Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Book From My Childhood: The Cricket Winter

Today I am yet again looking up Lexile scales on books that we own. This project is about half-way done and is taking me hours and hours.

I am working on yet another box which has all kinds of fiction chapter books in it, most from library sales.

I just came across one called "The Cricket Winter" by Felice Holman and there was not a Lexile scale for it. I noted then that this is a Dell Yearling book as so many were when I was a child and my mother would let me buy books from the Weekly Reader (was that what it was called?), that little flyer they'd send us home with from public school and that we'd have to bring back in with our cash money to place the order with our Language Arts teacher.

I remember also the book fairs. The school made a big deal about it and the children were paraded past all the books. The parents were pressured to buy books as it was a fundraiser. I wanted many books but my mother limited me as our budget was tight.

So anyway I saw the cover and thought, "I think I read this book when I was a child.". I opened the cover and there inside was my mother's very neat penmanship with my maiden name written out in pen. I bet I was in fourth grade when she bought this as I have a lot of books that we had bought when I was in fifth grade, those have my own sloppy fifth-grader penmanship and also my team number (my school class team number); I had written it there in case I lost the book at school, so it would return to my homeroom--number 2B3 was my homeroom number. The number is odd as we had a brand new open classroom building, that could make another whole long story. Also when in fifth grade, I used to write the date I bought it so those 5th grade books all say 1977 or 1978. So this book most likely is from fourth grade from 1976 or spring 1977.

(And it is odd also that now my mother's handwriting is shaky and not so good looking, while here is it perfect with that style they taught back in the early 1950s.)

As I have shared before my parents are packrats and I still have/they still have some of the books from my childhood. It is interesting to see what I was reading back then. Some have made it from my parent's attic over to my own children's book shelves. Some remain still in my parent's attic on my special book shelf.

When I was about ten we started going to a used book shop to buy books and I had full control over which books I'd turn in for store credit, so what books I read are lost to me now as I got rid of them. I did save some of the books, my most favorite ones, and this was one of them.

I can't wait to read it again and to have my boys read it.

I see that this edition with illustrations by Ralph Pinto, in a typical chapter book format is out of print. Currently this old edition of the book is selling used on Amazon for as low as 49 cents. (The cover price of the old edition is 75 cents!)

However the book has been re-released in a new format with new, more sweet illustrations.

It is fun coming across my old favorite books sometimes.

From the back cover of this 1974 edition...
"In words as fragile as silk thread, Miss Holman weaves her story with comments on the nature of boys, crickets, and life in general, creating a pattern both whimsical and grave...The work is delicate, but strong." -The New York Times Book Review

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JaneMarple said...

Is this this the one with an unusual nickname for Christine? I'd love to hear what that was...

christinemm said...

No, the nickname has nothing to do with this book. Hints and discussion of the nickname are in the comments of that nickname trivia question post.

Mel said...

Thank you for another title to look up and read to/for my boys.!