You’ve probably heard the joke, “Do you want to know how to make God laugh?”
“Tell her your five-year plan.”
Well, in the last post I planned to write about critique groups and Liebster, Part Deux. After reading the proposed blog to my critique group, I decided the critique group part needed more work. So I shortened that blog and planned to finish the Liebster tasks last Thursday. You may have noticed a certain absence last week.
In the journey of life, I’m flying through some turbulence. Don’t worry. It’s not hurricane-level. Just some headwind that throws off the ETA and may slightly alter some of the course for the next few weeks. But the current plan is that things will settle down fairly soon and I’ll be back to regular Thursdays. I hope that’s not laughing I hear in the background.
In the mean time, I’ve missed telling you about books, glorious books. My current reading has been focused on bears and re-reading some of my older books before I pass them on. It’s still evident why the award winning books won, but it seems to me many of these older stories wouldn’t pass the publishing gauntlet today. Someone would have said, “You’ve got to change this, tighten that, and two other things before this is ready for publication.”
The last two books I’ve read are going to continue to reside on my shelf. They are both middle grade with a slight connection to my current bear mania.
THE BEARS’ HOUSE, written by Marilyn Sachs and originally published by Doubleday & Co. in 1971, has shown up in this blog before as one of the influential children’s books in my life. Although I read it as a young adult, the lonely child I had been was deeply touched by the story. Fran is the middle child in a family of five children. The father has deserted the family, and the mother is nonfunctional in her depression. The children want to stay together and decide to hide the situation from any outsider. Fran loves her baby sister and takes care of her as best she can, but has fourth-grade child-care knowledge.
I wish I knew for sure how I’d have reacted if I read it at age ten. I think it would have somehow left me feeling more connected even though Fran’s life was very different than mine. I wouldn’t have understood everything the adults did in the story. But I found the story so affecting, it stayed with me for years. It’s one of those stories that has layers for children to explore as they mature.
This time I was also thinking about the bear connection. The bears’ house is a playhouse her teacher had as a child. Mrs. Thompson is foreboding, but not unkind. She is about to retire and will give the house to the child who makes the most progress over the year. Fran loves the house. She imagines the bear family loving her and tolerating Goldilocks because of their admiration for Fran, who is low-status in the classroom. The bears fulfill their ancient role as the animals closest to being human and as nurturers of children.
Okay, I’m searching for my copy to take a cover photo and it is not to be found at the moment. See what I mean about turbulence? But when I check on-line, the book has a new cover anyway and has been reprinted by two other publishers. That should convince readers this is a book to check out.
DOGSONG next time.