Monday, March 23, 2015
Book(s) of the Week: The Devil's Storybook
Back in middle school, our library had a hidden room. Well, not so much hidden as restricted, but I like to imagine there was a bookcase in front of the door, blocking the secrets no 5th-6th grader should ever find themselves privy to. I was a pretty avid reader at the time, and still am, so the librarian let me sneak into the room one day and pick out any book I wanted to read.
There were so many to pick, so many delightful books with thick and embossed binding. Most of them were just kept in that room because the reading level was too high, or the copies were too valuable to let kids touch. I was one of the lucky few, the chosen ones, and I knew I had to pick the perfect book. I was told this would be my only chance...so I took a good half hour to find something I would never regret reading...
Tucked on one of the bottom shelves, with an orange-ish red binding, and looking practically new...I found it. A part of me thought this book wasn't supposed to be there, that some evil (and magical) force had conjured it into being. After all, a middle school library with a book about the DEVIL? It was unbelievable! So I pulled it out and flipped it open, examining some of the amusing illustrations of a trickster devil often finding himself the fool of his own pranks. With some trepidation, I took the book to the front desk and asked to check it out.
She didn't even look at the title. That same voice telling me this was not supposed to be here told me she must be seeing something altogether different than one I was. Perhaps to her a picture of a bunny rabbit snuggling a teddy bear was on the cover, or maybe a battalion of unicorns. No matter. I checked the book out, and I read it that very night. I read it once. Then the next day I read it again. And the following week or so I kept re-reading it until I had to check the book back in.
I was right, you know. Not about the book being magic...it really wasn't. In fact, many of the stories were charming little fairy tales with a somewhat less than intimidating version of Lucifer often being made to look like an idiot. But she never did let me back into that room...part of me suspects it's because she actually read the cover when I checked the book back in.
I'm sorry this was such a long story just for a 'book of the week' article, but I didn't know how else to tell you how wonderful this little book is, and how much it deserves to be discovered again and again by anyone who's willing to take a chance...