A little over a year ago, I crowed mightily about the absolute and unassailable wonder that is the book Whales On Stilts! by M. T. Anderson. This is the link you can click if you forgot all about that post, or if you're feeling nostalgic, or if you are simply a compulsive link-clicker, ready, willing and able to click any link that you come across. Click away, you little freak.
In the comments section it was mentioned that two books follow it -- The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen and Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to the library, and guess what they had?
Books. Yes. They had books. Lots of them. Good job, you guessed it. Prize? No. Smartassedness is its own reward.
Amongst those books were multiple copies of The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, and since I'm not in hock to the public liberry, I checked out a copy and read it in a couple sittings. Okay, three sittings, but one of them was laying down so it --
-- I read it. And I pronounce it good.
I guess juvenile fiction has probably long been better than I might have thought, but I didn't know it was this good. Not only is this book -like its predecessor- laugh-out-loud funny, it is also deftly written and moving.
Yes, I said moving. Not, like, the-end-of- Terms-Of-Endearment moving. I mean make-a-grown-man-laugh-and-cry-with-longing-for-what-makes-him-treasure-his-youth moving. As with Whales, Lederhosen is imbued with melancholy and bitter-sweetness as it touches (not always subtly) on the ideas of youth past and lost.
Hey! That illustration is different from the one the cover of the library book! It's much better than the one on the book; on the book, the girls look funny and Jasper isn't holding a...is that gym sock?
Anyway, the book has to go back to the library on the 25th, and it'll probably go back tomorrow. I will simply get my own copy; this one's a keeper.
Oh -- and on September 15th...
...I am on that. I am on it like something that's stuck to something else, you know, really tightly.