Sunday March 10, 2013
Dreaming a little dream
TOTS TO TEENS
By DAPHNE LEE
MY favourite bookstore in Kuala Lumpur is celebrating the work of Maurice Sendak this month, with 20% off selected titles written and/or illustrated by the late artist and author. Selected titles only – not every book he ever wrote and/or illustrated, which comes to nearly 200 in all.
I wonder if there is any bookstore in the world that has every book by Sendak. Imagine what that would look like! Perhaps, somewhere in this universe (or the next), a fan who’s also an eccentric billionaire is planning a Sendak-only bookshop.
Perhaps it’s being built this very minute, on the sunny side of a street, outside, over there. Perhaps there will be shop assistants dressed as the Wild Things; and a manager called Rosie, or Hector Protector, or Bumble Hardy.
It would be the place to go to if one needed to get “very far away” from it all. You would need a boat to get there, and you’d have to travel through “night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year”, but it would just take a few seconds.
There would be a cat and a little bird singing in the store window, and a Sealyham in a basket behind the cashier’s desk.
Some afternoons, a horse would poke its head through the back window and harrumph gently for a few minutes and he would make you dream of blue grass and wind-fallen apples.
Babies would be welcome, and so would alligators and griffins, and bears little and large, but not goblins. Goblins would be sent marching. And lions would have to first show proof of having already eaten.
Hungry lions who ask nicely would be encouraged to visit the bookshop café where chicken soup with rice would be the speciality. Also on the menu would be birthday soup, and jelly beans; oatmeal, macaroni, and pancakes with syrup. And free cheese and Russian dressing sandwiches. And milk. And cake. In the morning.
Everyone would be very polite, of course.
(I wonder if there’s anyone reading this who knows what I’m talking about? If you do, write to me at email@example.com.)
One day there might really be a Sendak bookstore (it should be called Outside Over There and The Troggs’ Wild Thing should be played at closing time). Or there might be a Sendak museum, like the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in America. Even a very little one would be good. Until then, I can dream.
Daphne Lee reads to wonder and wander, be amazed and amused, horrified and heartened and inspired and comforted. She wishes more people will try it too. Speak to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her blog at daphne.blogs.com/books.