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Little Willow [userpic]

Juvenile Series of the 80s and 90s

November 25th, 2006 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: nostalgic
Current Song: Justice score music

My recent writings regarding The Baby-Sitters Club have made me nostalgic for the many series I read and collected when I was in elementary school.

When I was little, I would read almost everything I could get my hands on. I loved lengthy books and classics most of all, especially The NeverEnding Story and the Anne of Green Gables octet. I liked re-reading my favorite books, both those that I owned and those which I checked out of the library repeatedly, but I also wanted to read new stories. (Note: By "new," I simply mean something that I hadn't read yet. It didn't matter if it came out in 1850 or 1950. If it sounded interesting, I would read it.)

My town had one library, and I loved it there. It didn't always have the latest releases, but I always tried to find some books I hadn't read yet. The library didn't have a limit on the number of books a patron could check out, so I would get as many as I could carry. I loved looking through the racks of classics and plays, but I didn't want to read books with, ahem, adult situations, so I stayed away from some sub-genres of adult fiction. I read every single book in the children's department that interested me. The teen section didn't really exist yet. It consisted mostly of Sweet Valley High books and occupied a few spinning racks which were adjacent to those holding the juvenile series.

In other words, I loved lengthy books and classics most of all (Exhibit A: The NeverEnding Story) but my insatiable hunger for books meant I read a lot of contemporary books and series too. Though they were not all nearly as challenging and phenomenal as I wished them to be, they fed that hunger. Give me a few series books and I'd be done in a matter of hours. If we had a long drive somewhere, I would have to bring along at least three or four books.

That all being said, here is a partial list of the series I read that were published in the 80s and early 90s.

Numbered series for ages 7 and up
The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
Junior High by Kate Kenyon
Sweet Valley Twins and Friends by Francine Pascal
Choose Your Own Adventure
Girl Talk by L.E. Blair
Pen Pals by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Friends 4-Ever by Deirdre Corey
The Gymnasts by Elizabeth Levy
The Party Line by Carrie Austen
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
Peanut Butter and Jelly by Dorothy Haas

Numbered series for ages 12 and up
Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal
The Girls of Canby Hall by Emily Chase
Merivale Mall by Jana Ellis
Fear Street by R.L. Stine
Nightmare Hall by Diane Hoh

Unnumbered series for ages 7 and up
Alice McKinley books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Taffy Sinclair books by Betsy Haynes
Collette Murphy books by Colleen O'Shaughnessy McKenna
Encyclopedia Brown books by Donald J. Sobol
Matthew Martin books by Paula Danziger

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Posted by: queen_of_ocd (queen_of_ocd)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)

I also read
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

many, many times as a child. I loved the Baby-sitters Club obsessively, too.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)

Good choices.

Posted by: My characters kick your ass dot com (elfstar18)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)

What was the series with the inept ballet students? Bad news ballet? I loved it.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)

I only came across a few of those, but I will read anything and everything having to do with dancers. All of the Shoes books; The Sisters Impossible; A Time for Dancing; more recently, Clair-de-Lune; ah. It is in my blood.

Posted by: queen_of_ocd (queen_of_ocd)
Posted at: January 17th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)

I always liked the Rosie books (the Ballet Slippers series) by Patricia Reilly Giff, when I was little.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 17th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed her Polk Street Kids series, as well as her juvenile fiction titles such as Fourth Grade Celebrity.

Posted by: kacie (no_mysteryleft)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)

oh man, I'd forgotten about Girl Talk and Merivale Mall! And Friends 4-Ever... which I remember being really well written, especially since it was for younger kids.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 01:21 pm (UTC)

I remember getting Merivale Mall only because I wanted something to read and because they were wicked cheap at the warehouse. Ski trips! Shopping! Oh, the woe! So not my priorities. ;-)

Friends 4-Ever had the cool letters and logo.

Posted by: Lou (charismaticgrrl)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 09:57 am (UTC)

I think my favorites were the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys CROSSOVER series. Now *they* were fun. There was so much chemistry between Nancy and those brothers! The older one more so - damn, what was his name? Ah yes, Frank. Thank you wikipedia!
Now after reminiscing, I want to see if I can dig out my old Hardy Boy Casefiles books!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)

The crossovers were fun - and more engaging than than Nancy's adventures at college!

Posted by: frootjoos (frootjoos)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 12:51 pm (UTC)

I'm gonna have to go with John Bellairs's Anthony Monday series. They're still available today but they don't come with the Edward Gorey illustrations anymore, unless you can shell out big buck$$$ at an OP/rare bookstore.

FYI they just rereleased Choose Your Own Adventure....

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)

I loved John Bellairs! Johnny Dixon!

Have you seen the Choose Your Own Adventures DVDs? I've heard about them but have yet to see them. That sort of thing lends itself well to DVD, I think - press a button for a choice = turn a page for a choice.

Posted by: ESG (ebess_felix)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)

How can we neglect The Boxcar Children? I don't even like series books and yet could not get enough of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)

Ah, yes, I shall add them and the Bobbsey Twins.

Posted by: ESG (ebess_felix)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)

Excellent. I also remember reading a serioes of books about a red-headed boy named Penny. I don't remember if he solved mysteries or just had adventures. Any clue what this series is?

Oh, and Pippi Longstocking! - is that a series? I know I've read more than one book about her, but I'm not sure that constitues a series.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)

I do not know, but I will look that up later!

There are three original Pippi books that I know of, all fun.

Did you read the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books? FANTASTIC.

Posted by: ESG (ebess_felix)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)

I do not know of this Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, but just the name makes me want to read.

Also - did Madeleine L'Engle write any series? I know she wrote many children's books, but I don't recall if any were connected. My land, I love her.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)

Read them now. Right now. Stop reading this message and --

Are you back? Oh, good. Did you like them? :)

There are four books in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle sequence by Betty MacDonald, with each book containing at least half a dozen stories. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is a fun lady who comes to homes to help "cure" kids of bad habits and poor manners. Think of a grandmotherly Mary Poppins who gets you to eat your vegetables or teaches you not to call your brother names. SHE ROCKS. (For the record, I think she's approximately 10000000 times cooler than MP, but I make the comparison that people can easily 'get' it.)

Yes, Ms. L'engle rocked the continuations. There are four books for Meg and company, then a bunch for the Austins, then...

Posted by: ESG (ebess_felix)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)

Okay, okay, I'm requesting them from the library right now. She sounds kind of like the anti Amelia Bedelia.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)

She's fantastic. Did I mention that she ROCKS?

Posted by: nrkii (nrkii)
Posted at: October 24th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)

I read Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, Little House, Anne of Green Gables, the L'Engle books, the Alcott books, the other Montgomery books (many of these last two authors' works were 2 or 3 book series), the 5 Little Peppers, Encyclopedia Brown, Katie John (rereading now), The Dana Girls...

And amazingly, skipped the Narnia series pretty much completely. I remember reading part of LWW, but I don't remember finishing it. Am just in middle of that series now.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 24th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)

I also read other Montgomery books, such as the Emily trilogy and Magic for Marigold.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: November 14th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
I cry with no tears to Friends $-Ever

My name is alwy, I'm in Indonesia. I have read The Friends 4-Ever, adn I love it, because it happened to me too. I want to get the other series of Friends 4-Ever books, but it's really hard to find those books in here, Indonesia. I think, I need your help. please, reply to my e-mail : alaysinlimbo@yahoo.com


Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 14th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: I cry with no tears to Friends $-Ever

Hi there, Alwy. Unfortunately, I do not own any of the books in that series. I read them as a child and checked them out of the library. Have you tried used online bookstores that ship overseas?

Posted by: tess (tessie_sez)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)

I used to love the Sleepover Friends series too. It was a series about four best friends (Kate, Lauren, Patty, and Stephanie) who would sleep over each other's houses every weekend. I even got the Sleepover Friends Guide to Sleepovers so I could have a recipe for Kate's Famous Marshmallow Super Fudge. Of course now I don't need the book... it's the same recipe that's on the label of a jar of Fluff!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)

Nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing.

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