Sunday, January 13, 2008

nothing is ever quite the same

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away, when i was but a young girl...

My mother was working for her Educational Psycology PhD advisor (for the dissertation that was forever in progress but never materialized because of the independent child she was raising all by herself~among other things) in a private consultation business. I would go to their testing center while she worked and play for hours among the educational toys/testing equpment or read the library books/assesment materials (it was all good entertainment in my eyes). There was one book i read over and over again (actually i'm sure there were many books i read over and over again.)

A while ago, on one of my library discussion lists someone had a patron query about a book concerning a dog who lied around all day and then became a star of a commercial. This struck a cord with me as one of those books i loved as a child. Many answers were given~none of them sounded right to me. I could picture all the illustrations (could even visualize the dog~but couldn't name the type~Bassett Hound). Finally someone came up with the right book: Something Queer is Going On (a Mystery) by Elizabeth Levy (sadly out of print now, i believe); and i rejoiced to have rediscovered my old friend. I looked it up in our system and we did indeed have a copy~it was apparently part of a series (of which we only had a few titles left) but i did pull in the book in question and Something Queer at the Library (a Mystery) (but of course).

Now that i have read these two titles i have reached a conclusion i have reached before and that is new to almost no adult: you really can't re-experience your childhood with the same wonder, and sometimes, even trying can taint some of your memories of that childhood.

Although i still recommend this series (and i'm still in love with Fletcher the Bassett Hound~and the fact that Jill, his owner, has a large mass of red curls atop her head...) Something Queer is Going On just isn't the same book i remember (and maybe it is the small paperback format~i remember reading a large hardcover in at least semi-color but who knows how accurate my memory is...) The paperbacks still contain the same, very charming, illustrations (including some very helpful annotation which is part of what i always enjoyed). I think that Something Queer is Going On, perhaps as the first of the series, is the better of the two i read (and doesn't seem to start somewhere in the middle.) Basically this is the story of a dog who goes missing (a dog "who never needs finding, because he never goes anywhere..."), his owner, Jill, and her friend, Gwen, who set off to find him.

Something Queer at the Library concerns some vandalized library books, and Gwen and Jill's attempt to uncover the culpret and motive (actually not a bad subject to cover~though i wonder how many young readers would recognize the library of the late seventies~no matter.) Jill wants to enter Fletcher in All-State Dog Show and since he has never competed before she goes to the library to do some research (now there's a novel idea.) The two girls find certain pictures cut out and set out to discover which pictures are missing and why.

Both the books make cute stories and i would love to find a copy of the hard cover (if i hadn't sworn off book collecting for lack of space... like that's a resolution i can keep...)

1 comment:

Emily said...

i know what you mean -- but still old books (or music, or whatever) can feel so comfortable and evoke the feelings of a happy child. these two sound like fun reads, maybe something my niece would be interested in!