In the beginning...

...there were The Flyaways, a family who traveled in their miraculous flying machine having daring adventures with Goldilocks and Cinderella. The first in the 3-book series by Alice Dale Hardy was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1925 and copies are almost extinct. Few people remember Ma and Pa, Tommy and Susie Flyaway now.

I became acquainted with them on my grandfather's lap, my dear Grandpa Baker who read and read and read to me every evening for as many years as I can remember. I would hold my breath as each chapter ending neared, hoping he would not stop. I would keep begging for "just one more" chapter until his voice got so hoarse I would have to run to his room to get his throat lozenges.

Over the years we covered all of Uncle Wiggly and Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, the Five Little Peppers, the Wind in the Willow series, some of them more than once. He read to me until long after I could read everything for myself, until I was into Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I was safe and happy snuggled up on the couch with him and that feeling has never left me. I still read and read and read, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This is a really weird story by Karen Russell. I got halfway through it, decided to abandon, then kept reading. Swamplandia is an alligator wrestling park owned by the Bigtree family who are not real Seminoles, but talked themselves into believing they are. Grandpa is in a home, mom who swims with alligators dies young, the tourists stop coming, son Kiwi runs off to the mainland, as does the Chief who just leaves his two girls alone on this creepy island in the Everglades where the 16 year old falls in love with a ghost and the younger one traipses off with a Bird Man to the underworld to look for her sister. Strangely engaging.

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