Printed Books: Treasure Hunting by Ame Dyckman
~:: Ame Dyckman ::~
One of the best perks of this thing called “adulthood”—besides the authority to declare “Ice Cream Sundaes for Dinner!”—is that I finally have the tools and a bit of pocket money to go treasure hunting.
I don’t mean treasure hunting for doubloons. (A word I thought meant underwear worn by pirates—until that embarrassing costume party.)
No, I mean treasure hunting for books.
And here’s my latest booty! (A word I thought meant… never mind.)
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961).
Of course we already had a version of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. No home’s Roald Dahl Shelf would be complete without it.
So why did I spend weeks poking through used bookstores and rummage sale boxes to find this edition of the book, which set my modest book-buying budget back a doubloon or two?
This is the edition of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH I had when I was a kid.
And I wanted to share it with my kid.
Because oh, I loved this book. Not just the text. Not just the images.
I loved the whole entire (I don’t care if that’s redundant) book.
So when I finally found it, I knew without looking it had an ever-so-slightly debossed image of James under the dust jacket. (The one I was convinced, as a child, Ms. Burkert had put there for me to find.)
I knew just where to flip for my favorite quote:
“There’s more power and magic in those things in there than in all of the rest of the world put together,” the old man said softly.
And as I reached out and slowly turned the page, I got that same old shiver and smile as the picture—my favorite picture, of the old man handing James the magic that would change his life forever—peeked through the paper.
When The Kid got home from school that day, I immediately showed her my treasure.
I held my breath waiting to see if she would love it, too.
She did. Instantly.
(But I didn’t show her the secret stamp on the cover. I let her find that for herself.)
Then we compared it to the version she knew, her lovely dog-eared 1995 Puffin Books edition illustrated by the great Sir Quentin Blake.
I assured her I loved that version, too. Which I do.
If you thought I was going to say, “And then we compared both of our books to the digital version…” well, I can’t.
We don’t own it. Or an e-reader.
I have nothing whatsoever against e-books. I’m happy for anything that gets people (especially reluctant little people) to read.
And I imagine it would be much easier to set off on vacation with a couple of e-readers instead of the extra suitcase of books we lug around.
But to me (and The Kid), e-books just don’t feel as real.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to prepare a really quick dinner for my family so we can go through the awesome book haul I got at the library today.
And this hot fudge sauce isn’t going to heat itself.
Eat up, me hearties, yo ho!
ABOUT AME: Ame Dyckman LOVES books, especially picture books. Occasionally, she’ll put them down long enough to write a few of her own:
- BOY + BOT, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf, 2012)
- TEA PARTY RULES, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Viking; Fall, 2013)
- WOLFIE & DOT (working title), illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Little, Brown; 2014)
Ame lives in New Jersey with her family, menagerie (including a demanding-but-adorable squirrel) and book collection. You can follow Ame on Twitter (@AmeDyckman), where she posts picture book reviews and a good amount of whatever pops into her head.
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