide open than it does with the story itself--though I do believe both play their parts. If you go back and READ some of those old favorites, they're not as good. It is why I purposely don't!

Sometimes stories do stand the test of time. Sometimes they don't. But even the not-so-great ones stick to us, because of who we were when we read them.
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I agree! As for the "sometimes they don't hold up." I think each reader brings something different to a story, and sometimes that something changes over the years. This, I suppose is one reason styles change in literature over time, as society changes.
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
I think kids books are sticky because we have fond memories of a parent reading the books to us. They are also the first books we read, and they touch us in a way that shapes our future development.
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
You know, I think that applies to parents reading books to kids, too. I can still remember Dr. Seuss' ABC's and Rosie Robin Ross going riding on her red rhinocer-os.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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