Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies by Jane Werner (Random House, 1951/2008)

Lynn: My name is Lynn and I am addicted to books. It started out slowly - a picture book here, a fairy tale there but before I knew it I owned the entire collection of Sue Barton and every Oz book ever written. I hoped I would change. But the cravings grew stronger than ever. My family guessed. The clues were everywhere: my constant requests for bookshelves, the towering stacks of books hidden around the house, the fact that all the bookstore clerks knew me by name. But even I did not realize how deeply I was hooked until the day I sat at the coffee shop idly reading review magazines and then it happened. I saw an article talking about the reissue of The Giant Golden Book of Fairies and Elves. “OMG,” I shrieked, reverting to abbreviations in my excitement. I leaped to my feet, knocking over my butter rum latte and my chair. I HAD to have it! My old copy was battered from years of reading. "The Lost Merbaby," "Singeli’s Silver Slippers," the wonderful Garth Williams illustrations, "The Cannery Bear!" Every eye in the coffee shop was on me. This is a Calvinist town and we don’t shout about books here. It was then that I knew I needed help. Heed this cautionary tale! RUN to your nearest bookstore and order this fabulous book for everyone you know. Then locate the nearest 12-step program. I’ll be there, with this childhood treasure clutched to my heart.
Cindy: I don't even know where to start to respond to that. Fortunately, we often take turns with bad moods and unbridled enthusiasm so we can help each other through the good and bad. Teasing aside, I can relate to Lynn's delight in Random House's reissue of favorite Golden Books. These books, purchased in the grocery store, and reread endlessly, imprinted on our DNA. My childhood favorite was Tommy Visits the Doctor with the delightful Richard Scarry illustrations of the boy and rabbit simultaneously visiting their doctors. True fans will have already read 2007's Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus. But back to elves and fairies. This book is charming and Garth Williams' drawings add just the right touch. A personal favorite of mine is the poem, "The Second-Hand Shop," by Rowena Bennett that explains what happens to all the household items I lose that the Borrowers don't abscond with...a fairy is selling them!