Thursday, July 2, 2009

Danny Dunn: Good

Not too long ago, on the DorothyL listserv there was quite a lengthy discussion about the first mystery stories people had read (presumably as children).

A lot of authors and books were called out. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins were all popular choices. Agatha Christie drew big.

When I was a child, I don't remember specifically concentrating on any particular "genre." All I wanted to read were good books. And, Freddy the Piglike many readers, I loved finding a new (prolific) author or a new (long-running) series. Some of my favorite characters/books/authors included Homer Price, several Beverly Cleary series, the Freddy the Pig series, Encyclopedia Brown (Donald J. Sobol just released another one not too long ago!), the Edward Eager Magic books, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler*, A Wrinkle in Time, and the Tom Swift series, just to name a few.

Perhaps my favorite books were those in the Danny Dunn series, written by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams. In them, Danny (along with loyal friends Irene and Joe) would get mixed up with some contraption his mentor, Professor Bullfinch, had invented. Then they'd have to save the world--literally. As a kid, how could you resist books with titles like these?**

Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint
Danny Dunn on a Desert Island
Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine
Danny Dunn
Danny Dunn and the Weather Machine
Danny Dunn on the Ocean Floor
Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave
Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray
Danny Dunn, Time Traveler
Danny Dunn and the Automatic House
Danny Dunn and the Voice from Space
Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine
Danny Dunn and the Swamp Monster
Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy
Danny Dunn, Scientific Detective
Danny Dunn and the Universal Glue

Any other Danny Dunn fans out there?

These books (and more, many more) helped foster my lifelong love of reading.***

What were some of the books you read as a kid?

*Don't remember if I liked the book, or just the title.

**List courtesy of Biblomania

***I'm sure the Danny Dunn books also appealed to the engineer in me, and I created my share of basement inventions, though I never could quite perfect the homework machine. I wonder if it's too late to work on a Novel Writing Machine.



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love this post!

I have never heard of Danny Dunn and find that hard to believe, since the author was clearly so prolific. I read all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, Trixie Beldens, Bobbsey Twins, Boxcar Children, Borrowers, Madelaine L'Engles, Encyclopedia Browns, The Great Brains, the Catfish Bend series, Little House series, Heavens to Betsy series....okay, I was a major nerdy reader.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anagramsci said...

the Dunn books were at the top of my pantheon in grade one--I read them all in the space of a month--was terribly saddened to discover that the series had concluded twenty years before I got to them


Alan Orloff said...

Yeah, they were cool books all right. I tried to get my kids interested, but...I guess there weren't enough wizards or something.

Bruce Williams said...

Ahh - Danny Dunn... Sure, I read The Hardy Boys; what boy bookworm hasn't? But Danny... Danny was MUCH cooler: he was the Proto-Geek! I loved those books. I remember exactly where I was in 'DD & the Anti-Gravity Paint', when I heard the news of the Apollo 1 tragedy.

And did I see Freddie The Pig pictured, too? Loved those, too! Great books and wonderful memories... thanks!