Thursday, December 21, 2006

One Writer's Early Christmas Present

One of the great delights of holiday shopping is the excuse to explore resale shops for new and gently used books. This year I stumbled upon a gem.

It's a blast from my past, a book I read so many times as a young girl that holding it in my hands again was like reuniting with a long lost friend. The book is The Cookie Tree by Jay Williams. The story begins after a young girl discovers a strange tree growing in the middle of her village. She soon realizes it's a cookie tree. The adults argue about what the appearance of the unusual tree means. The children celebrate the tree's arrival, and, of course, eat its cookies, at which point the tree folds up and disappears.

Rereading the book now I'm reminded of how deeply the story enchanted me. Even now fantasy remains a favorite genre, especially those stories that begin ordinary but become extraordinary.


pegkerr said...

I'm still haunted by the memory of a children's retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans I had as a child. I remember the illustrations so vividly, and some of the scenes in my retelling are descriptions of those illustrations. But I can't remember the name of the illustrator, and I can't remember whether it was a stand-alone book or part of an Andersen collection. And there are HUNDREDS of editions of Andersen's tales, so I can't find it. Believe me, I've tried. I made a special trip to the Kerlan collection, the children's literature research library here in Minneapolis, but no luck. I'd give anything to find that book. *sigh* I guess I will just have to be satisfied with it living in my memory.

Kim Winters said...

What is it about books that stir the heart of a writer? I've a number of favorites from childhood that make me smile just thinking about them. The Little House. The Case of the Cat's Meow. Homer Price. All the Nancy Drew mysteries. The Black Stallion series. The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And the Cookie Tree (mentioned above) which I'd forgotten about until I saw it sitting there on the shelf at Goodwill. Upon rereading these and other favorites as an adult, a number come up simplistic and slight (of course, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are not included in this assessment); yet, I can't imagine my library without them. The books I cuddled up with on weekends after school are more than books for me now. In a way, they're windows into my childhood.