Thursday, March 5, 2015


Welcome to Second Look Books, a blog for lovers of children's literature.

Have you ever tried to remember a favorite book from your childhood?  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not, and sometimes when the book falls into the when-it's-not category it can be well nigh impossible.  You know the book, you can see the cover art, sort of remember the plot, but even with that you still can't recall a title, author, or illustrator.

Been there, done that, many times over.  As a children's librarian, I'm often asked to find the blue book with the dog on the cover, or the story about the girl with the garden and the magic stick, I think it came out in the sixties, maybe, could have been earlier, with a red cover, do you know the one I mean?  It gets interesting.

What I'm hoping to do with Second Look Books is create a home for all these lost stories.  Every week, I'll post a short synopsis of a children's book from the past, and post a question regarding a lost story.  Hopefully, one of you will be able to identify the story, or post a question about your own lost story.  Stories matter.

 Children's Book #1:  Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.  Original illustrators Beth & Joe Krush.

Before the days of organized sports, scheduled play-dates, and cell phones with GPS tracking, kids would leave the house in the morning to play outside and only return home for lunch and dinner.  GAL, was a 1957 Newbery Honor book that tells the story of tween cousins Portia and Julian and the summer they discovered an abandoned summer colony in the country at Gone-Away Lake.  It turns out that the colony was not completely abandoned.  Two former residents, brother and sister Minnehaha Cheever and Pindar Payton, have returned.  Now well into their seventies, the two live in separate houses and wear old-fashioned clothes stored for decades in trunks in the attic.  The siblings befriend the cousins, telling them stories about the past, allowing them to build a clubhouse, and teaching them all about nature.  Eventually, a crisis involving Portia's little brother Foster leads to the discovery of the cousins' summer distention and friendships by their respective families.  It's a happy ending for a quiet story that celebrates friendships of all kinds and one very special summer.

Sequel:  Return to Gone-Away Lake ,  1961.

Gone-Away Lake at Wikipedia

Question #1:  

A picture book about a man who cooks.  He wears a chef's hat, and everyday he cooks just one item.  He always cooks too much, and then has a problem about where to put all of the leftover food.  I think at the end of the story, he decides to share his food with others, but I'm not sure.  Book is from the 1960s (maybe).

Anybody recognize this one?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Carol,
    I don't know the book you're thinking of. It reminds me of one of my favorite books from 1950 (yeah, I'm an old-you-know what) called The Man Who Didn't Wash His Dishes by Phyllis Krasilovsky.
    Hope someone else can figure yours out!

    Jinx, another children's librarian