People & Pages – Throwback Thursday/Shirley Temple and Dr. Seuss

Last week I purchased this beautiful book on Shirley Temple. Written by Jerome Beatty and published in 1935, the book is as lovely as the subject.

I loved watching Shirley Temple movies as a child. I still love them in my adult years. Last week, thinking back on the sweet stories, I realized that there were some scenes in the movies that would be deemed politically incorrect in our current age and state of affairs. While there are some portrayals that might need to be explained to a child in today’s politically correct climate, it would be apparent to even a six year old that no harm toward anyone was intended by what is now considered questionable moments.

I was so elated to find the book I began to wish I had all Shirley Temple’s movies on DVD. Would the cancel culture of the 2020’s rip away all evidence of her body of work? I researched buying a set of her movies, found what I was looking for, and placed it in my shopping cart to mull over a bit before I committed to buying. I wish I had bought the set right away.

Fast forward to this week.

Dr. Seuss…criticized, cancelled, perhaps banned. How can this be my world? I must have read Go Dog Go! to my sons well over a hundred times. I can still remember holding them on my lap as I read, and yelling out, ‘A Dog Party,’ at the end of the book. How could anyone sane cancel or ban Dr Seuss? They can’t…this is insanity!

As soon as the brouhaha of the Dr. Seuss fake fiasco reached my ears my indecision vanished; I went to my shopping cart to purchase the Shirley Temple DVD set. It was no longer available. My only choice was to pay $25.00 more for a similar set. Either someone bought all the available lower-priced versions, or the company itself was taking advantage of what they foresaw, as did I, would be the next sweet thing on the chopping block.

The moral of the tale: if you feel something is in danger of being cancelled, or might disappear, find a way to save and treasure it. I am happy to say, I have at least three Dr. Seuss books in the house. They aren’t the books in question, but you can be sure I will look for those in every thrift store I visit.

Prose and Phavorites – A Little Princess

I was a constant reader as a child. I had many favorites, Heidi, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Laura Ingalls Little House books. One of my favorite authors was Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved The Secret Garden and also A Little Princess. As an adult I sometimes revisit these books. I take after my maternal Grandmother in that characteristic, she loved children’s classics too. Recently, I had an inclination to reread A Little Princess. It was just as wonderful a story as it was when I first read it near forty-five years ago. I was struck by the wisdom I found in the book. I especially liked this paragraph in Chapter VI.

“If Nature has made you a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that-warm things, kind things, sweet things-help and comfort and laughter-and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”