“What am I reading” Wednesdays: Children’s books

Everywhere I go, I make sure I have my Kindle or a paper book with me. I love to read. When I was waiting for my husband for our date night, I had my Kindle with me and read part of a novella while I waited for him. The minutes went by like seconds as I waited because I made the acquaintance of the characters in the story.

Reading is an intrinsic part of my life. While I was writing this blog, four-year-old Cupcake walked into my room, carrying her night-night story. I stopped writing to read her the story of “Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car.” Eileen Christelow’s poem evokes images of childhood with rhyming stories and colorful pictures. The story itself tells of determination and elbow grease to reach one’s goals and aspirations with a little bit of ingenuity to throw off the bad guys. It also teaches about single parenthood as the five little monkeys exhaust their mother who is trying to take an afternoon nap.

But I digress from what I’m reading to what I’m reading my children although my children play a role in what I read this week. While I’m reading some wonderful romance novels (I am after all, a pre-published, aspiring romance writer), I also took some time this week to venture into some children’s novels. I finished What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston (I stayed up late one night last week, reading until shortly after midnight to find out what happened to Georgette and James. I’m reading a spicy romance contemporary right now by Bella Andre who is scheduled to be one of the main speakers at the 2014 Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. I wanted to read some of her works before hearing her speak next October. Those books are both paper copies.

Sometimes I carry my Kindle as it is lightweight and can carry a virtual library. This past weekend I ventured forty miles away from home to chauffeur Kath on a band audition. In the noisy gymnasium where all the students were warming up, I found myself surrounded by high school students blaring scales and audition pieces. I needed something very easy to read on my Kindle. I had never read Pollyanna which I downloaded over a year ago. I figured some kid lit would get me through the loud time and then I could return to the romantic beach setting of the other Kindle book I am reading. To my surprise, I enjoyed Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. I saw the movie with Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman years ago, but I had never read the book until this weekend. Although Pollyanna has come to be synonymous with an overly sweet, syrupy young female heroine, she wasn’t as saccharine as I expected. The girl was trying to find her way in a world without her beloved parents while living with an aunt who refused to allow her to discuss anything about her father. Yes, it was a bit dated and Pollyanna was a little bit cloying at times, but the book was different from what I expected. Pollyanna leaped off the pages as the author used setting and stories to develop her characters. Pollyanna discussed her life out West by describing the women of the Ladies’ Aid in detail. One had a sense of knowing women like those in the Ladies’ Aid even now a hundred years later. Her Aunt Polly adopted her out of a sense of duty, and that sentiment still applies today. So many times people perform tasks out of a sense of duty rather than of genuine commitment and dedication. So even though Pollyanna gets a bad rap today and is a bit dated, some of the book still rings true: the maid who has to get a job because her family has no money, the girl who wants to talk to people to get to know them, the aunt who doesn’t want to let go of her pride rather than let people get close to her.

In addition to Pollyanna, I recently read another children’s classic that I had never read before: Mary Poppins. To my surprise, Mary Poppins is more sardonic than her movie character. She’s not quite as perfect but she gets involved in the family’s life all the same. Both of these books were immortalized as Disney movies, but each stands alone as interesting reads because of the perceptions of the heroines versus the way the writers develop them in the books.

Now I’m back to my romance novella and the romance novel I’m reading. I’m still finishing Meg and Caleb’s story in Beach House No. 9 and will finish Chloe and Chase’s story in a couple of days.

Have there been any books that you read because of a movie adaptation which surprised you because the characters were different from the movie characters? Have there been any books that you’ve read as an adult because you didn’t read them as a child? Let me know. Happy holidays.

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