Friday, December 22, 2023

Book Your Stocking 2023 with Marilynn Strasser Olson

On this year's Book Your Stocking, readers are sharing children's books from their past or present. Perhaps you'll stumble upon a book you once loved or a title you somehow missed. Should a book find its way into a stocking near you, all the better.

Please welcome my friend and cherished teacher, retired Professor of Medieval Studies and Children's Literature, Marilynn Strasser Olson.


One Way to Shelve a Magical Book

by Marilynn Olson

I was accosted on a bus by a handsome stranger once, who said “You read a lot of Edward Eager as a child, didn’t you?” – which is the most solid proof that I have that reading Edward Eager as a child had a permanent effect.  I’m pretty sure it did.  I would have told anyone that Half Magic was my favorite book. I got it in the summer when I was 8 from the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club.  

The cover scared me (I have heard one other testimony to this – neither of us is sure why), so I always put it back in the same place in my bookshelf with the cover against the right-side edge so I could find it but wouldn’t be taken unawares.  

I loved the Bodecker illustrations, which have exactly the right tone.  I loved this one because it is very funny, but also (I think) because it revealed some adult vulnerabilities that had not occurred to me yet.  


About Marilynn Strasser Olson: Dr. Olson recently retired from Texas State University where she taught an array of courses over a number of years in both the undergraduate and graduate English literature programs. She's author of innumerable essays, lectures, and presentations as well as the books Children's Culture and the Avante Garde: Painting in Paris 1890-1915 (2013); Ellen Raskin in the Twayne's United States Author Series (1991). She's fabulous.

Marilynn Strasser Olson