Books of the Past

I’ve been thinking a lot about books I read as a child recently. Before I had a blog to document my feelings and opinions on books, I just had my memory (and of course the occasional elementary school book report). I’ve began to wonder how many books I have actually read in my life, and decided that it is impossible to count. I simply can’t remember every single one I have read. So I’ve decided instead of trying to remember every single one, I’ll share a few books (or series) that I remember having a big impact on me, or that I enjoyed very much. I’m not putting these in any particular order, just however they pop into my head.


1. The Magic of Spider Woman by Lois Duncan, Shonto Begay (illustrator)244612

Despite my crippling fear of spiders, this book never failed to enchant me. It tells a Native American tale about a woman who learns the secret of weaving from spider woman. However, this secret comes with a warming. When the main character ignores the warning, she gets trapped within one of her own creations. I remember reading this book over and over. The story was so interesting and the pictures were stunning. Of all the children’s books I read, this is the one that sticks out most in my memory.


2. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbra Park958277

Of course there weren’t quite as many Junie B. Jones books when I was in elementary school ( I think there are 28 now?) but I always loved Junie B.’s adventures and thought everything that happened was absolutely hilarious (which it probably still is). We had a box of the books and home and a bunch floating around our classroom at school, so I never had to worry about finding one to read, even if I had already read them all a million times already (of course that’s an exaggeration…. unless it isn’t?).


3. The Magic Treehouse (series) by Mary Pope Osbourne 824734

Much like the Junie B. books, I read this series over and over again (and also there weren’t quite so many out when I did). I travelled in time with these books, and there was a new world to discover every time I did. It also didn’t hurt that there was a bit of mythology and magic thrown in (which began to show up more in the later books). After finishing a book I would go find my older brother (who is even more of a book worm than I am) and pretend that I was Annie and he was Jack, and go on adventures of our own. That is until we found another book to read!


4. Little House in the Big Woods (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder441602

These books were probably my favorite stories. I loved Laura and wanted nothing more in life than to be her. Her life to me was something of a fairy tale, and it sounded so fun and adventurous. I loved reading about her moving across the country in the wagon and all the obstacles they ran into. I loved reading about how Pa built the houses they lived in as they moved west. And I loved reading about how she grew up and made friends and became a teacher and fell in love. And now all I want to do is read them again.


I could probably make this list a hundred thousand books long, but I think I am going to stop at four. When I look back and think “What books made me fall in love with reading?”, it is these books. I do have some honorable mentions; books that I loved but that I don’t feel exactly belong on the list.

The Cam Jenson books– These books were another great series, but I didn’t enjoy them quite as much as some of the other series.
Captain Underpants books– hilarious (and I loved the flip-o-ramas) but I got tired of them after a while
Encyclopedia Brown books– fun, but I think I only had one or two, so I didn’t really get into them as much as the other series
Harry Potter books– Okay, so don’t hate me for putting these down here. I did love them, but I didn’t start reading them until I was a little older, so I don’t really consider them “childhood books” even though they are technically for children
Ballet Shoes– I remember reading this book over and over and over in my third grade classroom, but as much as I loved it I don’t remember it as well as the books on my list, so I don’t think it quite belongs.


There were of course a lot of books that I liked, and if you want me to think up some more I would be more than happy to. But how about you? What books did you love as a child? What books shaped your childhood? I’d love to hear what they were!!

Book Review- Billy Bedivere in the Quest for the Dragon Queen

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Billy Bedivere in the Quest for the Dragon Queen: A Kingdom of Legends Adventure  by Alan Sproles
Published by Bookbaby on December 3, 2015
Genres: Children’s Books, Fantasy, Fairy Tales
Pages: 222
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Amazon

Would you like to leave on a camping trip poor and come back rich? But what if that meant fighting a vicious huge blue bunny, or a big black bear, or man-eating trees or a two-headed dragon guarded by giant spiders? That’s what happened to Billy on a weekend camping with his dad and friends. Told by his dad not to cross the creek, Billy does just that when he hears the call for help from inside a large cave in the side of a cliff. Billy, the good scout, goes in the cave alone concerned that someone was in trouble. As he moved deeper and deeper into the cave Billy falls into a vortex that sweeps him into another world. It is a brilliant but very strange place. It appears to be a one-way trip until he acquires some very strange and even famous characters as friends starting with a rose that has been calling out for help because a large bunny has been eating them. Rose informs him that the only person who can help him get home would be the genie and tells him how to get there. On the way Billy encounters Hansel and Gretel who accompanies him on his journey. After their near fatal encounter at the chocolate house of the witch they make it to the genie who informs them that the only way home is to defeat the Dragon Queen, a two-headed dragon at Flagara’s house of Sad Faces. To return home Billy must grow up fast if he is to survive and conquer the biggest challenge of his life- if he can. Does he have what it takes? He’s just a kid but he’ll need to be a man to get home. Billy Bedivere must defeat the Dragon Queen but first his life will change forever along the way! It changes because of his new friends- a droll named Sparkie, a pixie named Pippy and a talking dragon named Dreadon to name three, and there are many more. Billy succeeds in getting through the Dark Forest and to Flagara’s house of Sad Faces where the great dragon is protected by a hoard of giant spiders. The Dragon was once a princess that was cursed by another very evil witch. Billy is victorious in his battle with the dragon but that victory will reveal something even more shocking. And that will change everything again!

Billy Bedivere was an interesting book. The story itself makes a good children’s story, however, it did not feel like I was reading a children’s book. The writing style was strange… some version of third person present tense, but there were several places in the book where it slipped in to second person, which did not exactly read well. If anything the way the book was written kept it from being more exciting.

This is a book that would be amazing if it were rewritten. The story itself is somewhere between Narnia and The Magic Tree House, and definitely has a lot of potential. It’s just the writing that makes it fall short. The writing takes away some of the magic.

All of the characters in the book are great. There is a good mix of fairy tale characters and magical creatures that team up together to go on an amazing quest/adventure. It’s a heart warming tale and I really did find myself enjoying it, and I do think that I will read the second one when it comes out. I just really wish the writing was a bit different… I think that would make a huge difference.

I am going to give Billy Bedivere in The Quest for the Dragon Queen three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

*This book was sent to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not in any way affected my views or opinions of the book.