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My book is Katie and Nan Go to Sea, by Nan Inger (translated by Anabelle MacMillan), written in 1964. (I'm pretty sure Kate is taking this one.)

Jacket copy: Katie and Nan loved their new twin sisters, but they were worried that there would be no cruise on their converted fishing boat, the Dunkan, that summer. At last, however, the day came when, fitted in as comfortably as six people could be in such close quarters, they set out for a trip among the islands off the Swedish coast. A good deal of the time was filled with fishing, swimming, and visiting friends in their summer homes. Sometimes the Dunkan misbehaved, as on the day when the smokestack caught fire; more often it was Katie and Nan who misbehaved; but then there were the really perfect times that the whole family would remember forever. The summer had to end, but Katie and Nan wished it never would. Filled with the sights and sounds of the sea and boats and with the same mischievous humour and good sense that characterized the author's first book, Katie and Nan, this is the delightful story of a happy family summer.

Why do I love this book so much? I'm pretty sure I got this book just after my family moved to Europe (I was in grade 6 and we lived in a very small town in Ohio). It was a lot of change for me, and something about the change Katie and Nan go through in this story really appealed to me, I guess. They are such hardy girls; they have so much fun! Even as their world is becoming different. And it's a really tame story... all the "bad" things that happen are really quite safe.

I have moved a lot and somewhere along the line this book got lost. I was really quite sad as it meant a lot to me. Last year, for my birthday, my husband tracked down a copy for me from some second-hand online bookstore.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
originally published in 1943

Unfortunately I do not have the original paper cover to my vintage hardback edition, but I've lifted
a description from Amazon.com (editorial review) as a substitute for "inside flap" copy:

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry first published The Little Prince in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean during a reconnaissance mission. More than a half century later, this fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. "In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don't dare disobey," the narrator recalls. "Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket." And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.
The Little Prince describes his journey from planet to planet, each tiny world populated by a single adult. It's a wonderfully inventive sequence, which evokes not only the great fairy tales but also such monuments of postmodern whimsy as Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. And despite his tone of gentle bemusement, Saint-Exupéry pulls off some fine satiric touches, too. There's the king, for example, who commands the Little Prince to function as a one-man (or one-boy) judiciary:
"I have good reason to believe that there is an old rat living somewhere on my planet. I hear him at night. You could judge that old rat. From time to time you will condemn him to death. That way his life will depend on your justice. But you'll pardon him each time for economy's sake. There's only one rat."
The author pokes similar fun at a businessman, a geographer, and a lamplighter, all of whom signify some futile aspect of adult existence. Yet his tale is ultimately a tender one--a heartfelt exposition of sadness and solitude, which never turns into Peter Pan-style treacle.

the back cover copy is here (click on the cover image to get to the back cover):

I read this book as a small child, then again in high school French class, and again a few years ago, and I love it more
and more every time. It is essentially about being true to yourself, the importance of imagination, and of keeping a childlike world view.
There is regular reference to the absurdity and anguish of the adult existence, as seen through the eyes of the prince, who is forever a child...
The story is also sad and touching in a unique, poignant way; themes of loneliness, loss, and letting go are explored.
The illustrations in the book, in my opinion, are amazing, and even more so because they are done by
the author with no previous art training at all. He really was just a mail pilot before he wrote this.

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Jester

Although it has been a very long time since I've read this book, it has always stuck with me as one of my favorites. From what I remember it was my first solid exposure to looking at things from a different and ironic perspective. I couldn't find my copy though, so I grabbed the review from amazon.com...

"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored, bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull.

Norton Juster received (and continues to receive) enormous praise for this original, witty, and oftentimes hilarious novel, first published in 1961. In an introductory "Appreciation" written by Maurice Sendak for the 35th anniversary edition, he states, "The Phantom Tollbooth leaps, soars, and abounds in right notes all over the place, as any proper masterpiece must." Indeed.

As Milo heads toward Dictionopolis he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, or Alice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end. (Ages 8 and up)

Aesop's Fables
by Aesop :)

I wiki'd it:
Aesop's Fables or Aesopica refers to a collection of fables credited to Aesop (620–560 BC), a slave and story-teller who lived in Ancient Greece. Aesop's Fables have become a blanket term for collections of brief fables, especially beast fables involving anthropomorphic animals. His fables are some of the most well known in the world. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many stories included in Aesop's Fables, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" was derived), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, are well-known throughout the world.

My comments: I loved this book as a child and still find it to be incredibly intuitive. It contains some great little stories with moral lessons. The format of the book is a short story (usually single page stories) followed by the moral of the story. This was surprisingly helpful to the naive child I was.. This is essentially a children's book. Not sure about the ages.

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