Secret Ingredients – 2

I’m starting a new series on here about the books that influenced me growing up.

These are the books that shaped my brain. Gave me my fears, values, and passions.

The Julie Secret Ingredients!


Great Illustrated Classics

I swear I think my mom got these through a grocery store coupon program of some kind. I didn’t have the whole set. Anyone out there remember these?


They were kid-sized, little chunky squares on thick paper with an occasional black-and-white line illustration. The Poe ones are the most memorable to me, but Treasure Island was my favorite. Also, Sherlock Holmes.

That’s interesting because Treasure Island and Sherlock Holmes were the first fully classic novels I read. These books gave me permission to not be intimidated.

They made the classic books less scary. There are still conversations I have based on the knowledge gleaned from these little suckers. Is this how people who watch the movie for the book report feel?

Honestly, my favorite part of these books – besides the tactile shape and weight – were the covers! The art was fabulous for something so impermanent. I’d buy posters and shirts.


Anyone still have a copy of any of these?


Addendum: This blog post does a great job of exploring the details of the Moby Illustrated Classics if anyone else has an aching nostalgia tooth! McDonald’s gave some of them out!



3 thoughts on “Secret Ingredients – 2

  1. i used to have a few of those too, and loved them. i think i lost them during one of the Bad Boyfriend moves, when i also had to abandon some of my best stuffed animals from my childhood.
    i agree, they were are a brilliant intro to the classics.

  2. Sadly, I never came across these. But what a great set!
    I concur with Poe. I used to read those right before bed, lol. Taught me to be afraid of the dark, I think.

    I’m sure kids these days would wonder what was supposed to be scary.

    1. Right? I’ve read some Poe as an adult and felt a bit cheated. It’s so strange how differently our brains parse things as we grow older!

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