Sometimes, you got lucky and picked a thin book with lots of illustrations, and sometimes, very unlucky, and got a thick book written in proper grown-up English and very few pictures.
It was my bad luck to get The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain. I love this book, now, thanks to my enterprising 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Bosh, but at the time, I felt like Charlie Brown doomed to read War and Peace on his Christmas break.
Mrs. Bosh read most of the books to us from that table, which included The Hobbit, Pippi Longstocking and The Borrowers. By far, The Hobbit and The Borrowers were my favorite books to listen to.
Pippi had her own peculiar voice in my head, and hearing my teacher override the sound of my Pippi's voice with her deep and masculine Pippi's voice was not a pleasant experience.
The Borrowers is a great story. Every kid has probably been assigned that book, and now Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation company, has made its own version of the movie, called Arrietty.
I thank my children for exposing me to the delightful world of Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away was one of the best movies I've ever seen, and Arrietty looks to be as whimsical and wonderful a film, too.