Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekly Geeks (Boston-focused children's books)

This week, Weekly Geeks asks participating bloggers to do the following:

This week take us on a literary tour of your hometown!  Do you live in a place where a famous author was born? Does your town have any cool literary museums or monuments? Does Stephen King live at the end of your street? Was Twilight set in your hometown?  Share your fun literary facts about the town or area where you live. You can talk about famous (or not so famous) authors who live there, novels that have been set in your area, or any other literary facts that you know about where you live. Feel free to embellish with pictures of places and/or authors, maps of the area, and fun facts about the authors.  As usual, feel free to personalize this. Don’t like your hometown? Pick another! Do you live in a literary wasteland? Feel free to expand and discuss a region. Feel like returning to a place you lived 20 years ago? Go for it!

I'd like to post about Boston -- a city that's near and dear to my heart, and so full of literary history, I don't dare cover it all in a blog post.  Here are a few photos (I could have sworn I had a Boston skyline photo or two in my iphoto library, but they must be hiding):

(Photos: Mike's Pastry in the North End, Butterfly at the Boston Science Museum, Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden, Quincy Market, Swan Boats Sign, "Dewey, Cheetham and Howe" in Harvard Square).

I love to buy city-specific children's books as gifts.  Often parents have never heard of the books (like the first two reviews below), or, in the case of a more classic choice like Make Way for Ducklings, they don't own a personal copy.  Impending parenthood often warms people to the idea of putting down roots, and the city around them that seemed like a fun town now becomes "home," which I think makes people very happy to receive books like these.  Here are three Boston-focused books we own:

Good Night Boston (Good Night Our World series) (Board book), by Adam Gamble. A cute little bedtime book that bids good morning, afternoon, and night to various Boston landmarks. This makes a fun gift for pregnant Bostonians or Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics fans.


"Good afternoon, statue of 'Make Way for Ducklings.'/Good afternoon, Swan Boat."

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: He has pretty consistently enjoyed this one. It's one that he tends to pick off the shelf and make us read 4 or 5 times in a row.

Note: Goodnight, Cape Cod is also available.

Hello, Wally! (Library Binding), by Jerry Remy. A book for little Red Sox fans, about Wally the Green Monster mascot (admission: I had no idea he existed before I read this book, but I have seen references to him all around since). I like trying to read it with a strong Boston accent.


"Wally stopped at the statue of Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters that ever lived. As fans admired the statue, they waved, 'Hello, Wally!'"

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He enjoyed it now and then when very young. He won't sit still for the whole thing now, but may in a few more months.

Make Way for Ducklings (Viking Kestrel Picture Books) (Hardcover), by Robert McCloskey. A Caldecott Award winner, this book follows Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as they set up home on the Charles River in Boston and attempt to navigate the city's intersections with a row of ducklings in tow. The entire tale is illustrated with brown sketches.


"One day the ducklings hatched out. First came Jack, then Kack, and then Lack, then Mack and Nack and Ouack and Pack and Quack. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were bursting with pride. It was a great responsibility taking care of so many ducklings, and it kept them very busy."

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: The pages had been too delicate for him to handle until recently (14 months). I think the lack of color in the illustrations makes it hard to engage him at this point, but this would make a beautiful gift for an older child or one that a younger child can grow into.

Famous authors from Boston and other parts of Massachusetts include such heavy hitters as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Lowell, Edgar Allen Poe, E. E. Cummings, Margaret Fuller, Horatio Alger, Emily Dickenson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, and Henry David Thoreau, among others. Boston is a city full of history, charm, family-friendly activities, and literary backbone... not to mention the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins.

Do you have any children's books about your hometown? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.


anothercookiecrumbles said...

Children's books - I guess a lot of Enid Blyton books mentioned London, considering she worked as a teacher in the suburbs. And then you have the old fairy tale of Dick Whittington - completely missed that one out from my post!

Didn't realise Plath, Alcott and Dickenson were from Boston!

Rikki said...

How fun to buy city-specific children's books. I never knew there existed any. Too bad, but I think there are none for around here. Great and interesting post.

pussreboots said...

My post is up.

For a children's book set in my home town, check out A Day with My Dad by Lance Waite.

Bookworm said...

Thanks for sharing over at Allie's!!!

I always enjoy seeing you around the Blogosphere!!!

Kerrie said...

I've been to Boston twice, and have had a great interest in it from a historical point of view. Good to see it from another.

Kristen said...

What a great idea with the local books!

Chris said...

That's a great idea. I love how your Weekly Geek is kid-centric!