Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Favorite Author...

I cannot believe that out of the scores of posts I've written on my dear blog, I have not done a single one about an author that has actually (now that I go back and read her again) vastly shaped my writing . Two authors, actually, but this post is only about the one. (Edith Nesbit and I have a kinship in our children characters, I do believe) This woman was the marvelous Eleanor Estes.
As a child, among the legions of books Mama read aloud to us, lurked many about the Moffats. Now and then we had one about the Pyes thrown in, and a very odd story (that I like now) called "The Hundred Dresses". It's rather sad actually, that when I look up this precious author on Wikipedia, they say very little about her. Apparently the world is very deprived of one of its best children's authors. I have to say, Eleanor Estes is brilliant. She had C.S. Lewis' knack of pinning down childrens' (sometimes) abstract thoughts. Her books, without exception, take you back to a time when life was simpler, summer stretched for what seemed like years, and one had time to think of things like The Oldest Inhabitant, what a street looked like from a certain fence, and what your mother (a seamstress') modelling bust was named. She is a master in the art of telling a simple story in a captivating way, and I love her books fiercely. :) [Not to mention they are illustrated by the wonderful Edward Ardizonne who was a genius. :]
Read them if you ever get a chance. That's all.
Among the ranks of her characters, one is my absolute favorite: "Uncle Bennie". He's only 4, but he's certainly an uncle, and his thought-process absolutely cracks me up. He wonders what "Great Relish" tastes like. After all, his older sister (Jerry and Rachel Pye's mother) is always saying people ate her dinners with "great relish." He catches crickets and names them all "Sam" because he doesn't  know which is which. When he wants them to sing all he has to do is say, "Sing, Sams." And one or another will start to chirp. He is a darling, and by the first paragraph about him, you're in love. :) Pretty nearly by the first paragraph of any of her books, you're hooked. I highly recommend Eleanor Estes as an under-appreciated but thoroughly deserving author. Please rummage up one of her books at the library ASAP. :)
"At first Uncle Bennie's mother did not want him to go. A whole summer seemed like such an awfully long time to be parted from him. But since he was looking pale, having just had the chicken-pox, she finally said, "All right."
After all, Uncle Bennie would be with Mrs. Pye, who was his own big sister, which made him the uncle of Jerry and Rachel, though he was not half as old. He was only three, and he had been born an uncle. Some people are never uncles, but he had been one from the start, ever since he was a minute old; a minute-old uncle is what he had once been.
Since his mother still looked sad at the idea of a long separation, Uncle Bennie said to her, "If the fire's too hot on that island that's on fire, I'll come back. I'll swim back. I can swim, you know," he said indignantly, though so far no one had said he couldn't. "On the bottom of the bath-tub, I swim."
                                     ~Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes


The Brunette in the Kitchen said...

Eleanor Estes sounds wonderful! I am indeed going to rummage up one of her books at the library :) Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

I love Edith Nesbit. I have a couple of her books. I think my ultimate favourite is The Railway Children. Then The Treasure Seekers.

Miss Dashwood said...

The Moffats was one of the first "big-girl" chapter books that my Mom and I read aloud together, and I have many fond memories of all Eleanor Estes' books. My seven-year-old brother is especially fond of Pinky Pye, (though for a while he labored under the delusion that it was written by Jane Austen, LOL.)

Anonymous said...

I read the Moffats when I was little and loved them!