I began rereading The Lobster Books yesterday, and tonight have gotten to page 92. I try to read 100 pages a day, but oh well… The Lobster Book may be a little too sweet to be the book it was compared to–The Wind and the Willows. I have not read it since childhood, but I decided I had to visit my old friend–all of my books except a few bad ones are my friends, but particularly those by Dickens or that I loved as a child–even though there are probably things I should be doing instead.
When I was a child, I remember my first Riverfest. The River Festival is a celebration of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers that go through Wichita and is held in the spring. Though it is no longer contains the Friends of the Library Booksale–which is still held, but at a different time of the year–on my first year in Wichita it did. Mom and Jim (my stepdad) were newly married and Riverfest turned out to be great fun. My parents told me I could buy one book at the book sale, and if my memory is correct there were thousands of books in Century 2 (where Music Theater and the Symphony were held). Anyway, among those books I found The Lobster Books.
Though most people have never heard of it, The Lobster Books became one of my favorite books as a child (the other being A Little Princess). I read it and met the “wise” Mr. Lobster and his good friends Mr. Badger and Mr. Bear. And now I am meeting them again… so far their friendship has formed and in the next chapter they shall have the picnic that has the astounding result of proving that each one prefers his own food. Yet what I loved about this book still holds true: I still love the “wise” lobster, the rascally Mr. Badger, and the grumpy Mr. Bear. My fondness for the trio has remained firm though I have not seen them since childhood–though in High School I loaned the book to my sister to read to her three kids… whom I believe I sent copies of The Curious Lobster, the same book sold under a different title on Amazon.com.
I plan to order a few copies for the children of friends at my synagogue–one per family and one for a friend who has no children. I guess it is a substitute for having a husband or child of my own… I will pretend that I am going to personally read–after fixing buttered popcorn–The Curious Lobster to the children. In the meantime… perhaps I will write an email to the person who reissued The Curious Lobster and thank them, informing them that it was a childhood favorite and telling them that I am so glad that I can share it with other people… I may even mention my fantasy of retelling that beautiful story so that children who have never heard of it can enjoy a polished version. Actually, I won’t do that last: it would hurt the editor’s feelings. Besides, I don’t know if I would know how to write the “improved” version.