Remembering Buffy and Mack

Sun up (HBJ bookmark reading program, Eagle edition)

These two animals are the only reason you can read (the duck was no help at all)

The other day I was just going about my business when suddenly a random bit of information from my past was remembered. This happens often, as I am a treasure trove of useless trivia (what Elton John’s real name is, what celebrity Joe Montana noticed in the stands before winning Super Bowl XXIII, what number I’m thinking of right now, etc).  I suddenly remembered Buffy and Mack, two characters in a series of books that I read in kindergarten or 1st grade.  Now why exactly did I remember them? Could it be that I was spending time with my pet panda and rabbit? Could be, if I do in fact have those animals as pets (I’d rather not say).  The point is that they popped in my head, almost 20 years after I read about them.

For those of you not familiar with the adventures of Buffy and Mack, they were the stars in a series of books designed to help children improve their reading.  A typical story went something like this:

The sun was shining.  Buffy woke up. Mack woke up. Buffy and Mack woke up. Buffy was hungry. Mack was hungry. Buffy and Mack were hungry.  Buffy ate some cereal. Mack ate some cereal. Buffy and Mack ate some cereal.

As you can see, it was fascinating stuff.  Up there with the works of Hemingway.  Thankfully we’re talking a pretty lean book, instead of a 1,000 page volume of repetitive sentences.  But it was just right for a 5 or 6 year old kid. Looking back, it seems like that was some kind of starting point, and the infamous one line chapter in William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying (“My mother is a fish”) that I read my junior year in high school was an end point.  Glad I didn’t know that was the finish line, or I may have just stuck with Buffy and Mack, which would have been a little odd at 17 years old.

I vaguely remember some other character named Mr. Fig who was in the same style of book, but for some reason I don’t recall his stories as much.  If you look here you’ll notice that he looks a little crazy-either he is actually surrounded by an owl and mouse wearing a hat and a rabbit playing a banjo, or Mr. Fig has been partaking of some illegal substances and needs some help (perhaps they’ll still let him wear his top hat and orange vest in the institution).

Later on in 7th grade I remember having to write a story in a typing class. Having already been instilled with sarcasm and satire by my father and Saturday Night Live, I decided to do a parody of Buffy and Mack.  How this story did not result in me being called in the counselor’s office I do not know, for I did a Buffy and Mack story that also involved Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but I do remember Jason dying by being stabbed in the heart with a straw and having a Hi-C juicebox squeezed into it.  Needless to say, I don’t remember putting that story on my fridge when I got it back. And just what exactly did my teacher think while reading that? Come to think of it, she never looked me in the eye after that and I always got an A++ on every assignment after that. But I digress…

Thank you, simple sentence-loving Buffy and Mack (and crazy drug gobbling Mr. Fig) for helping me learn to read.  I enjoyed your books. My classmates enjoyed your books. My classmates and I enjoyed your books!


12 Responses to “Remembering Buffy and Mack”

  1. I remember Mr. Fig’s Magic Hat! Lol

    • Josephine Sanchez Says:

      Great memories! That was 1984-85 and I was in the 1st grade. Even remember my teachers name and the class room like it was yesterday.
      Funny thing is now I have a terrible memory!

  2. I ‘m a commercial printer. The other day at work while i was running a job the smell of the paper and ink i was running reminded me of the Buffy & Mack books from 1st grade. That was 32 years ago. It’s surprising what triggers a memory from ones past. Good times!

  3. pootermommy Says:

    Does anyone know where I can purchase this series? It appears to be discontinued everywhere.

  4. Tommeka Merritt Says:

    I absolutely ADORE Buffy and Mack!! The reasons I’m the reader/writer I am today! 😉

  5. I remember these books as well. I said something about them awhile back I thought of them for some odd reason. The kids thought I was crazy.

  6. Tonya Williamson Says:

    I want a set of these books Buffy and Mack books,, please notify me if found anywhere..

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