f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Foundational Books - #3

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Foundational Books - #3

Oh, such a long meeting I just exited. Long. Long. Long. Break for cheesecake. Long. Long. Long. But productive.

Only now I don't have tons of time to reminisce about books from my past. So I'll choose a series of books I've recently picked up again to go through with my oldest daughter--George Selden's group of Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse titles, including the Newberry Winner A Cricket in Times Square.

The full extent of my memory of these books can be summed up in one word: liverwurst. I had never seen or heard the word before when I first read the books. And yet there it was. Chester Cricket looking into a picnic basket and seeing his favorite food: liverwurst. Now ignoring the entymological problems of a cricket liking liverwurst, just look at that word. How wonderfully evocative a word is that! Granted, it may not evoke the most pleasant of reactions but it's one that really taught me about the "sound" of reading and writing. How individual words sound. How sentences sound. How characters sound.


The great thing was that when I eventually matched up my youthful impressions of the word with the real substance, they matched almost completely. What else could liverwurst be but what it is?

Reading the books with my daughter was a delight. Tucker Mouse has a nice Brooklyn/Bronx rhythm to his voice and there's some playfulness to the interaction with the characters. The best of the books, however, is one I'd never read before called Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse and tells the story of the characters meeting and becoming friends. It's a love letter to NYC--the greatest city in the world--and has some beautiful descriptions that I treasured even if my daughter didn't get them. She does want to visit someday, though. And when we do we'll go to Times Square and think of crickets and cats and mice.