Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Romping down Memory Lane

In a recent post about Enlighten I mentioned that I was having an attack of the SulkPot Ben Nagnags.  Ellie Foster recognised the name from a book which she (and I) love.

The book in question?  The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley.


I first read it when I was eight or nine.  I think it was the first book that I finished, and immediately  started again.  I loved it, and despite it being several decades since I had read it, I could still quote pieces of it.  My copy was tired, and had lost a page or two over the years.  So I replaced it - and devoured it all over again.

I expected it to be fun, which it was.  My younger self hadn't been aware of how clever it is though.  I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, and laughed at some gems which I am pretty certain I missed when last I read it.

The Land of Green Ginger is set some years into the Happy Ever After of stories we all know.  Aladdin has had a son, the Djin (genie) from the Lamp has had a son, Sinbad has had a son...

A tale of heroes and villains.  Magic, mystery, evil Princes, a dragon, spells which have misfired.  Naturally there is a supremely beautiful girl.  Equally naturally her father is totally unreasonable.

And the names of the characters are a joy.  Prince Rubdub Ben Thud, Prince Tintac Ping Foo.  Sulkpot Ben Nagnag and of course Boomalakka Wee.  

And, while I found it before he did, (being older) Neil Gaiman also loves it.

I am so very grateful to have renewed my acquaintance with this gem - and won't let the decades slide by before I read it again.


112 comments:

  1. Aladdin, the genie and Sinbad all had sons?! This sounds like a delightful book - thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Sounds like it is time for a magic carpet ride through The Land of Green Ginger!

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    1. Susan F.: They did indeed have sons. Daughters weren't mentioned. Sigh. A magic carpet features too.

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  2. Glad you found a replacement book. I'd never heard of this one before.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: A little known classic. I was lucky with the replacement too. Apparently some abridged copies have been printed over the years but the most recent is complete.

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  3. I've never heard of this book before, but you've certainly grabbed my attention. It sounds like it's a charming story and I love those that you want to return to time and time again. Love all the great names.

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    1. Mason Canyon: It is charming. And my nine year old self didn't enjoy it any more than my current self. Which says a lot - about the book and about me.

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  4. Sometimes the old gems read in childhood are still gems. Mine was Little Women and Tom Sawyer (we lived near Hannibal, MO).

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    1. Susan Kane: Gems more precious than rubies. There are a lot of books from my childhood (including those you mentioned) which shaped the woman I became.

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    2. My early childhood books were Heidi, Black Beauty and What Katie Did. I discovered Little Women after I started school, but it never became a favourite.

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  5. Isn't it fun now to find things from our childhood? Such comfort that the world was balanced at some point...or seemed to be anyway. My childhood book was Wizard of Oz...I grew up in Kansas, the land of tornadoes and Dorothy. I love ruby shoes and baskets and dogs while I do hate flying monkeys!

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    1. Bookie: The Wizard of Oz never did it for me, though I am not sure why. Perhaps I need to revisit it now.

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  6. It's sounds right up my street. I'm persevering with my reading but think I'm getting over-faced by the size of the books/length of the stories. Is it a thick one? (As the actor said to the Bishop).

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    1. All Consuming: Not a thick one at all. Designed for chillun about the age I was when I read it first I think. Simple - and fun.

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  7. I went immediately to my library website and they don't have it! I looked on Amazon and can buy it on my Kindle for $8. I also saw something else called Desbarollda, The Waltzing Mouse by the same author. And I learned he wrote the screenplay for The Wizard of Oz. I may just have to purchase them both! :-)

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    1. DJan: Let me know what you think of them. Please. I am confident that he could nail a Waltzing Mouse...

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  8. This sounds great - I will try to track one down.
    At the moment I am having a wonderful time discovering Ben Aaronovitch - brilliant!

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    1. Alexia: I haven't warmed to the most recent Ben Aaronovitch nearly as much as the earlier ones. I think it is me, rather than him, so I will try again a bit later.

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  9. Amazing, to find a book that really superb.

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    1. Bob Bushell: A childhood joy revisited - and it is STILL a joy. Which is lovely.

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  10. I have never heard of the SulkPot Ben Nagnags but I love the way it sounds.

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    1. Birdie: In a bad mood I can out sulk (and nag) SulkPot Ben Nagnag. I don't resort (as he did) to boiling oil though.

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  11. One of my favorite things to do is reread a story I have read as a child and see how much I missed for lack of experience, shall we say. My favorite childrens storys all had several layers to them, though I sure didn't realize it when I first read them. But, I have to say, I love the names in your story and am very tempted to read it for the first time ... while hoping that I don't get tongue tied in the process. There is so much about our childhoods that are fun to go back to ... thanks for reminding me. Maybe by going back I can get away from the disasterous changes that are consuming my childhood dreams. Enough said, I guess ... thanks, EC ... I can always find happiness in your posts.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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    1. Andrea Priebe: The very best books do have layers. Lots of them. Some which will emerge with a change of mood, and some as you say, which take life experience to see.
      I am worried about your comment about the invasion of your childhood dreams though. Are you ok?

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  12. Any book endorsed by you ~ and the fabulous Mr. G ~ would be worth a look :)
    I'll keep an eye out when I go to pre-loved book sales.

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    1. Vicki: It really is fun. Clever fun. Good luck on the hunt.

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  13. Aren't the names wonderful and would certainly appeal to children. I rather like saying them myself.

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    1. Andrew: I like them too. Also the ditty which goes along the lines of
      'I am evil and wicked and bad,
      I behave like a pig to my mother.
      I'll knock out your tooth,
      just to prove I'm uncouth,
      keep still and I'll knock out another.'

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  14. Sounds marvelous....and, I am a sucker for a happy ending....

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    1. Sienna Smythe: It IS marvellous, and the happy ending includes laughter. Always a plus.

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  15. It is fun to go back to the memories of our youth.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: Particularly when those memories are still as bright and shiny as they ever were.

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  16. I ordered my copy last Sunday, I don't think I chose that cover picture however. There are several cover pictures available according to price and I got the cheapest copy. It should arrive sometime next week, probably Tuesday and I will dive right in :)

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    1. River: I learnt after I bought mine that there are some 'abbreviated' versions about. I hope yours isn't one of them - and that you enjoy it.

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    2. If it is an abbreviated and I enjoy it, I'll buy a 'full' copy.

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    3. River: I really, really hope you do like it.

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  17. I don't remember hearing about this one. I am so glad you revisited it and found new things to enjoy about it. I love to revisit old favorites and to find new to me gems like this one. I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: If you do find it, I hope you find as much charm in it as I do.

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  18. Oh thank you for the reminder! I believe I saw a TV program based on it when a child, as I remember leaping up and down on a big bed singing that I was in the land of Green Ginger!


    http://grooveshark.com/s/The+Land+Of+Green+Ginger/3LtQlV?src=5




    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^=

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    1. Cloudia: A TV program? I never heard about that (but given how much television I don't watch I am not surprised.) I will check out your grooveshark link in a little. Thank you.

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  19. It's so great when you can remember a favorite book, or the first time you read it. I remember when I was in first grade, about 6 years old, I got sick with Chicken Pox and stayed home for a week. So sick, but so bored, I read over 100 books!

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    1. 2justByou: 100 books in a week is a HUGE achievement. Can you remember any of them? I gave my entire class (including the teacher) chicken pox, so got a lot longer off than a week.

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  20. I have never heard of this book. But am glad that you were able to find a replacement.

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    1. Teresa: I was so lucky that not only did I find it, but the full version has just been rereleased. I would have felt robbed if I could only find an abridged version.

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  21. Glad you were able to renew these fond memories when reading the book again. I never have read it, perhaps I should!

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    1. Margaret Adamson: It is possible (probable?) that my fond memories made it more fun.

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  22. I have to find this book; if both you and Mr. Gaiman recommend it then it's sure to be a winner! There are a few kidlings around who would enjoy it tremendously, I'm sure. =)

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    1. Jaquelineand...: I am sure that chillun would like it - and hope you would as well.

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  23. I've never seen this one, looks intriguing, wonder if I can keep all the names straight while reading it. ha.

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    1. Linda Starr: You can indeed keep the names straight. Particularly if you focus on the charming illustrations...

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  24. Dear EC
    As you so rightly said, I love this book too. However, I have only read the abridged version but have been wanting to read the full version ever since I found there was one (only it was pretty much impossible to get and if you could locate a copy, it was hugely expensive.) So to find that a full version is released makes me very happy! In fact, Calloo, Callay! I'm off to get a copy. I love this book!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Ellie Foster: Calloo, Callay? Frabjus day. We were obviously brought up on the same books. And they are a part of us now...

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  25. I've never heard of this! Thank you so much for spotlighting it. I love the premise of it. :)

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    1. River Fairchild: Clever and fun. It would be greedy to ask for more.

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    1. ladyfi: For those of us with a large inner child it is marvellous. Sober souls perhaps not so much.

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  27. I always marvel at the timing of a freshly discovered old treasure....I wonder what Love is speaking to your heart as you unfold to the pages
    again. Excited for you:) Happy trails into some dusted off dreams:)
    -Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer Richardson: This old treasure made me step away from problems about which I can do nothing, and revel in fun. A real gift.

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  28. I read and reread the Myth series by Robert Aspirin. His books were funny and bright and a wonderful way to escape as a young person. When my kids were old enough, I bought them each the books.
    And old story can bring back the love in your heart that was almost forgotten.

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    1. Sonya Ann: I remember that series too. Escaping into a book, or series of books has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Long may it continue.

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  29. There are books that you just don't outgrow. Like fairy tales. I know the feeling of getting re-acquainted with old books you love. It's like coming home. :)

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    1. Lux Ganzon: There are a lot of books I refuse to outgrow. And you are so right about that 'coming home' feeling.

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  30. I love the fun names in this book. I think my grandkids will like it when they're old enough to read. Glad you enjoyed rereading it.

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    1. Myrna R.: Those names just roll off the tongue. I hope your grandchildren do get (nearly) as much fun from it as I do.

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  31. I'm going to find that book and give it a read!

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    1. Strayer: Let me know what you think of it.

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    1. Kim @ Stuff could...: How right you are. And there a lot of such treasures in our home. And in my head.

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  33. I have not heard of that book but will try to find it. Great write up.

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    1. Anna of the Mutton Years: Welcome - and thank you.

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  34. Whatever the SulkPot Ben Nagnags are I (probably) hope that they clear up soon.

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    1. Andrew MacLaren-Scott: The literary SulkPot Ben Nagnags are relatively easily defeated. The metaphorical ones need slaying more often.

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  35. Dear EC, I just checked our library website and the Independence, MIssouri, USA, system doesn't have the book. So I'll see if I can find it on Amazon. I so enjoy children's books and this sounds like one that I'd take special pleasure in because the tales of Aladdin and Sinbad just delighted and enraptured me when I was a child. Thanks so much for sharing your love of this book with us. Peace.

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    1. Dee: It is fun. Childish fun, but fun nonetheless. And lots of it.

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  36. How fun))
    And Magical.

    xx kiss from MN.

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    1. My Inner Chick: It is both of those things. Hugs to you.

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  37. I don't know this book, but I know how to feel about books we have loved as children. My favorite books that I read over and over again were the Pippi Longstocking books - and about everything by Astrid Lindgren. In my eyes she still is one of the best children's authors. I don't think there's a single child in Northern Europe (and I generously include Germany into the Northern part for this) who doesn't know at least one of her books.

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    1. Thank you, I'm from Germany and I LOVED Pippi Longstocking. I wanted to be her.

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    2. Carola Bartz and River: My father was German and I too loved Pippi Longstocking.

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  38. I didn't know about this book either, but my goodness, that is a gorgeous cover. And to know that Neil Gaiman enjoyed it makes me even more curious about the stories.

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    1. Claudine G.: Welcome. Neil Gaiman is one of my heroes, and I love his work. I was very pleased to know that he also loved The Land of Green Ginger.

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  39. I've been looking for a clever, enthralling chapter book to read to a 7 year old and thanks to you I think I've found it

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    1. Kim: I loved it - and hope your seven year old does as well.

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  40. I think I might need a dose of that! :)

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    1. Lee: We all need a dose of fun. Often.

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  41. Calloo Callay, Frabjus day? Is that from this book or another?

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    1. River: Calloo Callay, Frabjus day comes from Alice through the Looking Glass and is part of the poem Jabberwocky.

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  42. This book sounds like a treat to be savored! I just requested it from the library. It sounds irresistible.

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    1. Lynn: I hope you get a lot of fun out of it.

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  43. I never heard of it, but I got lost (in a fun way) in that cover. It looks like the kind of book I would've read again and again as a kid.

    Have a nice weekend, EC.

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    1. Rawknrobyn: It is a most excellent cover - and true to the story as well.
      And a great weekend to you too.

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  44. Those character names are delightful, and the cover reminds me of some of the old fairy tale books I adored as a child. They had wonderfully colored illustrations inside, too.

    I'll have to see if I can find this book. It'd be nice to be whisked back into the magic of fairy tales again.

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    1. Susan: I am glad (and completely unsurprised) to hear that your inner child would happily go back to fairy land.

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  45. It sounds like a wonderful story- I'll have to see if I can find it on Kindle

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    1. Terri @ Colouring Outside the Lines: It is delightful - and is available on kindle too.

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  46. This is a book I'd never come across. But now I am thinking ahead to books for the new grandson ... I do love the names you've written about and the fact that there are various levels of comprehension to be enjoyed ... it sounds good.

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    1. jenny_o: I am biased, but do think it is good. And fun. And suspect that many children would enjoy it as much as I did (and do).

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  47. As I am somewhat older than you I am not sure of the Happy Ever After stories or are you refer to those tales with happy endings perhaps?
    In the last 12 months I have re-read many stories from my youth and thoroughly enjoyed most of them...Alice in Wonderland but not so much Through the Looking Glass (which I had not read before). The Secret Garden which I've always loved. Daddy Long Legs etc. etc. I tried reading Robinson Crusoe (an abridged version I think) and found it rather stupid and couldn't get very far with Peter Pan. Phil has read the Hobbit and that other series but I can't abide them so my mind obviously will accept some 'strange' things but not others. Maybe I am just TOOOO old?
    I am glad though that you rediscovered a book from your childhood and enjoyed it just as much as when you were 8 years old.

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    1. Mimsie: I did indeed mean those stories which ended with 'and they lived happily ever after...' with no exploration of what that might mean. I grew up with Through the Looking Glass, and bizarre as it is I loved it. Peter Pan? Not for me. And the author was a seriously strange man. I do love the Hobbit, but book choices (like music) are so very individual. Which is as it should be.

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  48. Sounds enchanting--and an endorsement by Neil Gaiman? Awesome! Although I guess the book was out quite a while before he discovered it.

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    1. Stephanie Faris: I suspect the publishers approached Neil Gaiman when they most recently reprinted it, but am confident that his integrity wouldn't allow him to endorse something he didn't love.

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  49. I love those books, that you finish and start again. Can't remember what my first one was, but the newest one is "Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life" by Dani Shapiro.

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    1. Dawn@Lighten Up!: Those books are always a delight aren't they? If my unread tower was smaller I would hunt down the one that ensnared you (and might anyway). Thank you.

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  50. I do not know this author but am always looking for good books for the grandchildren. I’ll find this one, and read it first too!

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    1. Vagabonde: I love that children are still being given books. They were always given to me, and were often my BEST presents. And still are.

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  51. Although I have never read this book, cherished books from our childhood are so wonderful to find again.

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    1. Donna@LivingFromHappiness. And when we enjoy them as much as we ever did, it is even more wonderful.

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  52. They do have some fun names. I like to re-read books from my youth every now and again. :) I commented before but it looks like it didn't take. If it did, and this is a duplicate, just never mind me. Waving hello to you too while I'm here. :) Have a great week!

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    1. mail4rosey: It does indeed look as if google/blogger ate your comment. Thank you for your persistence. Waving back.

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  53. Can't imagine how I missed this one, EC, but it's new to me, in spite of my fetish for children's books. I'll certainly search for it. As you say, if Neil Gaiman recommends it, that's good, and if you recommend it, that's even better.

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    1. Carol: I think Neil Gaiman's recommendation carries more weight - but I do hope you find it. It is heaps of fun. Clever fun. Charming fun. And too much fun is never enough.

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  54. This could be my next book! i have several such books from my youth - "Harriet the Spy" and "Island of the Blue Dolphin" were two favorites that i enjoyed reading to my daughter when she was young! Somehow missed this one...

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    1. daisyfae: The more people I introduce the sheer fun of this book to the better.

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