Last year, our media center went through some major changes. Although we gained a wonderful array of new literature, any book with a copyright date before the year 2000 was plucked from the shelves and boxed away.
Yes, totally serious.
No Roald Dahl. No Ramona. No (sniff) Babysitters Club!! Preposterous, I know!! Anyhoot, last week I was combing the noticeably sparse book shelves and my eyeballs happened to land on one of my absolute childhood favorites, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Huh? Could it be?? A classic has remained on our shelves?? I rushed it over to our media aide who immediately turned to the front cover and scrolled her finger down until she found the copyright date. 1963. She began to explain to me that the book must have been lost when the Heartless Book Folk came in to clear the shelves and apparently was returned at a later date. Upon hearing this fantastic news, I clutched the book to my chest and proclaimed it a miracle upon miracles that the book was saved and I made a solemn vow to protect it from the Heartless Book Folk.
That night I crawled in bed with my newly discovered miracle book and transported myself back to fifth grade.
Master storyteller Joan Aiken weaves a spellbinding story that takes place in 18th century Victorian England. Little Bonnie lives in the majestic Willoughby mansion with her adoring parents and slew of servants and maids. Her mother, Lady Green, is not well and she and Lord Willoughby set off to find warmer temperatures in hopes of curing her illness. While her parents are gone, Miss Slighcarp takes over the household, firing all of the beloved servants, wearing Lady Green's expensive gowns, and generally being up to no good. Despite the best efforts of Bonnie, her cousin Silvia, their trusting maid Pattern, and Simon, the goose boy, their plans go awry and Miss Slighcarp banishes the two girls to a cruel orphanage while leading them to believe their parents are dead.
This book has all of the elements of a fantastic bedtime story: rags-to-riches plot, an evil villainess, a cruel orphanage, strong heroes and heroines, and a happy ending. It also proves that incredible stories don't have to lie behind new, glossy covers and 2009 copyright dates. So take that, Heartless Book Folk.
Recipe to Read By: Miracle Cookies These cookies received their name because they only involve four measly ingredients and ten minutes of your precious time, plus they taste heavenly. Yep, miracle cookies for a miracle book.
Ingredients: 1 cup peanut butter 1 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten well 2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix peanut butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Whatever flies out of the bowl is fair game for snacking! Roll dough in little balls about 3/4 of an inch big. Place balls on cookie sheet and flatten with the tines of a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool before grabbing your book and a mug of milk.