What’s in a Name?

Was looking for my beloved childhood book Miss
Bianca
, about which I remember almost nothing except that it concerns a
very pretty mouse who has to clean a crystal palace, and that I loved
it, loved it, loved it.
C02d729fd7a033e1121ec010.L._AA240_
Note the extremely 1970s cover.
Upon searching I was informed that it was no
longer called Miss Bianca but was now part of The Rescuers series.
No doubt, this shouldn't irritate me. Nor should it bother me that Mrs.
Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
is now also called The Secret of NIMH (a
movie change, like most of them). And don't even get me started on how
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass became
Alice in Wonderland.
I'd like to have the energy and sense to write a thoughtful assessment
of how this is really OK because hell, we all make mistakes, and it's
what's inside the book that matters, but for some reason I get all
curmudgeonly about this. It just gives me the sense that we're somehow
loosing the signposts that we need—how am I supposed to know how to
find anything if they keep changing the names on me?
Do I sound enough like an irritable old lady yet?
Oh,
and to cap it all, when I went and reluctantly asked at the bookstore
for, (OK, make me say it), a Rescuer's book, they had NO IDEA WHAT I
WAS TALKING ABOUT. "We've never heard of those books."
Just in case I didn't feel obsolete enough.

9 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Loved the Miss Bianca books…I think in large part for the Garth Williams illustrations. I thought Miss Bianca herself was actually sort of a pill, but I adored Bernard.

    Like

  2. Dropping Mrs. Frisby really ticked me off. But I couldn’t quite explain why. It’s still a totally fabulous book. but, yeah, I’m with you. Just leave the titles alone.

    Like

  3. My husband is 14 years older than I am, so I often find myself in the position of feeling extremely young, even as I feel that I’m getting old far too fast (watching my kids grow up definitely contributes to that!). So I often think about the whole “nostalgia” question, whether something is inherently better or whether I only think so because I remember it that way (or because my husband remembers it that way, whereas I only remember the updated version, like “The Secret of NIMH”). But I know I get frustrated when I see something that I thought was perfectly good one way, and the powers that be thought it would be “more accessible” or something if they renamed it and slapped a movie photo on the cover.

    Like

  4. Oh, my God. I totally remember loving this book and had forgotten, completely, about it!
    Do you remember No Flying in the House — same era, similar thing — a little white china dog come to life?

    Like

  5. I loved the Miss Bianca books when I was little, although I remember being really, /really/ puzzled about why Bernard and Miss Bianca couldn’t get married when they were so obviously fond of one another.
    I now credit those books with my first awareness of class differences. What mixed feelings I have about that now! But the illustrations are adorable.
    I also remember No Flying in the House vividly, mostly because I was so disappointed by the end! I guess I was one of those kids who would have been happy to give up a bit of humanity for the ability to fly. 🙂

    Like

  6. Funny that you should mention No Flying in the House, Elizabeth. I had previously written to Diamondinthewindow offline to tell her what a reaction my 2nd grader had to it. It consumed her like no other book to that point.
    On the other hand, it may have just been a tipping point b/c suddenly she’s just letting herself be consumed. She read Babymouse (thanks for the suggestion, Diamond) in a flash and opened Otis Spofford the second after she read the last line of Socks (both by Beverly Cleary). In fact, she liked Socks so much she wants to write an Amazon review.
    It’s so exciting to see this happening–way cooler than watching for first steps, IMO. And attempts at kissing her elbows are also amusing…

    Like

  7. Funny how this book sparked so many comments about Flying in the House. I was just going to post a comment to find out if anyone remembered the name of that book! Thank you, Elizabeth – you’ve eased that “just on the tip of my tongue(brain)” feeling! Now I can find it and read it with my 6-year-old. I remember loving it as a kid.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.