What is one of your favorite children's stories?
I was an avid reader when I was a child. I also watched a lot of television, played sports with the neighborhood kids, rode my bicycle everywhere, liked to free-hand draw, learned to bake, and always seemed to be on the go. We didn’t have computer games or texting to fill out our days, and for that, I’m very grateful.
When I first saw this question I thought of books that my Mom and Dad might have read to me. While I’m sure they did, I really don’t remember any. My favorite anything is something I’m active in, not a passive passenger along for the ride. So I turned my thoughts to the books I read and there’s a lot of memories. I read the Highlights magazines at the doctor’s and dentist’s offices. I read the Reader’s Digest after my parents had finished them. When I was a teen I dove headfirst into Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury. As an adult, I read just about everything that Raymond Fiest and David Eddings wrote. But the books I started reading in my early school years stand out the most because they really got me going. Those were the Tom Swift and Hardy Boys series. I believe my mother signed me up for a book-of-the-month club and when the next book came in the mail, wrapped in cardboard, I couldn’t wait to pull on the perforated tab, pull the book out and see what the title would be.
The Hardy Boys series were mysteries that teenagers Frank and Joe Hardy would solve. The Tom Swift series, or more specifically, the Tom Swift Jr. series, were about inventions and dramatic adventures, and that’s the series I liked the most. Tom invented repelatrons, robots, and solartrons, to name just a few, and he used his inventions and intellect to defeat the bad guys.
But to answer the question posed, I feel I should select a single book from that series, and the one that stands out is “Tom Swift and his Diving Seacopter”. The Seacopter, named the Ocean Arrow, could fly like a plane, submerge like a submarine, and is just the right vehicle to locate a rocket that’s come back from space with evidence of living things on another planet, but has been diverted by an unknown force and landed in the waters off South America. Tom, his friends Bud Barclay and Chow Winkler, and two expert oceanographers set off to locate the rocket and have to overcome an underwater landslide to defeat their enemies.