Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The first book you loved? (Don't lie to me!)

What is the first book you loved?

Someone brought this up at work today, and it’s always an interesting topic to explore. What struck me though was the number of people who lie to try and impress others. They’ll always go straight to the Important Books, like:

Catcher in the Rye

Oh, I really related to the themes of um, ah, you know, just…didn’t the guy who shot John Lennon have a copy in his pocket?

Slaughterhouse Five

It’s cool, right? This book is cool? It’s about this guy, and the war, and then some aliens and a teapot and stuff. Well, the edition I’ve got has a very cool cover.

A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens is classic, yeah? So if I say I’ve read this, you’ll all think I’m educated, right? Oh, and it was the best of times and the worst of times. I think one of the cities was probably London.

But today when someone brought it up, I took this question seriously. I’ve loved a lot of books in my time. In fact, I love all three of the Important Books I mentioned. But the first book I loved was this:

It has everything. It has dogs. It has dogs in hats. It has dogs in cars. It has dogs in hats and cars. It even has conflict: Will those two dogs who keep saying “hello” and “goodbye” and disagreeing over hats ever be friends in the end? And it has a massive party in a tree house at the end. Best. Ending. Ever.

This was the first book I loved because it was the first book I could read by myself, and because there was so much to discover in every illustration. This may even be the book that made me want to create my own stories. I read this book until it fell apart. I’ve since been through two other copies. I read it when I was four, and there is a copy on my bedside table now. And even though I'm an adult with no children, I'm not ashamed. Know why? Because reading this book still makes me happy. Sure, it’s not a complex journey in the psychological mindset of alienated youth, but it has dogs in cars. And sometimes that’s all you need.

You can buy the awesome Go, Dog. Go! by PD Eastman here at Amazon.

So, tell the truth now, what’s the first book you loved? 
And, if you're in the mood to share, why? 


  1. I think it was called something like "Horses of Dreamland" and it was the PERFECT book for a little girl. It had the most beautiful illustrations and was all about a girl who flies off on the back of a lovely horse during her dreams. I need to find that book for my daughters. Thanks for reminding me. :)

  2. The first book I can remember struggling to understand and feeling proud when I could do it, would be the Wishbone version of the Iliad. But the main reason I loved it so much might have been that the reading aid told me it was too advanced for my age and I really wanted to prove her wrong. So I did.

  3. Gosh, good question but a lot of memory to search. I think it was probably The Cat In The Hat. Everything by Seuss delighted me. The Lorax was also big for me.

    The first time I was conscious of really loving a book was when I read Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, the summer before high school, if I recall correctly.

  4. Sarah,

    I love kids' books! I had this idea when I was about ten that I had to get rid of them all and be grown up, but luckily my mum held onto most of them. Those that she didn't, I've found myself buying again as an adult because, even after all these years, I still love them. I'm grateful to my parents for letting me grow up in a house full of books!

  5. SM,
    I remember that feeling of proving teachers wrong! Not often, though, because I was a fairly lazy student. I do remember that I tried to read Romeo and Juliet when I was about ten, just to say that I had. And I did as well. I think I probably understood about one in every ten words, and I had no idea what happened, but I still read it, dammit!

  6. Margo,
    Anything Seuss is gold! I don't remember liking The Lorax. It made an impact because it was so disturbing, but my favourite was The Sneetches. There was also a story with it about a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them. And that just freaked me out. Sure, I knew the pants just wanted a friend, but I've always been terrified by stories where inanimate objects come to life. Even the teapots in Beaty and the Beast.

  7. The desire to prove someone wrong can be such a great motivator. I discovered my favorite book of all time (Dune by Frank Herbert) because my (then) future husband suggested it might be over my head. And it totally was the first time around, but gosh darn it I read that thing!

  8. There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss, so delightfully creepy.

    Also, I have to give a shout out to The Doubtful Guess by Edward Gorey, even though I found it later than I did Dr. Seuss. I fell all kinds of in love with it.

  9. Mine would be The Poky Little Puppy.

    I just looked it up at wiki to be sure how to spell Poky, and I had no clue it was the bestselling children's book ever here in the states. I just liked the puppies and the bugs.

    No party in a tree house, though. Will have to check that out.

  10. Sarah,
    Stubbornness is under-rated! It's the best motivator I've ever found.

  11. Cacy,

    I haven't read The Doubtful Guess, but I am a huge fan of The Gashlycrumb Tinies. I will need to check it out.

  12. MC,
    I remember The Poky Little Puppy. It was a Golden Book! When I lived in Papua New Guinea as a kid Golden Books were the only books I remember being available. They were sold at the supermarket - there were no book shops. My mum decided she would buy my sister and I a Golden Book each every week if we'd been good. A few months later Kathy had almost a dozen and I had The Saggy Baggy Elephant. It was blatantly unfair! And just because I was dedicated enough about learning another language to check with my mother how to say all the swear words. And because I booby-trapped our yard. And because I kept bring stray dogs home. And because I "borrowed" Nick's machete without asking. And because of some other stuff.

  13. But you got The Poky Little Puppy, didn't you?

    Or did you steal it from your sister and then tell her how to properly swear?

  14. My sister was two years older - already smart enough to swear, and smart enough not to ask our mum how to do it! And she had The Poky Little Puppy. Like anything of hers, I had to feign complete disinterest if I wanted to have a look. If she'd known I wanted it, she wouldn't have let me. And this is why I carved HER initials into my dad's bar. Shame he didn't fall for it. Could have been epic revenge.

  15. The The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss is the first book I remember checking out of the school library over and over again. I'm not sure that I loved it, exactly, but it was the first one I remember wanting to read over and over again.

    The first book I can remember being obsessed over and honestly loving and thinking about all the time was A Wrinkle in Time. I was consumed by it and the characters.

    I'm not sure how to explain the difference between the two. I think Bartholowmew is the first book I remember loving to read, and A Wrinkle in Time is the first book I fell in love with.

  16. Green Eggs & Ham as a child.
    As a teen, The Outsiders.

  17. I'm sure there were books I liked when I was tiny, but I'm getting old now and I can't remember them :) The one I remember loving the most when I was small was Danny the Champion of The World by Roald Dahl. I still love it.

  18. Sommer Leigh,

    Wow! I remember A Wrinkle in Time. That was a fantastic book!

  19. Pk,

    Green Eggs and Hame is still a favourite! I actually bought a copy in Latin when I was learning it. It reads just as well as in English!

  20. Girl Friday,
    My favourite Roald Dahl was The Twits. They were just so wonderfully revolting!

  21. Late to the party here, but my first book love is an obscure kid's book. Ants found a bowl of sugar in a house and two of them remained behind to eat to their heart's content. They were separated from the others. They get thrown into coffee, put into the toaster and then the sink.

    The pictures were gorgeous and I loved ants. It was meant for me. :)

  22. Claudie, that sounds traumatic! Did the ants survive?

  23. Yeah, they survive and return to their colony. It was epic. :)

  24. Sounds very cool...although you liked ants? Were puppies too conventional? I'm not judging, I loved geckoes as a kid. I still have a house full of them now, and the way they fall off the ceiling with a plop when they suddenly remember how gravity works still makes me laugh.

  25. For me, it was Dealings with Dragons. After I read that, I had to read every dragon book I could get my hands on.

  26. I don't think I've ever read that one, Teralyn. But I did love dragon books!



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