I’ve decided to take a look at some of my favorite books of my childhood. My desire to write stemmed from so many wonderful books I devoured in my formative years. I think I’ll make this a recurring series — I mean, I read so many books there is probably no end in sight.
For the first, I want to take a look at Homer Price.
Homer is a boy, presumably 12 or so, who lives in Centerburg, Ohio. The book is actually a collection of vignettes or short stories about Homer and the different situations he finds himself in. I absolutely fell in love with the two Homer Price books when I was about his age and still remember them fondly to this day.
The author, Robert McCloskey, wrote both Homer Price and a sequel Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price. The first was published in 1943 and the latter in the early 50’s. McCloskey was also twice a Caldecott Award winner, most famously for the 1942 winner Make Way for Ducklings.
I suppose Homer’s stories really may have propelled me into science fiction and fantasy. Homer was always inventing and innovating and somehow became embroiled in new and fantastic situations. A few of the stories from the book, include “The Case of the Cosmic Comic,” and “The Doughnuts.” The second story is one that really sticks in my mind as Homer has to contend with an unstoppable doughnut-making machine in his uncle’s diner.
Ultimately, I don’t have a perfect memory of the book, but I do remember my feelings and the joy I got out of reading it. It is an amazing set of stories from American small town life in the 40’s and 50’s. Homer was inventive and smart — a great role model for any boy. There was also African-American characters who always treated well and a regular part of the Ohio community where Homer lives.
I recently purchased a copy for my nine-year-old daughter’s bookshelf, where it and Centerburg Tales sit today. She’s got some great adventures ahead of her when she finally dives into the terrific books, and in that way, I’m jealous.
As a matter of fact, I may sneak in her room and grab it for myself while I’m thinking about it.