Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Favorite Books: Just In Time for the King's Birthday

Today I'm writing about a book that's close to my heart. I don't know much about what it's about. Until today I couldn't remember the author, the illustrator, or even the title. However,Just In Time for the King's Birthday is a book that I will always think of with fondness--even if I don't remember much of it.

You see, this is the first book that I ever read all on my own. I "read" many books before this, if you count looking at pictures and picking out some of the words, or if you count the ones that had been read to me. But, Just In Time for the King's Birthday, written by E.B. Chance and illustrated by Arline Meyer, was the first book that I read through all by myself without any help.

Why this is one of my favorite books.

As I said before, it's the first book I ever read on my own. This made such an impression on my that I remember it clearly over 40 years later. I also have a vivid memory of proudly marching out of my room to read (pretty dramatically I might add) the entire book aloud to my parents. I thought that this was quite a treat for them--the equivalent to appearing on America's Got Talent or something like that today.

It was a Scholastic book that I ordered at school--I loved ordering those books, just as my kids do today! There was no better feeling than coming in to school and seeing the big brown box on the teacher's desk. Right then all the kids knew she'd be handing out books. This particular book also came with a little record or the book. I thought that was cool.

What I didn't know when I first read it.

I had no idea about the world that I was about to enter. I had just cracked open the door to a land of a world of infinite imagination, knowledge and adventure. 

Here are some things that I either knew then and had forgotten, or that I never knew. The book is 31 pages long. On the flip side of the record is a little song called Over In the Meadow by Joe Raposo. He wrote songs for Sesame Street for years. Many of his songs you knew growing up, including Bein' Green and C is for Cookie. I also did not remember much about the book, as I said. 

I was able to find an audio copy of the book on the web, courtesy of Recordo Obscura. I took it and turned it into a video on Windows Movie Maker. As I listened to this for the first time in 40 years, it immediately brought me back to that moment. I am amazed how much of it was familiar, like it had been lurking around in my head just waiting to be drawn forth. Hmm, there's a book idea in there somewhere. The narrator is Robert Dryden. Anyway, here it is:


  1. I love this post! I still remember the first book that I read on my own that I was so proud of: Make Way for Ducklings. Getting my Scholastic books was so fun and even better when they came with a record! Thanks for including the audio. So fun to listen to today!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie. I love Make Way for Ducklings. Scholastic books were cool. There was nothing like the feeling of getting them! Glad you liked the audio. I can't believe I was able to find it--you really can find anything on the web!

  2. Thank you for finding the audio for the book. I used it for many years in my kindergarten classroom and it was a favorite! Although I haven't listened to it for many years I still could recite it almost word for word. I loved the song on the flip side of the record, too.