KIDS’ BOOKS….For some reason the subject of kids’ book series popped into my head the other day. Which ones did you read?

In our family, we started reading with the Oz books. We owned a complete set. My mother read them aloud to us at first, but let us kids (in turn) choose which title to read. (Mom preferred the earlier volumes, which were truer to the spirit of the first book, but soldiered on manfully even when we kids got hooked on the later installments, which got increasingly outre and science fictiony. Not exactly Jack Pumpkinhead in space, or anything, but you get the idea.) Later, when we learned to read ourselves, we were allowed to read the books on our own, but only in the presence of a parent. The books were too fragile to be allowed out of sight of an adult.

Next up was the Happy Hollisters. Our local library had a complete set, and when I was a kid (in the mid-60s) I always wondered if they had been written by the basketball player. (Answer: No, and even as a child I sort of figured that a famous Laker was unlikely to be writing children’s books in the offseason. Sharp thinking, no?)

Next up was Tom Swift. Or, more accurately, Tom Swift Jr. The titles of the books alone are worth the price of admission. Later I discovered that we owned a few of the original Tom Swift books from my father’s childhood, but they proved disappointing. A floating airport? Please. If there were no atomic ray guns, I wasn’t interested.

And then there was Brains Benton, the red-headed scientific sleuth of Crestwood. Sadly, there were only six books in this series, but I got them all. I’m not sure where they are now, but I think they finished their career in my mother’s fourth grade classroom. An honorable and worthy retirement home.