Friday, October 10, 2008

Barkham Street

Mary Stolz was a ubiquitous writer for children in the 1960s and 70s, and died in 2006. She wrote a wide range of books, but only four survive in my library. A Dog on Barkham Street (illustrated by tthe same gentleman, Leonard Shortall) who did early Encyclopedia Brown books) was written in 1960 and very pleasant to read, being reminiscent of Beverly Cleary or Carolyn Heywood, who would have been contemporaries.

Edward wants a dog, is beleaugered by a bully who lives next door, and is helped by a visit from a world traveling uncle, who brings him a dog. The problems are not huge, there is humor throughout the book, and the family is strong and supportive. Just looking at the cover makes me feel ten years old and happy. Oddly, my library does not have the companion title that I remember better, The Bully of Barkham Street.
The Explorer of Barkham Street (1985) was somehow depressing. It tells the story of the bully from the other two books, but he is reformed. He is also beset by problems, from his weight to his mother (gasp!) working, to his grandmother dying and his grandfather coming to live with his family. It was depressing and made me think of After School Specials. Has not circulated well at all, and may move to a happier home.

3 comments:

Eric Barclay said...

Awesome blog you have here-- will definitely visit often.

debrennersmith said...

I loved Mary Stolz as a child. Thank you for bringing her to my attention again today. www.debrennersmith.com

Beth said...

I agree, as much as I loved Mrs. Stolz's books (and still have a lot of the old thirty five cent paperback copies! now you KNOW I'm no kid) this was not one of my favorites. My favorite of her juvenile books was "The Noonday Friends."

But personally I think she did better writing the YA level. I just re-read one of them over the weekend and still enjoyed it as much as ever. Her characters are so genuine.

Beth

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