For years, all the stuff that had no home went to live in the guest room.  In the closets, under the bed, in the dresser drawers were things like my wedding dress, out-of-season clothing, scores of “Congratulations on your new baby!” cards, rattles, an ironing basket ignored for so long that the wrinkled shirts it contains were long ago outgrown by all three boys, boxes of family letters and documents, old dishes that someone may want to take to college, and junk to someday sell on eBay. 

Now all that stuff needs to be relocated, because Malcolm has moved into the room formerly known as the guest room.  He’s not a guest, and his stuff needs to be at home there too.  But first, purging must occur.

I’m starting with the two shelves of children’s books that are too precious to send to Goodwill.  Space must be made for Malcolm’s Skateboard magazines, yearbooks, and Guinness Books of World Records.

Hmmm, maybe I can thin the herd a bit more.  Definitely getting rid of the Series of Unfortunate Events books.  Let me just go out on a limb here and say this:  I hated those books. 

These are definitely in the pantheon of keepers.

goodnigh tmoon

I love the words, the colors, the graphics, the memory of  little voices chiming in, the calming effect of this sweet and simple book at the end of many a day.  Good Night Moon is beloved.

the lonely doll

From my own childhood, we have a first edition of this obscure classic, which I’ll never get rid of.  Through photographed vignettes, it tells the story of a little blonde doll named Edith who befriends a teddy bear and his father.  When Edith and Little Bear do something naughty, Mr. Bear spanks her.  In later books, Edith’s adventures include getting tied up.  Chris always thought these books were disturbing and creepy and I always thought he was reading way too much into sweet and simple little stories, but it turns out Chris was right.  I read Jean Nathan’s biography of author/photographer Dare Wright, and her life story is incredibly twisted and gothic.  Can’t part with The Lonely Doll, or the bio.


I adore Dr. Seuss, and the Sneetches above all.  A brilliant piece of social commentary, with the good doctor’s hilarious words and pictures forever burned into my mind.  Although the star tattoos that the Sneetches get on their bellies are just an allegory, in reality, Dr. Seuss was the first to foresee the tattooing craze.  Also in this great collection:  The Pale Green Pants, The Zax, and Too Many Daves.  If there can be only one Dr. Seuss in my house, let it be The Sneetches.


Who doesn’t love the collected works of Beatrix Potter?  Our friends Penny and Glenn gave baby Ian a set of the entire Peter Rabbit-Jemima Puddleduck-Johnny Town Mouse canon.  Each book was miniature and fit into a glossy little white box with a handle.  The box fell apart long ago but we will always have the books.  There’s just something so English and enchanting about little anthropomorphic creatures drinking tea in their cozy burrows, visiting gardens, and fishing on lily pads.  Even I can enjoy mice if they are wearing little frock coats and yellow pants.


winnie the pooh

Rounding out the top five, we will hang onto our vintage edition of Winnie-The-Pooh.  According to family lore, my mother-in-law read this book while pregnant, and that is how my husband came to be named Christopher. 

What are your favorite books from childhood? 
What books from your own kids will you always hang onto? 
Does anybody else hate A Series of Unfortunate Events?
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