Growing up, my family was lucky enough to be able to spend part of each summer at our country house in the Catskills. Although we always brought new books with us, we had a few books that remained at the country house during the year. These were not "back-up" books for when we exhausted what we'd brought. To the contrary - one of the joys of going to the country house was reading and rereading the "country house books" annually. As I got older, they included Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk, the story of a Jewish girl's coming of age in the 1930s and Belles on Their Toes (the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen, which, strangely, I don't think we had at the country house), both by Frank B. Gilbreth and his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. In them, the sibling authors tell the story of their family which consisted of 12 children and their parents, the efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. (I guess if you're going to have a dozen kids, you might as well be an efficiency expert!) These are still some of my favorite books.
The Saggy Baggy Elephant (A Little Golden Book), I thought, oh, a country house book! While this sweet story has a moral (looks don't matter, your family will love you no matter what), the most fun part of reading it is doing Sookie the elephant's happy dance with him: one, two three, kick! one two three, kick!
Of course, I am writing these reviews from memory because the books are not here - they are at the country house. It would be a violation of an unwritten family rule to purchase them - or even read them - during the rest of the year. So here's to next summer, when I will read all of these again (and again, and again, and again.)