Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Back to the Future: Review of childhood and teen books

Well I have been a little nostalgic lately when it comes to reading, so about a week ago, I ordered a copy of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty McDonald and Slumber Party by Christopher Pike.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was one of my favorite books growing up and I had no idea that these books were written in way back in the 40s. They are still relevant today. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the woman who lives in the upside-down house and she loves children. She plays with them, lets them tear up her house and she helps their parents with cures for naughtiness. Got a kid that won't pick up his toys? Then, try "The Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure" and he won't be able to get out of his room to eat dinner or join a neighborhood parade because his room is so cluttered. Got a little girl that sasses you all the time? Try "The Answer-Backer Cure". Sure, it means adopting a parrot but the kid never answered back again. When I was a kid, taking baths and not eating enough were two headaches I gave my mother.

Anyway, my favorites were:

- "The Radish Cure" - a grotesque little story of a girl that doesn't want to take baths, so Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle tells the mother to let her go for weeks without a tubby. Then, once she has enough dirt on her, the mother plants radish seeds in her forehead and scalp which turns into full radishes. Now, that I think about it, it's kind of creepy and I'm sure Stephen King could make it a good start to a freaky-ass novel. However, after reading the story, I don't remember giving my mother too much fuss over taking a bath.

- "The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure" - Little Allen just doesn't want to eat or at least not as much as he should so he starts running out of energy. He is given increasingly tinier meals until the dude can't do anything because he has no nutrients. I was like this as a kid and my poor mother had to think of creative ways to get me to eat vegetables, fruit and protein.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle really is a timeless series of stories and perfect for a child of any age who has been naughty and needs to learn a lesson.

Rating: AH!

The next book, Slumber Party, by Christopher Pike, was apparently written in 1985? I don't remember being 10 when I started reading Pike. I think I was closer to 13. I must say I love Pike and I've got Chain Letter coming in the mail soon. This book showed up in my mailbox when I got home from work last night. I started it at 6 p.m., told my husband to get his own damn dinner, and finished it within a couple of hours. I think I had read this one before but it's been 20 years, so who knows?

6 teenage girls head to a ski resort and stay at one of the girl's parents' house. There is some bitchiness between all of them and a lot of jealousy as is pretty common with teen girls. Then, there is the memory of the last big slumber party where a tragic accident occured. The book tells us what happened that night and now, during the present slumber party, no one talks about it even though one of the girls has burn scars covering her face and is a constant reminder to everyone.

There are problems with this story, of course. Random characters that really don't have much to do with the story (Mindy), a budding romance with a guy the main character, Lara, knows for less than 24 hours... Plus, after a murder and a lot going on in the ending, it was weird how some of the characters left the hospital arguing over who got to ride with the cute boy. If a murder had happened and I was 17, I'd be wigging out and not thinking about boys.

But that's Pike and I remember reading his books on the beaches of Nags Head on family vacations and I still get goosebumps (sorry, R.L. Stine - I loved you too) during the spooky parts. I can't wait to read Chain Letter - all in one night!

Rating: Oh!

Yeah for nostalgic reads!


Kate Midnight Book Girl said...

I so need to borrow Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! And you should bring Chainletter to Readathon! Any other Pike books you want to re-read? I have most of them! (Most bought off ebay, so I'm not as uptight about how you hold the books!;)

Your site is looking pretty sweet!

Katie Pomroy @ KT's Reading Rainbow said...

Kate, Ooh, I just posted on your facebook. Thanks for commenting. I can bring Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle next Saturday for ya. If you want to, feel free to bring any Pike book over to read-a-thon. I'll be super careful and will return it ASAP. :)

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I don't remember Slumber Party that well, but I do remember that it was one of the better ones because it was "real" and not all supernatural. I think all the books from this time were the same way - you could see a ton of people murdered and you would still only care about the cute guy. But I love Pike anyway! :)

gabrielreads said...

Oh man, I had forgotten about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I loved that book when I was a kid. I may have to see if the library has a copy. :)

Susan said...

Thanks for the flashbacks! I used to LOOOOOVVVEEE Christopher Pike. Read all his books. Maybe I should re-read them -- I wonder if I would still love them?