Friday, October 24, 2008

Bewitching Books

Today's Wonder of the World is...Books That Bewitch Unsuspecting Children, Take Over Their Brains, and Rule The Entire Direction of Their Lives!

Okay, so I might be exaggerating just a tad.
But people, I love this book from my childhood.

As you can see, it's written and illustrated by Wende and Harry Devlin. I'm trying not to hyperventilate because I just googled them and found a website HERE! As it turns out, they've written several other books that I'd never even heard of! Rest assured, people, as God is my witness, I will read those books before the last leaf of autumn falls! Watch out, kids at the library! Outta my way!
But back to this post...

I just read Old Black Witch! for the eight hundred fifty first time to Sam (and yes, he tried to read it himself but I wrestled him to the ground and pulled it out of his grubby little hands,) and I made a shocking discovery:

This makes me wonder...
Is this just a happy coincidence? Or something more...mysterious?
Would I still have loved those things if I'd never seen that book before?
Or did Old Black Witch! TAKE OVER MY BRAIN?
In either case, I still love it.

Hey, I've got a great idea! Let me tell you the story!
Please? Pretty please, with sugar and a cherry on top?
And as I tell it, I'll show you pictures of all the things Old Black Witch! made me love, so you can see what I mean. Okay?

You don't really have a choice in this, so just nod your head.
Wonderful! Let's begin.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Nicky and his mother named Mother.
(There was no daddy. Don't ask me where he was.)
Anyway, Nicky and his mother got in the car and moved to New England.

Flickr photo by yelovet00
New England! Where I forced my newlywed husband to go on our very first vacation because I couldn't wait any longer to see it for myself! Where I ate my first lobster! Where the waitress gathered the entire kitchen staff to our table and made us order again in front of them, just so they could all hear our southern accents!

Nicky's mother moves them to New England so that she can find an old broken down house and turn it into a tea room.

Flickr photo by Mr. Ducke
I've ALWAYS wanted to buy an old broken down house!

She plans to put red checkered curtains on the windows

Flickr photo by kexi
Love those!

And Sweet William on the tables

Flickr photo by penwren
One of my favorite flowers!

And of course serve tea!

Flickr photo byrejohnston123

Nicky and Mother set a fire in the fireplace and have just gotten started cleaning and scrubbing when out stumbles Old Black Witch! She tries to scare them off, but alas, they are determined to stay. Mother has already spent all their her money on the house, and besides that, they're excited about the tearoom. They've even planned the menu.

The Jug and Muffin will serve

Flickr photo by simply photo
Blueberry pancakes!

And another favorite:

Flickr photo by sitesbystacey
Biscuits and honey!

"But what will become of me?" the old witch asks.
Mother and Nicky let her set up a bedroom in the attic.

Flickr photo by swambo
I've always wanted an attic bedroom!

Old Black Witch loves it up there, thanks to the spiderwebs and bats. She just wishes she had a couple of spotted toads to keep her company. She stays anyway.

The tearoom opens, and it's quite a hit amongst the society ladies. It's such a hit in fact, that Mother needs more help! Old Black Witch joins in, and before long she's proven herself to be quite the cook and has endeared herself to everyone, despite her witchy ways.

(Hmm. This sounds familiar. Anyone who's read French By Heart probably recognizes a similar character. And she was/is completely real! I promise I didn't model her after Old Black Witch! But what a slightly creepy coincidence.)

Eventually the news of the tearoom's success got around to some bad guys.

Flickr photo by Futuregirl LeahRiley
(Not that I love bad guys. Unless they're cartoony like those, with black masks on their faces and dollar signs on their moneybags!)
At first Old Black Witch cheers them on, since she's a witch, naturally, but then she realizes that they're stealing from her!
So she changes them into toads.

Flickr photo by Superman Pete
(Okay, so these are tree frogs. But you get the idea.)
And pops them into a birdcage.

There's my favorite birdcage!
(Pay no attention to the angel inside it. I had no toads and I like the symbolism.)

All is right with the world. The tearoom has been saved, Nicky and Mother are happy, and Old Black Witch has a pair of toads to add to her attic bedroom.
The End.

So there you go. My psyche, on display for all to see.
It's a fun book, especially at Halloween.

So tell me, what do you think? Did the book make me love the things I do? Or did I love the book, even as a first grader, because the seeds of my favorite things were already planted in my brain?
And what about you? Think about it, won't you? Are there books from your childhood which are full of your favorite things? I'd love to hear about them!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! And a fabulous weekend!
Oh, and "Bats! Crickets! And snakes' knees!"

Love, Becky



I want an old house, but I want it all fixed up. They can leave the attic alone - it might have some wonderful items that have been left behind!


Linda Crispell said...

When I was in first grade I remember longing for the life of Dick and Jane, from the Fun With Dick and Jane Readers. I would stare at the beautiful pastel cakes and wonder why we never had pink and yellow cakes.

JaxPop said...

I hate to be disagreeable - but there's no way your psyche (or anything else) could ever be witch-like. I appreciate that you find so many things to be WONDERsneverceaseFUL.

TattingChic said...

That was a cute rendering of that story with the way it relates to your life as you know it now! I think I liked Nancy Nurse books and my favorite was the one where she took care of a baby. I remember asking my mom if baby's need nurses and she said "sometimes". It profoundly affected me as a child. I later worked as an RN at a NICU in a large city, LOL! (NICU = Neonatal Intensive Care Unit~for the wee ones...I mean REALLY wee ones.)

Suzie said...

I love the story but I really loved the picture of the biscuts and honey. I wan them so badly and no one around here makes them. I actually want biscuts and gravy even more.Yummm.... sorry what were you saying?

May Vanderbilt said...

You know what the cutest part about this post is? YOU. And your excitement.

I think my favorite book as a child was Pickle-Chiffon Pie, which I'm sure people even read anymore. I also love Dinotopia.

adrienne said...

One of the first books I can remember was about a cheese-tasting mouse named Anatole.
I do love cheese.

Kat said...

An attic bedroom! ACK! I DO NOT like attics. Creepy!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love y'all's comments.
And I just noticed something freaky in one of the pictures I used. Did you notice the man standing in the corner of the attic? CREEPY!
What's he doing anyway?

lotusloq said...

I often think it would be so great to live in an old house and fix it up and make it amazing. However, I have no fix it skills and my husband has fewer than I have. So... It's just a pipe dream.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Another wonderful wonder!!

Sherry Martschink said...

I didn't notice the man in the corner until I read your comment, Becky. Did you go back and somehow add it in just went I scrolled back up to see it? :)

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

This sounds like a great story! I have got to check that out!


Paula Clare said...

Hi Becky!
I love the cover of the book and I must confess (gasp) I've never heard of it before!

Regarding childhood books that may have in some way (warped) shaped us: my fave was/still is "The Giving Tree." Sappy (HA!) I know. I love little boys and I am now a franciscan monk/tree hugger, so I think it MUST have had something to do with it!

Bible stories like Jonah and the whale (I also belong to Save the Whales) and David and Goliath (I am an advocate for the "underdog", marginalized, poor and abused) also had their part in shaping who I am.

I remember reading Little Women and wanted desperately to be Jo...the writer. SHe was given to an enormous amount of am I! And I've always had "writer" in my top 3 list of "things I want to be when I grow up." (counselor, teacher, writer. 2 out of 3 so far!)

Great reflection, girlfriend! Thanks for asking...and writing!

Our Juicy Life said...

ah we just looked at an old village house for sale here in France, 4 levels, first is a gallery space, 2nd and 3rd kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and bath, 4th floor attic bedroom - beautiful beamed ceilings, large windows that look out over the village to the gorges...our jaws dropped when we went up to that room.

Betty C. said...

I wish I could go back and read some of the books that made such an impression on me as a kid. Strangely, there are a few whose titles I can't even pull up.

Alex said...

Wow...851 should have it memorized by now!! ;-) hee hee and I SO LOVE that picture of New England. Very breathtaking.

Happy Saturday! :)

Fete et Fleur said...

What a wonderful story! It's like what came first, the chicken or the egg for you. My favorite childhood book was called Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell. The drawn illustrations were beautiful and magical. I spent many hours dreaming about this far away land

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh how fun! I do LOVE that story and that fantasy--a tea room in an old house in New England. *sigh*

Susan said...

I loved Cherry Ames. She was a nursing student and then later a nurse. Her birthday was the same as my Mom's. Thinking of her makes me remember my Mom, can't ask for more than that. Take care. Susan

Alex said...

Hi Rebecca,
I hope you are having a good weekend.

Kim said...

This is great...of course I'm still being bewitched by books I read now - may that never stop! Thank you for your comment and kind words at my blog.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Love it! Great story.

Kathy said...

In his mid-fifties, my husband discovered a favorite book from his childhood among his mother's things. Flipping through it, he discovered the main character describing the kind of doctor he wanted to be when he grew up. That is exactly the kind of doctor my husband grew up to be!

Coincidence? Maybe. But it makes me take my job as a writer just a little more seriously.

Marie Antionette said...

This was really kool,I love it,and all the pictures with it also.I even love your tree toad frogs.Hugs Marie antionette PS hop on over to my blog to enter a naming contest.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'm making a list of these childhood favorites of yours to investigate!
And Kathy--that's really inspirational! I agree--the power of the written (and illustrated) word is a little intimidating!