216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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Friday, December 7, 2018

Sometimes Books Go Viral Too!

By Jan Pease

Santa visited the library Thursday night for one of the best family events of the year.  He held babies, talked seriously to children about getting along with their siblings, and was kind to our kids who have a hard time talking to people outside of the family.  I have no idea how many people came, because I forgot to use my little clicker.  I estimate about 150 or so.   Children were able to choose a book, make a countdown paper chain, and decorate a wooden ornament with glitter glue. 

Thank you, Friends of the Litchfield Library, for sponsoring this fun event.

Beth wrote last week about the best of lists for adult books.  I watched an older children’s book suddenly “go viral” throughout the world thanks to social media.  A video of a Scottish grandmother laughing hysterically while reading “The Wonky Donkey,” by Craig Smith, a teacher in New Zealand,   went viral on YouTube and Facebook about 12 weeks ago.    

Suddenly everyone in the U.S. wanted to read “The Wonky Donkey.”    Used and new paper back copies of this little book were offered at ridiculous prices in the hundreds of dollars.    Scholastic Inc reprinted the book and offered it on their book order for around five dollars.  Miss Julie from Mighty Dragons Preschool was able to purchase several copies from Scholastic and she allowed me to get one while the excitement was still at a high level.  Now the book is offered at the more reasonable price of about $5.00. 

This is a silly book, but it has become controversial.  This is another book that people either like or hate. Read the reviews at   The poor donkey has an artificial leg. Should we really call him wonky because of that?  Another disturbing image in the book is a bird that flies around carrying the eye lost by the donkey.  So he’s a winky wonky donkey.  Some people found Mr. Smith’s humor offensive, some didn’t.  I cringe while writing this, but even though I find the humor a bit off, I have read it aloud several times, and enjoyed it immensely.    It’s been interesting to watch the price skyrocket due to demand and then plummet when paperback copies flooded the market.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling. .  This series rocked the  world of children’s publishing and then it was discovered by adults. The books became with longer and longer and movies were made of each title.  

2018 also marked the 33rd Anniversary of The Polar Express, a favorite Christmas time book that  I’ve never successfully read at Story Time because it makes me cry.

2018 also was the 75th anniversary of the Boxcar Children. Even though new titles are issued each month, children seem to prefer the original books written by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Whether you choose a book at the top of the charts, or choose a time-honored book that has been read by generations of children, I hope you’ll give a gift of reading this Christmas. 

See you at the library!