Monday, January 22, 2007

Sic transit Beany Malone

It snowed on Sunday, and I felt like hibernating. Instead, I hauled a stack of Lenora Mattingly Weber's Beany Malone books out and started reading. I don't know why these books still appeal to me so much. Written starting in 1943, they capture everyday family life in that era. The last one was published in the late 60s, and reading them all in quick succession can give one the bends (wait-- weren't we just in WWII?), but they are wonderful. Life isn't easy for Beany, but I always loved the way she perservered. I like the Katie Rose books as well; depending on how long the cold that settled in my head lasts, I may read those too.

The great philosophical debate is whether or not to let my 13 year old daughter read them. Lura Green has a great essay on this type of books, and includes the line "the nostalgia I felt for Jane's movie-and-a-coke dates was so intense it was as if they were something not that I had read about once, but that I had actually experienced and lost. " That pretty much describes what reading these books does to me.

What would they do to my daughter? Hmmm.


  1. I can't wait until my nieces are old enough to enjoy Beany and Katie Rose! Right now they are obsessed with HP and Gail Carson Levine but I know there is lots of time...

  2. Anonymous10:46 PM EST

    I started reading Beany Malone books in 6th grade checked out from the cold basement children's section of the Chattanooga Public Library. They warmed my heart continuously and now through ebay I have the entire set and then some for my nieces to read. They loved them too!! I'm trying to complete a second set of the out of print books (something great about reading an OLD book!) so they won't argue about who gets them, haha.