That’s right, his name was Boo Boo. Boo Boo Down, to be precise, which was his formal moniker but when it was just him and me it was Boo Boo. He never fussed, always kept me warm and could put me to sleep in an instant as he gently wrapped around me.
I wax on about Boo Boo because some of my fondest memories are reading those first books you never forget entangled with my think, fuzzy friend. Harken back to your first memories and I’ll bet the pages of a book or two spring to life in the CinemaScope of your mind.
For me three books stand out. I’ll give a special shout out to The Giving Tree because I think it’s almost the world’s perfect book; compelling, succinct and incredibly moving. But I didn’t discover it until into my young adulthood so it doesn’t really count in our discussion here. The three books that laid their graphic images upon my hungry and impressionable mind were:
Curious George – He always seemed to be smiling didn’t he? Even after he was scared and ran into the arms of The Man in the Yellow Hat, he’d quickly get into mischief again and we joined right in with him. There is an irrepressible air of joy and security about that little monkey and his wonderful adventures.
Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak’s unique illustrations take us from the safety of bed into the domain of creatures both fearsome and lovable. And for a time, we get to reign supreme with them. Sendak captures pure imagination on the page and I always found myself looking at the pictures over and over again.
The Books of PD Eastman – Go, Dog, Go, Sam And the Firefly, and Are you My Mother kept me riveted for hours. Even when I knew how the story was going to end. I loved being on the journey with those illustrations and stories. And besides, you just wanted to shout out to that little bird that the steam shovel couldn’t possibly be his mother. I mean, c’mon.
How about you? What childhood books are still stored in the treasure-trove of your memory?