Staff Spotlight July: Merrilee!

Bookseller spotlight - Merrilee display
Merrilee’s spotlight display in BookKids for the month of July.

~post by Merrilee

Like Ellen did in April, for my turn in the staff spotlight, I spent a certain amount of time thinking of a theme. I got a great idea, changed my mind, changed it again, thought of something else . . . but eventually went with my first instinct: books I’ve loved at different stages of my life.

When I was a bratty four year old, I had four big brothers and a mom and dad to read to me. I don’t remember most of what they read to me, but some things made an impression.

The Poky Little Puppy
Sometimes what I liked about this one was that being poky paid off and he got his dessert even though he was bad. Sometimes I liked that the other puppies ate all the dessert because being pokey DIDN’T pay. The first time I saw it as an adult, I thought, “Holy cow I remember this from when I was little!” (A long, long, long time ago.)
Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
This one is just plain cute. Cute little house, cute little squirrel; even the bad squirrels are kind of cute. And the best picture is of the soldiers walking up the side of the tree (they don’t got no stinkin’ gravity!). For years, I thought I’d made this story up, until I saw it here at the store and realized it really WAS a real book.

Then by 9 or 10, I was reading everything I could get my hands on: my books, my brothers’ books, even stuff my parents had lying around.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky
Lois Lenski wrote an entire series of regional novels, all of which are out of print now except for Strawberry Girl. The library must have had them because I’ve read them all, and my sister and I used to act them out. After I read Houseboat Girl, we pretended the front porch was a boat on the Mississippi River. When I read Strawberry Girl, we had an imaginary strawberry patch we picked berries from, THEN we’d float downriver.

Then I grew up, got married, and had a baby boy. I used to kiss his sweet little pink feet and sing “A, You’re Adorable” to him. His feet are a size 14 now, but every time I see the board book on the shelf, it makes me nostalgic for those sweet little toes.

sea legs rainbow goblins lesters dreadful sweaters
Which brings us to now. My baby is grown up and I’ve gotten old and quirky. I like weird books (Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, 13 Words, June 29, 1999), funny books (The Highway Rat, Sea Legs, Fake Mustache), and pretty books (The Rainbow Goblins, Poems to Learn By Heart). I like lots and lots and LOTS of books. I was named after a character in a novel*, after all.

So these are some things I’ve loved from the first 50 years of my reading life. Won’t it be interesting to see what the next 50 years are like?

Merrilee, "old and quirky."
Merrilee, “old and quirky.” (Dressed as a house harpy for a Rick Riordan event at BookPeople.)

*Guy Mannering by Walter Scott. In case you wondered.

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