March 19, 2011

THE SUGAR MOUSE CAKE IN STORYBOOK NEVERLAND -- Sharing Our Memories of Favorite Childhood Books

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived. ~Howard Pyle

Dear Sir or Madam: 

 Kindly bring back our favorite children's books...

One of the greatest gifts I ever received from my parents was a passion for reading. From the earliest age, my room was filled with wonderful books. My parents weren't wealthy people by any means. Most of my cherished books from childhood were purchased from the Los Angeles County Library System cast-offs. I always thought it peculiar that something so wonderful, magical, and meaningful as a children's book could ever be stamped, "DISCARD".  Well, "one man's trash..." as they say... Thirty and some odd years later, they are still wonderfully intact and being enjoyed by my daughters. Treasures indeed!

Sadly, so many of our childhood literary treasures
have gone out of print and have been replaced by
high gloss, flash over substanceand a curious 
trend of Hollywood actors turned "authors".

If you had the power to resurrect 
one cherished book from your past,

Here are some of my picks:


This is one that came from the LA County "discard", was read hundreds of times in my childhood, and is now a favorite with my girls:

The Meanest Squirrel I Ever Met, by Gene Zion
Scribner, 1962
An enchanting tale of a young squirrel, Nibble, who must confront a mean old squirrel who tricked him out of his family's Thanksgiving nuts.


What is a Whispery Secret?, by Lois Hobart
Parents' Magazine Press, 1968
A sweet, gentle story with soft watercolored illustrations, perfect for bedtime reading. Simple, yet poignant, and a perfect book for a parent to share with a child. 


Clotilda, by Jack Kent
Random House, 1978
Clotilda is a story about a small but wise fairy godmother who teaches the lesson that magic is everywhere if you simply open your eyes and mind.


And my Holy Grail of Children's Books:
(Still on my quest to find a copy -- So rare and collectible that even a disintegrating copy runs upwards of $100)

The Sugar Mouse Cake, Gene Zion
With the help of an amazing little white mouse, Tina, a cook's assistant, Tom, bakes a magnificent cake judged the best in the kingdom and thus becomes the Royal Pastry Chef.



Let's create a little Storybook Neverland -- Where "Lost Books", can live on forever and always...

-- In the comment field at the bottom of this post, reminisce and share your favorite childhood books.


-- If you've written a post or article about a favorite children's book, or write a blog dedicated to childhood literary nostalgia, please feel free to add a link to the "Storybook Neverland" gallery below.


Perhaps...just maybe...if we make enough noise...someday...somehow...a little "Clotilda magic" will happen and a wise publisher will bring back some very deserving lost classics.

This post has been linked-up with:

504 Main


  1. The Meanest Squirrel looks like an adorable book! My all-time favorite from childhood has to be Martin's Mice. I'm sure I read it at least 100 times :)

  2. What enchanting titles! I'll have to think back about what books I liked best; I read so much! We lived in Tawaian and had no tv so my mom taught me to read very early on, a lifelong gift.

  3. I had so many *favorite* books as a kid. This post got me thinking about a wonderful story from a children's literature anthology called "Poppy: the adventures of a fairy." It was an adorable story and I always remember it because I read the story in the school library and then could never find the book again!

  4. I hadn't heard of the books you listed, but I promptly requested Clotilda from our library.
    I loved The Bears Who Went to The Seaside (circa 1975). They've since changed the name to Teddy Bears at the Seaside.
    And when I got old enough to read on my own, I poured over the Happy Holisters volumes. Have read a couple to my daughter as well.
    We still have plenty of Golden Books that were my mom's. I love it when the her name and the year it was given to her is written on the inside.

  5. The books you pictured look adorable!

    I've always loved reading and, like you, still have many of the books I had as a child. One of my favorites was "Hurry Up Slowpoke". It's a story of two little mice who travel with their mother to visit their grandmother.
    It's in my daughter's bookcase at this very moment.

    I can't resist sifting through used books at book stores, flea markets and thrift stores. Children's books, novels, cookbooks....I love them all! Finding a great vintage book with a hand written inscription is so exciting!

  6. i had completely forgotten about the sugar mouse cake! thank you for bringing back that memory. i have always loved to read too. i linked up mr shaws ship shape shoe shop because apparently i read it so many times that i once, while sleepwalking...entered my parent's room and recited the entire thing. i no longer sleep walk, but i no longer can memorize either :)

  7. It's funny that you posted this because my mom just found my favorite childhood book! She's so excited to get a new copy for my baby. This book was passed down to me by a cousin and I pretty much destroyed it, so we're keeping my copy and hopefully finding a new one for the baby. It's Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever.

  8. What a wonderful idea! The books I added might not be 'long-lost classics' but they ARE CLASSICS to my children (now grown and reading to their children) Our family loved these books and so many others. I've started collecting all our FAVORITES to give them when they have children. I hope it's a tradition they will remember always.

  9. Wonderful idea! It's not a food related book so it isn't on my linked in list but I'm on a hunt for The Witch of Hissing Hill, a book about a 'good' familiar-- which of course is a 'bad' thing.

  10. Jenn, what a lovely post! I too adore childrens books and was an avid reader to my girls and also give books as gifts to my new little ones. My favorite that is no longer in print in the US because it was thought to be racist when it was actually about a little indian boy and I guess it was racist but it was still lovely was Little Black Sambo. If you take the story without the "name" it was a story of courage and compromise. I also adored the Old Black Witch which is very hard to find. Oh I just love spending time in the girls room and reading books like the little red barn, or some beatrix potter! I am smiling so big now--thanks for making me smile! :) hugs! alex

  11. What great books - I have never heard of them before. I loved Heidi and still have my childhood copy I also have a fairy tale book (up high in Jules's room) from when I was very young - all colored in and ripped up to prove it. I choose to read on my own...I cannot remember ever seeing my parents read (I know they did and can). I married a man that makes up for that!

  12. I am so happy to have found your blog. Making a blog post about my favorite childhood books is on my list of things to do now. I love children's literature and I love finding older books to read to my children. There is just something magical about vintage children's books.
    I look forward to reading more of your blog and writing down some of these titles.
    Thanks so much for sharing this fun post.


ar campaignName = ""; var postLabels = $('.post-labels a'); var insertBefore = $('.post-footer'); //END CODE OPTIONS - DO NOT EDIT BELOW THIS LINE var labels=[];var label;var alternateLabel;var minposts=minimum-1;if(postLabels.length===1){label=postLabels.text().trim()}else if(postLabels.length>1){$(postLabels).each(function(){labels.push($(this).text().trim())});label=labels[Math.floor(labels.length*Math.random())];var labelLocation=labels.indexOf(label);if(labelLocation===labels.length-1){alternateLabel=labels[labelLocation-1]}else{alternateLabel=labels[labelLocation+1]}}if(label!==undefined){var title=$(".entry-title").text().trim();var labelCount=0;var alternateLabelCount=0;var matches=[];var url=$('link[rel="alternate"][title*="Atom"]').eq(0).attr("href");$.ajax({url:url,data:{"max-results":maxSearched,alt:"json-in-script"},dataType:"jsonp",success:function(e){$.each(e.feed.entry,function(t,n){if(e.feed.entry[t].category!==undefined){var r=[];for(var i=0;i=minposts){label=alternateLabel}$.each(e.feed.entry,function(t,n){if(e.feed.entry[t].category!==undefined){var r=[];for(var i=0;i'+s+''+s+"")}else if(matches.length'+s+''+s+"")}}}}});if(matches.length>=minimum){if(relatedTitle===true&&labelInTitle===true){insertBefore.before('")}else if(relatedTitle===true&&labelInTitle===false){insertBefore.before('")}else{insertBefore.before('')}matches.sort(function(){return.5-Math.random()});for(var t=0;t