The Detective’s Daughter – Story Time

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Kim, in Baltimore, binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

I come from a long line of story tellers. Some of my fondest memories of childhood were those spent listening to my Aunties or grandparents sharing family secrets disguised as magical tales. Though they were fun, and tales I’ve passed on to my own children, the best story times were with my mom as I was snuggled under the covers in my bed.

Mom would pull the fairy tales book from the shelf and settle in bedside me to read. Despite knowing that Cinderella would marry her prince and Red Riding Hood would out-smart the wolf, I enjoyed every moment of every story.  The familiar stories were comforting. I’d memorized nearly every word yet still found myself rooting for Cinderella as if this were the first time I’d heard this story.fairy tales

When my children were younger I read to them much in the same way my mom did for me. After baths were finished and teeth were brushed we’d all tuck in under the quilt. Night after night, I read the same books over and over  until I barely needed to glance at the words. Goodnight, Gorilla was such a favorite book three copies had to be purchased in under a year because the pages were so worn. I suppose it didn’t help that my son liked to teethe on this particular book as well!

Pass the Fritters, Critters and I Don’t Want to Go to Bed were two of our last favorite bedtime books  before they were old enough to move onto Mad Magazine and Meg Mysteries. I miss those days, especially on snowy evenings when we each sit in our own rooms reading. fritters. critters

Even as an adult I have several books I go to when I need that comfort zone to live in for awhile. Dorothy Cannell’s The Thin Woman and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express are two of the books I call old friends. No matter how many times I read them, they still fill me with delight. I’m always ready for story time.f go to bed


Dear Reader, which stories did you enjoy hearing as a child? Have you passed them on to younger family members? Which books do you read for comfort?

34 Thoughts

  1. I learned to read ridiculously early, so I usually read myself to sleep. Favorites were A. A. Milne’s books (which I recite at random times: “Halfway up the stairs is the place where I sit/There isn’t any other place quite like it.”) and Charlie and the Purple Crayon. (I was never a fan of Little Golden Books–I think I leapfrogged right over those.)

    1. Christopher Robin goes hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hop.
      Whenever I ask him politely to stop it, he says he can’t possibly stop.
      If he stopped hopping, he couldn’t go anywhere.
      Poor little Christopher couldn’t go anywhere.
      That’s why he always goes hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hop.
      Hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hoppity, hoppity hop.

  2. I have the copy of “Gus and the Baby Ghost” that I read as a child and I passed to my girl. It’s on her bookshelf. I thought about giving it to my sister for her baby, but I didn’t have a chance to talk to my daughter and I wasn’t sure she’d let go of it.

    Along with Agatha Christe, Harry Potter is my go-to comfort read.

  3. My mom read to us too and there were frequent trips to the library. I love the first few Janet Evanovich books. They are a lesson on voice and community. Plus they make me laugh. If I need a break from life I grab one of them.

    1. I love, love, love Stephanie Plum! I can picture every detail of her “burg” and every character. I couldn’t even go to see the movie when it came out because I knew it would be too different from my own vision. (And really, Katherine Heigl as Stephanie? I don’t think so!) I think I need to read One for the Money again.

  4. hmm my go to books are Mist Over Pendle and the complete Lord of the Rings (which I first read when I was six)! and depending what mood I am in a re-read of a favourite cozy series (ie do I want books, animals, food etc!)

    1. If I had read The Lord of The Rings at six, I suspect I would have needed the sixty-three years since then for therapy. I too, read grown-up books at a very early age (and some with QUITE unsuitable content for a five or six-year-old), but never anything that dark. I congratulate you on emerging unscathed from the experience. That last sentence sounded snarky, but I meant it sincerely.

      1. I had already ploughed my way through Agatha Christie and so on, I think my parents wanted to give me something to keep me occupied (err I read it in a day – so that backfired lol)

  5. My mother never read to me but I’m like Sheila, I learned to read on my own before kindergarten. I don’t remember any particular books, only that we’d go to the library once a week and get a haul. With my kids, I started reading Beverly Clearly’s Henry Huggins and we’d fall out of the bed laughing. They also loved the Frog and Toad early readers and read those innumerable times to ME

    1. Hi Ramona,

      You raise a point that I was discussing with a friend just the other day. Visits to the library (and hauling home huge stacks of books) were an experience I think all of us (those over thirty at least) shared. The amount of “screen time” kids today experience seems to have replaced that, and despite all the benefits and joys of today’s electronic world (specifically including The Wickeds), I think they’ve lost something very precious. I would be a very different person today (and definitely NOT a better one) without the thousands of hours I spent in libraries.

      1. Lee, my mother worked so my siblings and I were home alone all summer (we were old enough). We’d each check out as many books as allowed, and then we’d read each others’ books, which is why I know so much about the space program! We did spend a lot of time watching TV, long hot afternoons, which is why I have seen every episode of Wagon Train!

    2. My family moved to a new town when I was five, and my mother got me a library card quickly. One small problem: I thought I could keep the books, so I stacked them up under my bed. My mother was not happy when she found out, and we kind of stopped going to the library. But there were usually school libraries, and book sales (which is where I got my copy of Little Women), and other towns with nice libraries (we moved a lot).

  6. My mother always read to me every night. She would read me “The Chapter Book” (aka The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), so-called because I got a chapter every night. Then, when things had reached the most exciting part, she was suddenly “too busy” and the book was left for me to puzzle through.

    And that’s how she taught me to read at the age of 4.

    When I started school, I was evidently so bored with what I was being “taught” that my teacher sent home a note telling my mother that I wasn’t “ready for reading.” My mother took a day off from work, came to my school, and had me read to the teacher from my current book which, if I remember correctly, was “The Door Into Summer” by Robert Heinlein. My teacher wasn’t happy about this, and subsequently never liked me (and the feeling was decidedly mutual), but she moved me over to the reading group.

    I know the first mystery I read (probably around the age of 6) was What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw (aka The 6:40 from Paddington) by Agatha Christie. It was one of my grandmother’s books (who was a big mystery fan) and I remember it was in hardcover and had a bright red binding. Immediately after that, I moved on to Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey and I was hooked for life.

    However the books I go back to and reread over and over again are the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe books. I desperately yearned to be as witty and sophisticated as Archie Goodwin and have my meals cooked by Fritz Brenner and sit in the big red chair next to Wolfe’s desk and hear him expostulate and say “pfui.”

    There are enough of them that by the time I’ve worked my way around to rereading a book for about the tenth time, I’ve almost forgotten who did it and why and can even enjoy the mystery aspect again.

    You know, Kim, we’re incredibly lucky to have been given that joy of reading from the start and to have all these wonderful books to go back to over and over again.

    1. Yes, I know, it’s The 4:50 from Paddington. I have stupid fingers this morning. Or perhaps it’s a stupid brain. Alas, more likely the latter.

  7. Favorites from my picture book days included Nate the Great, the Lorax, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And yes, they got passed on to my niece and nephew.

  8. My husband or I read to our kids every night until they were old enough to read. We read many books so many times I could be mentally off solving a problem at work while my lips moved. Often one of us would fall asleep in the kid’s bed and not show up downstairs until hours later.

    But you all should not despair. My son spent four hours reading to my five year-old granddaughter at the library last Sunday. (Of course, her mom is the librarian.)

  9. I love the Cold Blooded Penguin (because I was always cold – still am) (and I still have the book more than 60 years later), and the Teeny Weenies. I could just get lost in that book. My parents didn’t read books to me when I was little, but as soon as I could read I couldn’t stop! I seldom re-read a book, but I do love Rebecca and some of Agatha Christie’s I’ve read more than once. What I really love to do is listen to Agatha, Rex Stout, and old Sherlock Holmes radio shows in the car. Some of those I have listened to over and over. Sorta like comfort food.

    1. Ginny, I love, love, love those radio shows! My dad had them and we would listen to Sherlock Holmes and The Shadow programs. I’d forgotten about them. Now you have me on a new quest!

  10. I should add that I read to my daughter every night. She has great memories of it. She, too, is an avid reader as an adult.

      1. My husband and I still read The Night Before Christmas to her every Christmas Eve (in bed if she is here!)

  11. My parents read to my brother and me. When Dad changed something, the fingers would come out of my brother’s mouth (not the thumb), and he would turn the page back. We had Little Golden books and some Doctor Suess. Later I read the Little Women series , Heidi, and others that my family had. I still have the Little Women and Heidi books. I used to go the the library with my Dad and pick out books.

    1. Sally, what a great description of your brother listening as your dad read! I have such a vivid image of this. I also have my Little Women book. When you turn it over, Little Men was on the other side. It was part of a series my mom bought from a door to door sales man. It’s the only book I have left from the series which also included Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer among others.

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