It’s dull and cloudy as I drive to school on Saturday morning to help prepare for the fete. I arrive at the Book Stall and find the convener already arranging boxes of books on long trestle tables in the under cover area – just as well it’s under cover because light rain begins to fall. Several people haul in more boxes of books and dump them on the tables. We read the labels on the boxes and place them in order: Prep – 4, 2 for 50c; Prep – 4, fiction; Prep – 4, non-fiction, and so on. Quickly I flip through to see that the appropriate coloured dot stickers are on all the books: blue dot (2 for 50c), black dot (50c), yellow ($1.00).
After the children’s tables are done we move to more boxes of books on more trestle tables: adult authors in alphabetical order, interest categories in alphabetical order: Animals, Biography, Business, Cooking, Crafts, Gardening, Games and so on down to Self-help and Sports (where last year I got Andre Agassi’s Open for $2).
Later, I go through the children’s boxes more slowly to find books I could use in my classroom. I find familiar books like The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words, Put Me in the Zoo, Crunch the Crocodile, Alfie Gets in First, several versions of The Little Red Hen and a quality hardcover of A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
I also find some unfamiliar, but appealing books like a starkly simple book of Opposites, an easy to read Cat and Dog, a read it yourself Quick Chick, Kate Greenaway’s Book of Rhymes, a colourful picture book, Splodges and a timely Tale of Two Honey Possums (for a child who is studying honey possums in our Australian Animals unit of work this term).
Here are two excerpts from the ‘reader’ with Dick and Dora as the main characters and Jack and May as their friends:
“Jack, will you play with me , please?” said Dick.
“Yes,” said Jack. “What can you do?”
“Bow-wow-wow!” said Dick. “What am I?”
Jack said, “You are a dog. A dog can go ‘bow-wow-wow’.”
Dick said, “What can you throw?”
“I can throw a ball,” said Jack.
(Schonell and Serjeant, p. 2).
In the Park
Dick, Dora, Jack and May went to the park.
By the big tree in the park they will have fun.
Dora has her doll, Jane. May will play with Dora and her doll.
Jack and Dick can play with the dog.
They can throw the ball and Nip will get it. He is a good dog.
(Schonell and Serjeant, p. 24-25).
What childhood memories do these books ellicit for you?