Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Miraculous Reappearance of a Childhood Favorite

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.





25 comments:

  1. They really took away all of the books with copyright before 2000??? That is a travesty! I'm glad that this one was saved. I love how you put this: "I crawled in bed with my newly discovered miracle book and transported myself back to fifth grade." Glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. Oh yes! I loved this one too. And with the snow falling again here I think it's a morning for making miracle cookies :-)

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  3. What a tragedy! I cannot believe they would take away books from before 2000! I'm so glad this one got saved. It's on my reading list b/c I somehow missed it when I was a kid and one of my neighbors was recently insisting that we must include it on our list of read alouds for the future since it was her favorite childhood book. I'm sure it would be delicious with miracle cookies.

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  4. Why?! Why?! Why?! What does the copyright date matter? Are the books contaminated? I don't understand!

    But the recipe looks good. And so does your blog. :) Glad I found it through the Comment Challenge.

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  5. Ugh! I hope the books at least ended up in a good home? Not sure I understand why the Massive Weeding, but I'm happy about your miracle. And those cookies. I'm a sucker for anything with peanut butter.

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  6. What the...?! I don't understand weeding everything published before a certain date with no other criteria... but I'm glad a favorite has been spared!

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  7. That's so horrible, for a library to take away all the books before a certain date :( You have my sympathy!

    Also, I'm intrigued by those cookies... Only four ingredients? I definitely need to try them out sometime!

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  8. I honestly cannot get over the idea of all that fiction gone. Who on earth had that completely horrible idea? They must be insane.

    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was one of my childhood favorites. I haven't read it in a number of years, but I can must have read it 10 times as a child.

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  9. Not a good weeding plan. Why, oh, why? The Wolves of WIlloughby Chase is a wonderful book, isn't it?

    If your library does such a whack job again, can I come and rescue the discards?

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  10. Great blog and I'm going to try the cookie recipe.

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  11. Oh my goodness gracious! I just weeded an elementary library's fiction collection, and let me tell you, our criteria had very little to do with copyright. How awful for you and your students to be deprived of the classics. But how wonderful to find an old favorite!

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  12. Just saw this review at Jen Robinson's Book page, and I thought of you - I thought you might particularly like the main character, give your blog focus:
    http://jkrbooks.typepad.com/blog/2010/01/lunch-lady-and-the-author-visit-vendetta-jarrett-j-krosoczka.html

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  13. I am flabbergasted! How could anyone with half a brain do such a purge of children's lit?!?!
    I'm so glad you rescued a gem. I never read that particular book, but so many of the childhood classics are dear to me. It's hard to imagine a library without Anne of Green Gables, Beezus and Ramona, etc.

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  14. Our school library recently prepared to send all class sets of novels to the district storage area because our new core curriculum tells teachers what novel(s) they have to teach each quarter and when to teach them. So the old books had to go. The teacher next door had them sent to her room and divided them up with my room and we now have these lovely books for students to read. I have a class set of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase along with several other's that someone deemed unworthy of our curriculum. Obviously the people who make these decisions are not avid readers or reading teachers.

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  15. Awesome review! This is the first time I am hearing of TWOWC, it sounds wonderful!

    This is so true: "It also proves that incredible stories don't have to lie behind new, glossy covers and 2009 copyright dates."

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  16. That is CRAZY! I thought my library system was in a weeding frenzy when they decided that any book that hadn't circulated in two years was automatically tossed. It was a good guideline 85% of the time, but then there were books that you know the kids came in and used for research but didn't check out and ones that we just Should have and several other exceptions. Of course, the worst part is that soon after we went into extreme budget cuts and now they can't replace those books anyway.

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  17. Wow! I've never heard of such aggressive weeding! Does this mean they are going to buy you lots and lots of new books to fill the shelves?

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  18. They REALLY took all the books away with the copyright before 2000? Your poor kids. I'm glad this one escaped the purging; I agree: it's marvelous.

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  19. There's something about books and food isn't there? They were made for each other. Must be why I like to nibble while I write:-)

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  20. Sue Cowing, MG authorJanuary 27, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    No Maniac McGee? No Incredible Journey? No Number the Stars? No Mysteries of Harris Burdick? And all we can do is hope for wonderful reissues like WOLVES? Anyone who presumes to be in charge of the policy of an elementary school library media center should have to provide proof that they are, or ever have been, at least two of the following: a child, a parent, a teacher, a lover of stories and books, loved by someone, a sentient human being.

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  21. That is shocking about the books - a form of censorship. How wonderful you found The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, though. It was my favorite childhood book. I rediscovered it last year at B&N and was thrilled to read it again. I blogged about it too.

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  22. Someone at your school has too much time on their hands or your school has too much money!

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  23. What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing! Your cookies sound delicious, too.

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  24. Great book! Great recipe! Thank you. (BTW, your media center's weeding policy for fiction is shortsighted insanity. Hope they open the boxes soon.)

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  25. Dear Mrs.Schrieber,that sounds really cool. What would you think if you had your parents lost out at see and if you were Primrose? If I were her, I would miss them.

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