Thanks to my older cousins having outgrown the series (if one can truly outgrow any book), my aunt had boxed up the full set of each and handed them over to us. I might have outgrown them myself, now venturing into Agatha Christie, but there was, I’m thinking, something comforting about the predictable plot in each book. My world was going to be scary come September, and yet there was Nancy. There were Frank and Joe. And if they could face hardened criminals at their age, I could face a classroom full of strangers.
That sounds a lot braver than I was. And more insightful. But most mornings I would start a book; most afternoons, lay on a raft in our 18"-deep vinyl backyard pool, then come in and cool off by finishing that day’s mystery.
|Yes, that's me on the left.|
For me, summer reading was also, and thankfully, a break from the sad animal books–think Rascal, The Yearling, Sounder–our teachers insisted we read in class. The books were fun and playful and exciting. They imparted useful advice ... like teaching me how to tense my ankle and wrist muscles in the event someone bound them with rope ... after kidnapping me, of course.
And even though that big, bad summer between 5th and 6th grades was filled with underlying apprehension, the reading whisked me away. And maybe that’s one reason why I write the books I do, to recapture that sense of adventure and hope, to give other readers the escape hatch I loved so much.
Jody Feldman’s second book in the series, The Gollywhopper Games: The New Champion is being released on May 27, just in time for summer reading.