Sometimes when I’m library sale-ing with my friend Thingummery, she talks me into buying a book I would have otherwise tossed aside. If I remember correctly, her case for this one was… «Crazy, spooky New Yorker/ Playboy cartoonist? You’re seriously gonna pass this up?»
Now… of Mr. Wilson’s drawings, these aren’t his best, but what they illustrate is a quirky little story about two friends, a trip to grandmas, and a tall tale turned terrifying. When Julie gets invited to her Granny’s house, she decides to bring along a friend, Sarah, to meet her, and describes her Granny as a woman who wears blue jeans and sneakers and lives in the woods and knows lots about animals. She isn’t like other grandmother’s Julie tells her. In turn, Granny tells Sarah all about the terrifying «swamp halibut» and the «bush mackerel» that live in the woods. Once the girls fall asleep that night…
«Get them out of here! Help! Get them out of here!» she screamed.
Just then, a white flash of lightning lit the room and thunder racked so loudly that Julie thought it would split Granny’s house.
«What’s the matter?» Julie asked?
«The swamp halibut and bush mackerel are sitting on my bed! Get them off!»
«No, they’re not,» said Julie, «you’re dreaming. I’ll turn on the lamp.»
But the lamp didn’t work.
The lesson here being, think before you speak. I totally empathize with the grandmother of this book as before my son was old enough for me to know better, I’ve at various points acted like the button-eyed, «other mother» from Coraline, pretended to be a flesh-eating zombie, and told him that werewolves live in the woods by our house…. all of which have come back to bite me in the butt in the form of 2am nightmare wake-ups and the jacked up electricity bill from his closet light staying on all night. Whenever my husband used to scold me, I’d brush him off and tell him to leave me alone. That I was trying to raise Tennessee Williams. Good mommy, right?