Friday, July 22, 2011
Remembering Scholastic Books
Anyone remember "Scholastic Books?" Once or twice a year, your teacher would take some time during your home room period to hand out one-page catalogue/ order forms from a company called "Scholastic Books". They usually had a pretty long list of inexpensive pocket books for kids, with topics usually in the science/ nature/ adventure story vein. I remember one called "Runner for the King", about some Inca kid sprinting over mountain tops with a knotted rope, which was the kingly message. I don't remember much about the message, or why the king needed his knots shared with such haste, but the cover looked kind of cool to me.
Being a kid whose mind was twisted by horror films, however, I was automatically drawn to either the ghost stories or anything that had a robot on the cover, Often I would buy the book just to look at the cool cover, and not bother with the contents (I would never admit this to my parents, as they thought they had a budding Einstein with a voracious appetite for literature. Actually I just had a voracious appetite for flashy covers. This would serve me well in later years to develop a completely indiscriminate attitude to selecting breakfast cereals and. later on, automobiles.)
I'd order books like the "Arrow Book of Ghost Stories", which promised a "shivery, quivery, just-scary-enough time!". I really should have been tipped off by the "...just-scary-enough" portion of the teaser, as the stories themselves tended to be pretty tame for my tastes (e,g, "Teeny-Tiny" by Joseph Jacobs. "Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village" Please, stop the shocks.)
Despite the somwhat vanilla nature of the books, I still enjoyed the process of researching, ordering and receiving the books, and even ended up reading some of them. I still have scholastic books in my house, and hope to finish reading "Teeny-tiny" once I have some time to get around to it. And a large pot of coffee.