I know that I’ve done Top 10 Tuesday posts in the past, but those have been difficult for me at times, because — depending on the topic — making a list of 10 books that fit that topic can be challenging. So I thought of Tantalizing Tuesday instead.
What is a Tantalizing Tuesday post?
The way that I’m thinking this will work is that it will be semi-similar to a Top 10 Tuesday, in that there will be a list. But that’s where the similarity ends. I’ll share book recommendations here regarding books that I find tantalizing for one reason or another. Reasons could range from “this book gave me a glimpse into a world that I really want to read more about” to “I really wished I could live in the world this book described” to “I want to read other books by this author, STAT!”
1.) The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge.
I first read this book when I was probably 9 or so. Even now, I remember when I was first introduced to this book. It was an edition that was published in 1947 as the first American edition (The Little White Horse was originally published in 1946).
The Little White Horse is a children’s book, yes. But it’s written so magically, so beautifully, that it’s suitable for any age. Even now, 18 years after I first read it, I still can’t think of any book that I would prefer to reread. I’ve already probably read this particular book 3 or 4 times (which is almost unheard of for me — I rarely reread anything).
Another thing that The Little White Horse did for me was introduce me to other books that Elizabeth Goudge had written. Although I haven’t read anything of hers in quite awhile, she’s still at the top of my “authors I love” list. This book is also one that really introduced me to the magic that words can be — the world that Goudge created in this book is one that I miss when I’m not a part of it.
2.) The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken.
Similar to The Little White Horse, this book by the esteemed Joan Aiken is also a children’s book, but again, to me, it seems ageless. It’s a magical book, albeit in a slightly more frightening way (not to a “horror” level of frightening — it’s just more Gothic in terms of the storyline than The Little White Horse is). I remember the day I first found this book, in the children’s section of the university library where my dad teaches. I was probably around 8 or so, and I was so excited to read this book.
Another thing that makes me long for the world wherein The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and subsequent novels) are the wonderful illustrations contained within the novel. Some more information about Pat Marriott and other illustrators that collaborated with Joan Aiken can be found here.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was also published awhile ago; in fact, its first publication was in 1962; only 15 years after the publication of The Little White Horse. It’s the first in a series of what Aiken called “the Wolves Chronicles,” and although I’ve read most (if not all) of the other books in the series, this one remains my favorite. I loved the world of Bonnie, her cousin Sylvia, and their friend Simon, “the goose-boy,” and this is another book that I’ve reread many times.
3.) Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild.
Apparently, today I am in a mood to write just about children’s books that I found mesmerizing and tantalizing. Ballet Shoes was published first in 1936; again, this was a book that I read when I was pretty young (I think I was probably 7 or so when I first read it, and like the first two books in this list, it’s one I’ve reread).
Like The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Ballet Shoes is part of Noel Streatfeild’s “Shoes series.” Unlike “The Wolves Chronicles,” though, I loved the other books in the “Shoes series.” For some reason, etched in my memory is how comforting this series is to read when you don’t feel very good.
Ballet Shoes is about three sisters — Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil — who are adopted by an absent-minded paleontologist that they call Great-Uncle Matthew (affectionately called “Gum”). When Gum goes off on a dig, he doesn’t return in the time he was supposed to, and so the three girls, under the care of Gum’s great-niece, Sylvia, begin to feel the financial strain of not having Gum available to provide for them. Then, due to a strange turn of events, all three sisters become involved in dancing and acting to help support the family (hence the title), although Petrova doesn’t enjoy it. Posy shines at ballet, and Pauline at acting, and Petrova just continues dancing and acting in order to help out her family financially.
There. I have introduced you to three of my absolute top favorite authors from childhood. I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of reading their books, and I dearly wish that I had been able to meet one or all of them, somehow. They are some of the authors who were of paramount importance in helping me see the power, the magic, the beauty of the written word.
What are some of your “tantalizing” books? Please feel free to share!!