Flashback Fridays: Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly, lolly . . .

You’re a boy in the city who wakes up one morning to find a strange and magical lollipop standing on his head.  When you lick that lollipop fantastic things begin to happen . . .

Do you remember:

The Magic Lollipop by Ellen Koshland (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1971)

When kids get to go to the library and pick out there own books, they often pick up the darndest things.  On one of my trips to the library as a very young child, I came across this picture book on the shelf.  Sure as anything it was the lollipop that drew me to it.  I think my mother must have read it to me several dozen times that year.  I’m sure she grew quite tired of it.  And then . . . the book got weeded from the collection–probably for condition.  I never saw it again.  But  as you can see, I haven’t forgotten it.

It’s amazing how such a book can live in your mind.  Ellen Koshland’s story of an inner-city child Reggie and his encounter with a magical lollipop was told through text and photography.  I can’t honestly tell you now whether it was black and white or color photography, but I suspect the former, given the cover.  Reggie wakes up with this absurd lollipop standing on his head–and from there things just get more wild and wonderful in his community.  Reggie imagines, or makes wishes while licking the lollipop and all sorts of things happen.  It’s the kind of magic any kid can get behind.  But lollipops aren’t forever . . . and in the end Reggie is left with just the stick.  I think there’s a photo of him staring sadly at the stick in the book, disappointed that the magic is gone.  But it’s not quite.  The stick turns itself into a banjo that Reggie can play and tell all sorts of fantastic stories to his friends and family.  So some of the magic is here to stay.

It likely was not a particularly notable book to the adults around me.  I couldn’t tell you if the text was quality.  But child I was LOVED this book.  The memories I hold of it are all tinged with that.  I’d love to see if I could find a copy to look at someday, but right now the least expensive used copy is around a hundred and fifty dollars.

It doesn’t look like Ellen Koshland went on to write any other books . . . there’s an Ellen Koshland listed online that moved to Australia in 1973 and has become a mover and shaker  in the field of education.  While I don’t know that it is the same person, I have some hope it might be.

So there you have it, my rather brief flashback post for this week!

What were your picture book treasures as a youngster?

Comments welcome!


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on July 12, 2014, in Flashback Fridays, General Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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