Some books are embedded into my memory. I may not remember the words, or even the whole story-line, but still there will be things that will catch my imagination and stay with me for years to come. Sometimes my heart and mind will be so touched that I will return to the bookshelf to relive those memories. Here are five such books.
- Bambi’s Children– I used to have this adaption of Felix Salten’s book a very long time ago. I don’t think I was even five yet, and I never fully grasped the story. But it was a Bambi story, and I loved all things Bambi. Then one day the book disappeared. About a decade passed, and I still remembered that book. I remembered that the pictures were pretty and lifelike. I remembered that there was danger, and although I was scared that the characters might be hurt, I wanted to know what happened. But I’d never see the illustrations again, or know what happened. The book was gone…or so I thought. One happy day, I was able to find it on Amazon I bought it immediately. Unfortunately the storytelling wasn’t as good as I remember it, but the illustrations are still lovely.
- Read with Me Bible-My first bible was a KJV, with tiny little letters forming words I couldn’t read yet. I remember being excited to own such an important looking book, but then being a bit put out by not knowing what it said. Most of my early theological education came from my little purple bible. This one was condensed into snippets and stories that I could understand, and the illustrations were lively. One thing, though: The pictures of the forbidden fruit looked like a pomegranate. For years I thought pomegranates were still forbidden fruit.
- The Seven Silly Eaters– For a long time I didn’t remember reading this book. But I remember that my lump of botched bread dough with the pretzel sticks poked into it was inspired by…inspired by…something. I never could figure out where this almost-memory came from, until I was rummaging through the library books a few years back, and found one of the books for Lil bro. There was something familiar about this book. The memories came seeping back as I flipped through it, and I rediscovered the fun of the quirky Peters family. My mother ended up buying the book for Lil bro…but I secretly suspect she bought it for me, too.
- The Fourteen Bears Summer and Winter– I don’t remember this book having a great deal of plot, but I do remember loving it regardless. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I can still feel the torn and frayed cover. I have faint but fond memories of each bear in his or her own little house, with their preferred flavour of honey, and other cute things like that. I believe my aunt still has it.
- Rupert Almanacs- Are these things still in production? I hope so! Most of my collection comes from the ’70s, but I have one dating from ’58. The whimsy of Rupert’s adventures captures the childhood spirit of adventure. The way the stories are told in layers: picture, verse, and text, adds some unique depth.
It’s incredible to look back on my favourite old books. I still find enjoyment in them, this time seasoned with nostalgia. But as I take a closer look, I start to see how much I have been influenced and inspired by those well worn pages.
The inspiration is still with me, and someday I would love to pass it along through my own books.