Friday, September 28, 2007

My Father's Dragon Lady

Today I had a customer come in and politely ask for directions to the children's section. She came back a few moments later and had the good taste to have a copy of L.M. Boston's "The Children of Green Knowe" in her hand. We chatted as I rang up her purchase and she commented about how used bookstores are such nice repositories of older titles and mentioned that she was an author herself. Ever-curious and ever-bold from my downstate New York upbringing, I asked what she had written. She demurred and said that she had written a book published way back in 1948 and that I probably had never heard of it. I pressed on with my queries and she very modestly said that she had written a children's book called "My Father's Dragon".

My mouth flapped open. Not heard of "My Father's Dragon"! Unthinkable! This book is a wonderful children's fantasy, and a winner of Newbery Honors. I not only read and loved this book as a kid, but I read it aloud to my kids when they were younger and have pressed many copies into the hands of parents and grandparents asking for recommended reading for their small fry. I restrained myself from running around the counter and squeezing the no-need-to-be modest Ruth Stiles Gannett in a bear hug, but couldn't resist asking if I could take a picture of her holding a copy of her much beloved book. She was gracious enough to inscribe this new family heirloom to my two girls, "daughters of the enthusiastic seller of books of yore".

I mentioned this author encounter to my next several customers and both were knocked out. They too, had not only heard of this book but had read, re-read and gifted this book to others. I found out that there are two sequels to this title, "Elmer and the Dragon" and "The Dragons of Blueland", which I will now have to purchase. A euphoric day at the old bookshop indeed.


sarahsbooks said...

My god, that's great - those books are wonderful. When I worked in a new-book store (more than ten years ago now) you could still get all three books in a nice boxed set. Don't know if they're all still in print or not. As kids my sisters and I read and re-read our old copies until they fell to bits. What a great visitor, you lucky lucky bookseller!

Anonymous said...

These books are still in print ... The trilogy is one of the choices in Scholastic's November 2007 "Lucky Book Club".