this is not a real post

January 13th, 2009 | Uncategorized

…it’s just a query. I’ve been googling all day long to no avail trying to find something out, and it just occurred to me that the people of this blog might very well have the answer.

Does anyone remember a children’s educational tv program from probably 1970, where a guy in a suit and narrow tie would read a book to you? Actually, he would read the first chapter, and then urge you to finish it on your own. At my quasi-experimental school, we would actually watch this show–unheard of in those days to have kids watching tv in school. So it was on during the day. I kinda remember something about birds in the logo…or a mystery…maybe it was set up like, here’s the beginning of the book. Now you be the detective and find out how it ends. I remember watching The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe on this show. And My Side of the Mountain. And racing right out to the library to get the books.

It was probably on PBS, right? Hmm. PBS was founded in November of 1969, taking over the operations of NET, National Educational Television. Actually, NET kinda rings a bell.



125 Responses to “this is not a real post”

  1. kj says:

    it vaguely sounds like Reading Rainbow.

  2. hazelbroom says:

    That was my thought as well…

  3. hazelbroom says:

    Scratch that, RR didn’t start till the 80s.

  4. CateinTO says:

    I don’t know, but I’d kind of like a guy in a suit and narrow tie to come and read some stuff from this lit review i’m doing while I knit.

  5. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Bah, what good is a kid’s TV show about books if it’s not hosted by a terminally cheerful Jordi LaForge? _My Side of the Mountain_ was one of my favorite books as a kid though. I loved any and all books about kids running away from their parents and living in the wilderness. Having been camping with my grandparents in their motorhome, I knew all about that stuff.

  6. Yeah, I thought “reading rainbow” too, but it was too late. Now I’m getting this image of a magnifying glass…a cartoon of a bird and a magnifying glass that introduced the show.

  7. Cheryl says:

    If you were watching at the Akeley School in Lock Havne, we got both the State College/Clearfield PBS and the New York City PBS, (channels 3 and 13). Check with those local stations as it could have been a local show in New York. I can’t believe your brother Christain wouldn’t know this.

  8. NickelJoey says:

    You might post the question here:

    The guy seems to get a good number of answers for folks, and quickly.

  9. Kaptain Equinox says:

    It probably wasn’t this:

  10. heather the librarian in oregon says:

    Might have been “Cover to Cover” with John Robbins:

    looks like he did several of similar series over a couple of decades:

  11. Dweeb says:

    The show was “Cover to Cover” and the guy was John Robbins.

    Pic link here:
    (this points to the location of the pic on a blogger’s site)

    More info here on a discussion board:

  12. Dweeb says:

    Oh, he’s an illustrator, also, I think. The show usually featured a closeup of his hand illustrating a scene from the book. He also made a point of saying who the illustrator was when giving the information about the book.

  13. David L. says:

    Wait, no, sorry, I got all excited and posted anonymously and prematurely. I think you might be referring to “Cover to Cover” which first aired in 1965 and was hosted by a guy named John Robbins and featured his sketches as well….

  14. Pablo says:

    Yay! Cover-to-cover FTW!

  15. TPMD says:

    Crowdsourcing your research clearly works!

  16. Suzanonymous says:

    I recently uncovered my book report on My Side of the Mountain. I loved that book.

  17. YESSSS!!
    Thank you, Anonymous!

    Who are you?

    And I learned what crowdsourcing means!

  18. Oh, and David L.

    THANK YOU!!!

  19. David L. says:

    Anonymous and David L are one and the same though it looks like TPMD came up with the right answer too. I’m a queer reference librarian-in-training (training for the librarian part, I’ve got the queer part down pat) living in Greenfield, Mass. I am glad to be of service!

  20. Well that’s very odd! Why wouldn’t remember the fact that this guy DREW PICTURES as he read the story?

    But indeed, this is the show.

  21. jen in WI says:

    Huh — that’s an interesting memory gap. If I’m thinking of the same show, I remember absolutely nothing about it *except* the drawing, with the narration over, and some of the scenes that got drawn. The loosing of the shadow in “A Wizard of Earthsea.” The diving scene in “Call it Courage” .. with the knife (spear?) and the .. um .. octopus? Something from “Island of the Blue Dolphins” .. maybe when they get left on the island? A book I never read where the scene is a garden with unusual animals in it. Monkeys? Anyway. I would have been watching around 1985, though; either they used those episodes for a long time, or made some new ones along the way.

  22. tea says:

    oh man. this is the best non-real blog post ever. queer librarians? childhood TV about reading? My Side of the Mountain and A wizard of earthsea? this is why i come back here people. the quality.

    (that and queer librarians are HOT. even over the internet.)

  23. JenK says:

    I’m just thinking, hey, Alison’s ready to get a livejournal 🙂

  24. sebastian says:

    See also almost same question:

    There’s apparently a long list of shows he did.

  25. AZ Citizen says:

    I think it’s time to create an Alternate Reality Game revisiting the literacy campaigns of our youths.

  26. Treacle says:

    Re: AZ Citizen; in that case can any British readers remember a children’s reading programme of the 1970’s with word birds or say birds and I thnik Nicholas Lyndhurst, all set on a shredded wheat? The birds were square with letters on them and they formed words. I cannot find another living soul who remembers this and I am convinced I watched at school. Either that or I am in fact insane!

  27. Treacle says:

    And a poor speller

  28. Hannah says:

    Help…I am attempting to email Allison and the email infomation for her from the site is bouncing. What’s the correct address for this? Someone out there help me with this! I had no memory of this show, or the reading…but the art being sketched is ringing a bell…I saw it too, and only remember the art part. Interesting how memory works!

  29. Dr. Empirical says:

    No recollection of that one at all. I was a big fan of The Electric Company, which featured young Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader, the phonics pimp.

    My Side of the Mountain was one of my favorites, too. After The Phantom Tollbooth, it was probably my most frequently reread book.

  30. judybusy says:

    OK, here’s another question: my second-grade teacher read to us every day. One of the books was about the animal food chain, where as each animal ate, it in turn was eaten. This would have been in 1972 or thereabouts. I guess it sounds kinda gruesome, but at the time, it was just a fascinating nature book to me. Any ideas on what book this was?

    Add me to the fan list of My Side of the Mountain. I LOVED the idea of living in a tree!

  31. Calico says:

    Don’t remember Cover to Cover. I went to a Montessori school (oldest in the US) and we were all pretty much into reading – they even created “reading nooks” for us.

    And my liberal parents, haha, many thanks to them, let me read National Lampoon, Mad, and Playboy as a child in addition to all age-appropriate tomes and magazines.

    From Highlights to soft porn in a week…*giggles*

  32. sk in london says:

    we had Jackanory over this side of the pond… but on another note has anyone read about google and this:

  33. 'Ff'lo says:

    So glad of the quick success here. I don’t recall Cover to Cover myself, but I’m put in mind of an “old” guy on one of the two channels we got when I was a child, this one out of Topeka, c. 1970, who would read the Sunday funnies to us. He’d read a few panels, showing us the action, then interrupt frequently to remind us to go to church whenever our parents were ready. No arguing, now.

    Felt like he said that twice a minute. The sheer excess of it made it suspicious to me, though I hadn’t yet developed into much of a rebel.

  34. Andrew B says:

    And this is not a real response. Nor is it a pipe.

    Hannah, I have written to Alison at the address at the bottom of the Contact page and gotten through.

    I, too, have no memory of the program Alison describes. And like Dr E, I was a fan of Electric Company. My mother hated it (too noisy) and tried to make me watch Mr Rogers, whom I disliked. So I remember Mr Rogers as a symbol of coercion. He would probably have been mortified if he had ever found out.

  35. ksbel6 says:

    I loved the Electric Company as well. Those short Spiderman scenes kept me glued 🙂

  36. Liz says:

    I remember Cover to Cover. I would have been watching in the early 80’s (or do I mean ’80s?)What I remember most is that if you looked very closely you could see faint sketches already on the paper and the guy would go over them & fill them in. I remember feeling pleased whenever I could see the sketches, because it explained the “magical” way he drew–no mistakes & sometimes seemingly unrelated lines or areas of shading would suddenly add up to something recognizable.

  37. Dana Harris says:

    I remember this so well! I loved watching the drawing take shape as he told the story, trying to figure out how the lines he drew (I’m thinking black felt-tip) would correspond to the story he was telling.

  38. Mame says:

    My Side of the Mountain

    Island of the Blue Dolphins

    The Witch of Blackbird Pond

    A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler

    The Visionary Girls

    Tunes for a Small Harmonica

    All of a Kind Family

    The Shy One

    Til The Break of Day

    hmmmm….a few moments in memory with old friends….

  39. Hannah says:

    Thanks Andrew…unfortunately, for some reason it is NOT going through for me, STILL. Not sure why, or what to do. Ah well. (Allison, if you read this, any thoughts?) I also loved My Side of the Mountain, and A Wizard of Earthsea and all the books mentioned above. In fact, I was pretty alone in the Wizard of Earthsea thing, because NO one around me was reading LeGuin. I’m STILL reading her books and recommend highly every single one of em! For this crowd I would recommend particularly a book called The Telling which has one of the most incredible dialogues between a lesbian character and a homophobic character I have ever read. An amazing book.
    I’ll go see if I can make that email behave.
    Blessings everyone!

  40. NGS says:

    I *loved* Cover to Cover. That is all.

  41. Aunt Soozie says:

    I remember Cover to Cover! and the bird with a magnifying glass!
    didn’t like Mr Rogers as a kid but appreciated him later. Somehow he was SO mellow it was creepy… made me want to run and jump and scream… couldn’t sit still to watch that!
    I did love Gene London’s local show in Phila! He drew pictures and did a little drawing lesson each episode, I think. Also, Pixanne… she was a hot androgynous Pixie with her own local show. Of course we had Sally Starr, too. Dunno if those shows made it all the way out to Alison’s part of PA.

  42. Aunt Soozie says:

    here’s Pixanne.. apparently she did go national.

  43. Mame says:

    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase!

    Harriet the Spy/ The Long Secret

    Ramona the Pest

    The Mouse on the Motorcycle

    The Cricket in Times Square

    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

    The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds

    A Day No Pigs Would Die

    Bless The Beasts and Children

  44. DaneGreat says:


    A Wrinkle in Time

    My Side of the Mountain

    Harriet the Spy

    Bridge to Terebithia

    The Pinballs

    The Outsiders

    Welcome to the Ark

  45. Kassie says:

    Is anyone looking for a kinescope of Cover to Cover? We’d all love to see!

  46. g. says:

    Between the Lions?

  47. Dr. Empirical says:

    Auntie, I watched Pixanne on New York TV in ’69 or ’70. I still remember her catch phrase: “It’s as easy as falling off a frog!”

    One of the philly-area pbs stations occasionally shows a documentary on early philly kids shows. There’s a big segment on Pixanne. They sometimes bring her into the studio for pledge week.

  48. shadocat says:

    After a trying day of junior high school, how I longed to have my very own falcon and live in the woods, just like that boy in “My Side Of The Mountain”…

  49. Ready2Agitate (another Electric Company fan) says:

    Hannah, you’re trying dyke (at) (the url for this blog here)?

  50. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    Is Pixanne any relation to Mr. B Natural?

    (link to YouTube of Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Most Disturbing Short Film EVER!)

  51. ksbel6 says:

    A Wrinkle In Time was a favorite! The Cat That Was Left Behind, and all of Shel Silverstein.

  52. Eva says:

    Does anyone remember the name of this book: A 11 or 12 year old girl, living in NYC, who discovers she can bring stone sculptures to life. She finds this out when cleaning and climbing on top of a stone griffin that lives on the roof of her apartment buidling. Adventures ensue. Anyone recall this great pre-teen book?

  53. Eva says:

    Oh yeah, it was published probably in 1975, and has some great ’70s anacronisms.

  54. cybercita says:

    ready2agitate, this one’s for you:

  55. Ready2Agitate (another Electric Company fan) says:

    Oh cybercita, that was terrific… and it led me to this, which practically brought me to tears it’s been so long!
    We’re gonna turn it on. We’re gonna bring in the power! Such an affirming program.

  56. Kathie says:

    Pippi Longstocking
    Pippi Goes On Board
    Pippi in the South Seas
    The Amazing Katie John
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle
    From the Mixed up Files…
    Willy Wonka – had to have chocolate nearby!
    Robin Hood
    King Arthur and His Knights
    Nancy Drew Mysteries and more recently the follow up “The Case of the Good for Nothing Girlfriend”.


  57. Riotllama says:

    Danny, Champion of the World!

  58. rinky says:

    Yes I agree tea, queer librarians are hot, and my girlfriend is about to become one (lucky me)

    Also, does anyone know a kid’s book about a girl made of dough? A dough girl? circa mid 1960’s or earlier? (or maybe a bit later?) will ask gf more about it. she has been trying to track it down from her childhood. Oh she said it might be same publisher as Milly Molly Mandy.

  59. jk says:

    We watched cover to cover in Catholic school. It was so neat. He was such a chill guy, in the Fred Rogers vein. It did piss me off though that he didn’t give you the ending. I was stuck in school for the rest of the day with this tantilizing teaser.

  60. Heidi says:

    I remember Cover to Cover, too. I loved watching the drawings come together. But the main thing I remember is the host reading a sort of creepy book one time that caused me to wake up with nightmares. I recall him reading more serious books, not many funny ones.

    Mame, you named quite a few of my childhood favorites!

  61. Aunt Soozie says:

    Dr E. I saw her current website… wonder if she is a dyke to watch out for… hmmm… and yes, I think Pixanne and Mr. B Flat dated for awhile in the late 70’s but then that butch on butch thing didn’t really work out for them… at least that’s what I had heard…

  62. LondonBoy says:

    Just for the pleasure of it, favorite books I remember from my childhood…

    Stig of the Dump
    The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (the thought of Miss Slighcarp still makes my flesh creep)
    A Wrinkle in Time
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    Green Smoke
    The Little Grey Men
    Winnie the Pooh
    The House at Pooh Corner (can’t read the last paragraph without crying)
    The Wind in the Willows

    Interesting how many of these are “classics”… maybe there’s something to this idea of “great literature” after all.

    If you know anyone aged about 12, give her “City of Masks” by Mary Hoffman. I read it recently, and loved it.

  63. sparks says:

    I’m going to dissent.

    Hated Cover to Cover. Hated Mr Rogers, too.

    Was too busy memorizing My Side of the Mountain for watching TV anyway.

  64. annie says:

    hello les filles
    DĂ©solĂ©e, je n’Ă©cris pas l’anglais et le comprend Ă  peine pour lire ce blog, d’Alison!
    Mais ça me fait beaucoup de bien de vous lire, car ici, en France, en province française,on n’a pas de contacts avec d’autres lesbiennes.
    Et on sera ravie, ma copine et moi, de venir saluer Alison au prochain festival d’AngoulĂŞme!
    bises Ă  toutes

  65. Hannah says:

    Ready2agitate, I am using the info given at the end of the contact page where Allison says you can reach me at dyke at dykestowatchoutfordotcom (which is exactly how she has it written out.) obviously I switched the dotcome to .com
    And that didn’t work, and I have tried the actual url, copy paste and several other things. My email says this is not a valid address, chokes and won’t send. Thoughts, something I am missing?
    As for books…
    The Earthsea trilogy
    The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit
    My Side of the Mountain
    the entire series associated with Wrinkle in Time
    Walter Farley’s black stallion books
    Margerat Henry’s books (King of the Wind, Misty of Chincotegue etc)
    Rudyard Kiplings books (especially his poetry)
    Jack London’s books
    Anne Macaffrey’s “The Littlest Dragonboy” – the short story that later spawned her Dragon Series
    any version of King Arthur and Robin Hood you can think of
    Mark Twain’s Maid of Orleans – a life story of Joan of Arc (I did read his other works too, Tom Sawyer and so forth. The Joan of Arc telling stuck with me. Great reading for a baby dyke!)
    Any poetry I could get my hands on
    And many many years ago I read a book about a family a witches who had a little girl who had all these great adventures which I desperately wish I could remember the title
    I had access to my Grandmothers library…hence the variation.
    Thanks ready2agitate. Let me know if you think of something!

  66. ksbel6 says:

    Hannah: try this exactly (but without the quotes)…””. Many people type out the words instead of the symbols when listing their email address.

    Anyone know any more about Thom Creed (by Stan Lee) than what I can find on the net? Which TV station, when, etc.

  67. Mame says:

    oh and Tintin…how can we neglect to mention Tintin HERE of all places….and Asterix the Gaul….

  68. judybusy says:

    Eva and rinky, I just spent some time on line trying to find your books to no avail. I think they sound great, and if anyone remembers them, speak up! I think I was able to find my ecology book and have requested two possibilities form my library. I’ll be so happy ifone is the one read to me.

  69. Calico says:

    Mame – “All-of-a-kind Family” – I adored those books.
    I learned a lot about Jewish holidays and traditions from these stories.
    I still have one downstairs-think it’s called “More All-of-a-kind Family.”
    Time to reorder and read ’em again! : )

  70. Maggie Jochild says:

    Hannah, I bet the witch books you’re trying to remember is the <em<Little Witch series by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. They are great.

  71. Ellen says:

    When I was in my teens, I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn about six times. My mother also read to me a series of twin books, The Dutch Twins, The Japanese Twins. The Chinese Twins was my favorite because the girl twin dresses as a boy so she can go to school and avoid having her feet bound.

    Did anyone watch Romper Room? Where the host holds up the big magnifying glass and says, “I see Jennifer. I see Christopher…” She never saw my brother, Ilo, though. Disappointing for him.

    And then there was Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans. Plus some local show with a clown…? I think that’s where I developed my aversion to clowns.

  72. NLC says:

    …and a nice interview with everyone’s favorite “curmudgeonly old bar dyke”:

  73. Kate L says:

    A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorites, too. I read it the year it won the Newbery Madal (1963). I guess that dates me. I was also in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 23, 1963, but that was a VERY bad scene for a kid…

  74. Fiona Bizwaps says:

    Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader the phonics pimp?!!??!! I just snorted my tea all over my laptop!

    To all the British Dykes reading this – did any of you read the Enid Blyton boarding school stories such as St Claire’s and Mallory Towers and fantasize about going to an all girl’s boarding school? Hockey, lacrosse, midnight feasts…in an all girls school. Wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to go so badly (only 10 at the time) but it all makes sense now.

    Pip, pip!

  75. Dweeb says:

    I said Cover to Cover earlier with a link, but unfortunately my post is still “awaiting moderation.” Maybe it’s because I used TinyURL. Ah well.

  76. Dr. Empirical says:

    Okay, here’s Easy Reader. He doesn’t wear his pimp hat in this one, but he sings!

    Mister Reader shows up about 45 seconds in, if you’re the impatient type.

  77. Hayley says:

    Does anyone remember The Alfred Hitchcock Mysteries Series with The Three Investigators? Jupiter Jones and his friends solving mysteries? Loved them! And Tom Swift. I liked the boy adventure/mystery books…to supplement the very few cool girl ones (Harriet the Spy.)

  78. Dr. E!!! God! I never made the connection between Easy Reader and Morgan Freeman!!! How freaky to see him again! Thanks for the link–which also led me to this awesome one of Rita Moreno doing “hey you guys” with three versions of herself.

  79. Thanks, Noominal and Dweeb! That’s the guy!

  80. LizBn says:

    Here is a video of Levar Burton singing the Reading Rainbow them song last night on Diggnation.

  81. NLC says:

    Following up the Electric Company links:

    1] Not having watched Electric Company, I hadn’t realized how many of these songs were written (or co-written) by Tom Lehrer.

    2] Concerning Morgan Freeman and playing “I Knew Them Before They Were Stars…”:

    Let’s not forget Morpheus as Cowboy Curtis:

    3] However, the best example of this is still probably the end of “Psycho” with Ted Knight/Baxter steps out as the guard from Norman Bates’ cell.

  82. ksbel6 says:

    Haley: I loved those Alfred Hitchcock books, wasn’t their hideout an old submarine?

    I love Tom Lehrer…mathematicians are so much more creative than folks usually think. There’s the “periodic table song” and “new math” and he is sooo funny!

  83. Ian says:

    I shoulda been a dyke. I used to read my Mum’s old all-girl boarding school stories when I was off school sick and look for lesbian subtexts. It’s interesting to note how much more obscure the references get after the Well of Loneliness trial in the late 20s.

    When it comes to Blyton it was always the Faraway Tree series for me. Noddy & Big Ears creeped me out which is somewhat ironic/prophetic given my later experiences of being chased by chicken queens at a young and formative age.

  84. Daña says:


    Merci pour écrire ici. Ma français est pauvre, mais merci.


  85. Daña says:


    Merci pour écrire nous ici. Mon français est pauvre, mais merci.


  86. Andrew B says:

    I will definitely look for Ted Baxter next time I see Psycho. But last summer I came across another example of this that was pretty striking. I was flipping channels on the tv, when I came across Jim Carrey hopping around lip synching to, of all songs, “Welcome to the Jungle”. He’s not playing for laughs, but it’s still pretty funny. He’s playing some sleazebag rock star who’s making a video with a British director — played by Liam Neeson, as it turns out. “Well, this will be amusing”, I think to myself, “whatever the hell it is”. So then they take a break from the video, Carrey goes out to his trailer, shoots up heroin, and dies in convulsions. Kind of a creepy sense of humor, I think, as I wait for him to wake up again. But he doesn’t. He’s really dead.

    It turns out that in 1988, when he was still an unknown Canadian comedian, Jim Carrey had this bit part in the opening sequence of “The Dead Pool”, a “Dirty Harry” sequel. The rest of the movie (which I quickly gave up on) is Clint Eastwood charging around SF shooting people and acting self-righteous about it.

    It was a lesson in the role our expectations play in our interpretation of an art work (yes, using the term loosely). I was naturally thinking of what I know about Jim Carrey and Guns’n’Roses — but the movie was created with the assumption that I knew nothing about either of them.

  87. Dr. Empirical says:

    I loved the Three Investigators! They always seemed more plausible to me than the Hardy Boys, who always struck me as over-equipped. The bad guys are hiding on Blacksnake Island? We’ll just jump in our motorboat and head out there! Better stop and grab our scuba gear from the basement on our way, it might come in handy!

    All The Three Investigators had was stuff they built from parts they scrounged in Uncle Titus’ junkyard. Their headquarters was a derelict camper, not a submarine, though. On the other hand, The Mad Scientists’ Club, another fave, had a salvaged submarine.

    I guess I was drawn to stories where kids outsmarted grownups.

  88. zeugma says:

    Any other Canadians out there remember The Friendly Giant? He and Jerome the Giraffe and Rusty the Rooster always read a book as part of the show. I have no memory at all of any of the books, but the theme song, “Early One Morning”, played on the recorder, and the opening and closing sequences, remain extremely vivid in memory.

    Favourite childhood books:

    Both Alice books
    Both Winnie the Pooh books
    Wind in the Willows
    All the Narnia books
    A Wrinkle in Time
    James and the Giant Peach

    Did anyone else read the wonderful book, “I Capture the Castle”? It’s by Dodie Smith, who wrote “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”, and it’s more adolescent than childhood reading.One of my all-time favourites.

    And any Brits out there remember the Molesworth books? They gave me a probably very unrealistic picture of English public schools (for boys), but they were hilarious.

  89. Elementary School Chum says:

    “Quasi-experimental?” I always tell people it was a “weirdo elementary school!”

    I don’t remember Cover to Cover at all…what grade and teacher, do you remember?


  90. Hannah says:

    ksbel6, yes! Thank you! That did it…I am still not sure what I was doing wrong, because I was switching symbols for words, evidently I just wasn’t doing something right! So, now i have inflicted my email on Allison! I appreciate the help!
    and Maggie Jochild. those books look great! Unfortunately, they aren’t it. The publishing date for The Litte Witch is 1987. What I was reading was a hard back published in or before the 60’s (and lord I have just dated myself!)that was a series chapters of individual adventures of this little girl who lived with three witches. And she liked it, it wasnt a conflict for her. And I remember that there was always just a hint of a question as to whether it was real or the little girls imagination. And there was just the one book, no series. Light blue cover. Argh! Why I can remember reading MacAffrey’s “The Littlest Dragonboy” at the same time and can’t remember this…I grew up, left that small school and went to Jr High, Highschool and on to life. Never knowing I would be here close to 30 some odd years later banging my head on the desk trying to remember the book. Sigh. I too read Jupiter Jones and his investigative friends as well as Harriet the Spy. Loved them, also the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Franwieler – great book. And I suppose I should be shot for not mentioning the Narnia books and CS Lewis SF trilogy…I spent YEARS poking my nose into musty old wardrobes, hoping…

  91. Hannah says:

    Um sorry…typo!
    The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankwieler, not Franwieler. My bad. It’s late. I am going to bed now. I have to get up and go to class tomorrow anyway.
    Blessings to all.

  92. Andrew O. says:

    Sigh. I’m too old, and missed out on that show completely. I would have loved being read to and drawn at, and like Alison would have rushed out for the books themselves.

  93. Andrew O. says:

    Hey, is this going to show up in your next book?

  94. Annie says:


    Merci pour écrire ici. Ma français est pauvre, mais merci.


    Merci merci Dana, ton petit message me rend heureuse pour cette journée..
    Je vous embrasse toutes.

  95. Mame says:

    Anyone recall the Great Brain series? by John Fitzgerald. All boys…alas no girls…but fun books.

  96. Dr. Empirical says:

    The Great Brain! Another Kids Outsmarting Grownups series!

    Loved ’em!

  97. LizGig says:

    Ian, did your mother’s books include the Chalet School by Elinor Brent-Dyer? My ex had a boarding school fetish, and, being a compulsive reader, I read a fair few of her copies. But the best of the series was written by a fan-grown-up, ‘The Chalet Girls Grow Up’. One of the triplets becomes a nun, falls in love with a priest… and I won’t ruin it for anyone who feels the urge to read it.

  98. ksbel6 says:

    Dr. E: you are right of course, The Mad Scientists Club was a definite favorite. Have you read the 2 that came out later? One of the houses I lived in growing up was near an old dump. We found so much great trash in that place for our tree fort. What great memories!

  99. Amyx says:

    Harriet the Spy: my baby-dyke inspiriation to hang stuff from my belt and tote around a composition book at age 7!
    The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    Books by David McCauley: Castle, Cathedral, Motel of the Mysteries
    A Wrinkle in Time, The Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet
    Any book by Judy Blume that parents wanted pulled from the elementary schools
    The World Book Encyclopedia (in which I looked up all the stuff I dared not ask my parents!)

  100. Dr. Empirical says:

    I knew there was one Mad Scientists’ Club sequel. There were two?!

    To The Bookstore!

  101. just a guy says:

    I remember C to C, showing it to kids as a school librarian. I needed to be reminded of it though. Anyone remember the Disney Children’s Book Club, or TAB, Teenage Book Club paperbacks?

    Couple of neat spooky books were The Figure in the Shadows and The House With The Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs.

    Couldn’t stand Mr. Rogers till I had a kid and watched it with him; I was charmed by the gentleness and wisdom.

  102. rinky says:

    judybusy thanks for having a look

    One book I wish I never purged from childhood was
    Robert Louis Stevenson’s
    A Child’s Garden of Verse,
    illustrated by
    Cicely Mary Barker(I’m pretty sure it was her) -She is awesome

  103. Donut Rooter says:

    I might have watched a later version of C to C, because I do remember a show with that format, but I went to elementary school in the 80’s. The one story I remember learning about on that show was “The Headless Cupid” which was also referenced in a book I read around the same time called “The Girl With the Silver Eyes.”

  104. Eva says:

    A short story title I remember from childhood:
    The Girl Who Lost Her Eyebrows. It was a give something up to get something story, but I don’t remember what she got in exchange.

  105. ksbel6 says:

    Dr. E: The New Adventures, The Big Kerplop, and The Big Chunk of Ice. The last two aren’t quite as good as the first two, but worth reading. Did you notice they changed the name of the club between the first two books…”Scientist’s” became “Scientists'”…I suppose Henry had to start sharing the spotlight 🙂 Oh, and I loved The Great Brain books!

  106. blushing girl says:

    As the mom of a pre-teen boy who is a voracious reader and reads at an adult level, I was happy to see the lists of books here. There were some old favorites I’ve forgotten about. We recently went book shopping at our local, liberal bookstore, and I realized how little good literature there is at the middle- and high-school level. Most of it is serial fantasy or (worse yet) serial romance aimed at the girls, and it’s not very good.

    I think young adult publishers have set a goal of getting young people to read, period. What they read doesn’t seem to be as important.

    I was a huge fan of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s books back in the day.

    Thanks for the walk through the stacks!

  107. blushing girl says:

    And while I’m here… does anybody remember the name of a book I was assigned to read in junior high that was about the search for the Holy Grail? It was about Glastonbury, but it wasn’t an Arthurian tale, specifically. This was in the mid-70s.

    I loved that book and haven’t been able to find it for my son.


  108. Ian says:

    @Lizgig: The Chalet School series was her favourite, but she also read Dorita Fairlie Bruce and Elsie Oxenham??? They’re strangely addictive books. Somewhere on the internet there’s a PhD or a thesis all about lesbian subtexts in British all-girl boarding school stories. I think Brent-Dyer is rumoured to have been a lesbian, or at least I know I’ve read she had crushes on older girls at school. (She died 40-odd years ago btw folks).

  109. BrooklynPhil says:

    As someone who was born in 1966, I’m very proud to have been among the first generation who watched Sesame Street (debuted 1969, I believe) and The Electric Company. Watching Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, and Irene Cara, I was primed for great talent in movies and television for the next several decades.

  110. Ready2Agitate says:

    Do ya’ll think Mo et al (esp. Jasmine, Janis, Lois; Samia, Ginger; Stuart and Sparrow; Clarice) are in WDC right now? / this wkd?

  111. Ready2Agitate says:

    Big ups, BrooklynPhil! I’m a late-1965’er! 🙂

    As to Morgan Freeman, seems he’s unwilling to discuss his time on TEC, and has said that he stayed on the show too long. Without knowing, my hunch is that he found it a bit ridiculous to have played such an intense racial stereotype (I mean really, “the phonics pimp”?! sorry that’s just racist.) He’s awesome, but even the progressive TEC didn’t always get it right….

    (And yes, as a kid, I LOVED it!)

    ps Brooklyn Phil, I was born in East Patchogue. You?

  112. Kelli says:

    It’s also possible that Freeman felt as though he was the fill-in for Bill Cosby. Cosby, mind you, did not play stereotypes himself, but was not beyond using them in animation to tell a morality tale, as he did on “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”.

  113. Anne says:

    Okay, my turn. My math teacher would read to us every day in elementary school. One of the books was about friendly dragons that only the kids saw, and it may have been connected to feathers that fell on one kid’s shoulder — one with a circle and one with a square. This was the mid-70’s.

  114. Dr. Empirical says:

    Just to clarify: He was never called the Phonics Pimp on the show. That’s just my description. He would wander the streets in a brightly-colored hat with a big feather in it, grooving to the billboards and traffic signs.

    Silent “e” had a particular fascination for him.

  115. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK, thx Dr. E., for pointing the racist label where it belongs! (smile). Ch – at Chat! I just loved that! Cosby narrated some amazing PBS black liberation documentaries. anyway, maybe I’m wrong, Freeman has his own issues w/TEC! 🙂

    Happy Inaug all. (So whom from our beloved dtwo4 gang is in DC? Certainly not Stuart–too much a carbon footprint to trek all the way there!) Enjoy.

  116. Another guy says:

    Does anyone here remember The Friendly Giant? I think that it was a Canadian show. This gentle giant type dude (don’t know the actor’s name but will Google it) would read these awesome kid’s books for a half an hour – they were always illustrated books. This show was on in the later sixties to very early seventies. One of his cohorts was a puppet chicken (I think) who was called Rusty: “look up, wa-a-aay up, and I’ll call Rusty.” I loved that ol’ giant…..

  117. Dr. Empirical says:

    I defy anyone to look at a guy, white, black, your elementary school principal, your grandpa, anyone! in a purple felt hat with a peacock feather and not think “pimp.”

  118. Minnie says:

    Bonjour Annie,
    Connaisez-vous une bibliothèque dans laquelle c’est possible d’acheter le livre en la langue française “Dykes to watch out for”?

    C’est impossible a trouver avec “Amazon”.


  119. Minnie says:

    Another guy, I do remember “Friendly Giant”! I remember the opening tune he played on his recorder:
    A A
    GG GG
    E F F
    CCCC C D D E D
    C CCCC C C
    B B

    Read left-to-right (and up and down) to follow Friendly Giant’s tune. All the notes are the same length: one-beat notes, except for that final “C”, which is a couple of beats longer than the others.

    After “Friendly Giant”, we’d watch “Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood”, which first aired on Canadian TV. It was 1963 or 1964, and both were 15-minute shows then.

    I did exercises to Jack LaLanne’s TV show once the kids were down for their nap.
    Did we have a second TV channel in Canada yet? Somehow Jack LaLanne doesn’t seem to fit the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation profile.

  120. Minnie says:

    Well forget that little music-notation experiment! The notes all piled up to the left once it was posted.

    The tune was
    (ascending) C C C C C E G G A
    (descending) F D C B
    (ascending) D
    (descending) G
    (ascending) G C C C C C E G G A
    (descending) F D B
    (ascending) C (hold this note longer than the others).

  121. Another Guy says:

    Thanks for remembering the show, Minnie! And I totally can hear the tune in my head! ~ ~ ~