“Dinky Poore didn’t really mean to start the story about the huge sea monster in Strawberry Lake. He was only telling a fib because he had to have an excuse for getting home late for supper. So he told his folks he’d been running around the lake trying to get a close look at a huge, snakelike thing he’d seen in the water, and the first thing he knew he was too far from home to get back in time. …”
So begins the story …
I cannot tell you how excited I was to find an old, tattered copy of The Mad Scientists’ Club while perusing this out-of-the-way treasure box, Care Center Thrift Store. It was the 95-cent, Scholastic version, just like I remembered.
I don’t know exactly when I first read “The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake.” It could’ve been fifth grade, or sixth grade … heck, it could’ve been fourth for all I know (let’s face it, it’s a fuzzy memory). But for a boy who grew up wondering about the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, the appeal was obvious. Whatever the age, though, this story has always been buried in my brain, surfacing every now and then to drive me crazy trying to find it.
Most bookstores don’t carry it. You have to special order it or buy it online. But doing that kind of kills the thrill of actually going someplace and finding something wonderfully unexpected.
And, finally, it happened. And it only cost a quarter.
I know the youth market is big in books right now. Maybe it’s always been that way and this is why: you never forget your beloved books. And you keep returning to them like old friends.
I’m just waiting to share this with my kids. I hope the tattered pages last long enough.
(By the way, on this same trip, I found two Encyclopedia Brown books … but that’s a post for another time …)
What books did you read as a kid that you hope to pass on?