Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Collecting Dog Books: Childhood Favorites

"Can you help me find a dog story I remember from childhood?"

That's a question I've heard often as a bookseller, and it's the request I treasure most, a constant reminder that the emotional attachment we have to books and dogs is often bound together. I, too, am always looking for the dog stories I couldn't get enough of as a kid. Just thinking of those books summons the dogs I curled up with long ago, but too few of those books have grown older with me; it's as if they've joined those dogs: physically absent, but best friends forever. I've reassembled much of my childhood collection, and rereading books that were classics when I was young or were newly published way back then, I'm reminded that one is never too old to be a kid again.

Do you have any, if not all, of the books of your youth? If not, and you miss them, you've got a good reason to start a collection that recaptures more than books. You can read your way down memory lane. You can take your kids or grandchildren with you. You can collect only the books you possessed, all titles by authors or artists you enjoyed and who published during your younger years, picture books or early readers, adventure stories or any other genre that appeals to you. Even if you have no children or grandkids, or not yet, you can assemble a collection representative of your childhood reading for the delight of future generations of dog-and-book lovers. It's value-added reading; your sentiments, handed down, mean as much as all the Newbery prizes put together.

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