Friday, July 30, 2010

Reading Going Way Back

I bought Ozma of Oz and The Velveteen Rabbit for Sophia and Ali. Those books  span five generations potentially.

The Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and he went on to write fourteen other books, including Ozma, most or maybe all, of which my mother, Helen Peterson Cannon, owned, read tons of times and which I read over and over and was also crazy about, like her.  

The glue had crumbled and the string came loose on all those books by the time I got them and I'm sure they went into the garbage or the D.I., but we loved them.  Following is a list of the books of them on Wikipedia if you'd like to check them out just for fun:  

They and Mom are part of the reason I love reading.  During the month I didn't blog, I read quite a few books I'll have to tell you about later,  but I wanted to tell you about these first.

The second book I bought,The Velveteen Rabbit, was published in 1922.  I told the girls I really wanted Brad to read it to them.  I'm surprised I didn't read it to him and Ben, but I guess I didn't.  The one problem I thought they might have was that it was about a boy.  Soph and Al used to like books about girls, but I think they've let go of that.  I hope so.  And I hope it's not too young for Sophia -- I don't know.

Here's some quotes:  

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

How nice is that?  I don't know if my grandmothers, Mary Salmon Cannon and Nellie Bull Peterson, ever read any of these books, but they could have.  They likely did. That would be Ali and Sophia's great-great grandmothers.  Astonishing.  

I want to tie generations together in both directions and maybe this will do it.  I don't know but I'm trying.  I hate doing genealogy but maybe this will contribute something.  

Maybe these books are not as good as I remember, but it's worth a try. And my granddaughters are potentially old enough to hear a chapter a night instead of a whole book -- at least Sophia is.  Maybe she can read them herself.  I don't care what she does.  

All I hope is that they love to read as much as my mother did and as much as I do and they don't put the same restrictions on themselves as Mom did;  she always felt that she couldn't reward herself with reading until all her work was done and she so seldom felt she was there.  

How sad is that?  


Lindsey said...

I miss being able to just sit and read sometimes. It's not always possible with my little princess, but I love it and I hope Eliza loves it.

I never read the Oz books, but I loved the Velveteen Rabbit when I was little.

Annie said...

I have no memories of ANYONE reading ANYTHING to me. Chinese people LOVES to read, but i guess only to themselves. I can't remember when I couldn't read. Every single program on TV had caption, I watched TV a lot, so I "read" a lot. My mom used to buy lots of books to me and i would finish them all in one day. She also used to drop me off at the book store while she shops at the mall. I was very dorky, (and according to Lindsey, still is). I stopped reading when I moved to the US, it got really hard. I think I've only finished one book through out high school. I only stared reading because of Harry Potter, and that was because of the movies.