Wednesday, August 7, 2013
For love of the series: Henry and Mudge
Way back when I was in second grade, I loved The Babysitters' Club books. Loved. So did some of my friends, and we would swap them, share them, and have deep conversations regarding which of the characters we most resembled. (Years later, I would do this again with different friends and Sex and the City, but that's a story for another day.)
Here's the thing...they were not good books. And I'm not even saying that in retrospect. Even as a wee lass of seven, I knew this. I read good books. I knew good books. These were not good books. And yet, I devoured them by the pile, combing the library shelves for the next number in sequence. By the time I stopped reading, the books continued well past number 100. By the time I moved on, the girls of the Babysitters' Club felt like dear friends (albeit dear friends who never seemed to get past the eighth grade).
If you've been over to visit lately, you may have noticed that Elijah has found his first serial best friends as well. (Not to be confused with his first cereal best friend, which was Cheerios.) Those best friends are Henry, and Henry's big dog Mudge.
For the uninitiated, some background: Henry and Mudge are the stars of a series of early chapter books by Cynthia Rylant. In addition to the fifty or so book in this series, she has somehow written tons of others as well. The drawings by Sucie Stevenson are childishly perfect for the simple stories, which deal with such seminal childhood moments as a trip to the beach, a visit to Grandma's and a day spent playing in the snow.
Elijah loves these books. Fortunately, our library is well-stocked with them. As any series reader knows, there is no need to own all the books. Better to check them out by the pile and return them the next week. There is also a spin-off series about Annie, Henry's next-door cousin, that Elijah also enjoys. As for me, I am just relieved that Elijah can now sit through books that last more than five minutes. The other night after dinner, we sat on the couch and read books for an hour. And for that, I give a bit chunk of credit to Henry and his giant, furry friend, Mudge.