This afternoon my son, Jack, was looking at a book I had when I grew up. Cap'n Smudge. The book sent me back in time and I fondly recalled how much I enjoyed those books. The Serendipity Books were some of my very favorites, before I dove into comics and games. These books may have paved the way to those things, igniting the imagination.
Apparently, Cap'n was the only one to survive our childhood to make it to my child's hands. Fortunately, the books are still around and there are many many more since I was reading them.
In 1974 the Serendipity books series came to be, written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James. These children story books were about animals, mythical creatures, and some original creations telling tales and teaching moral issues for the young in a creative and colorful way. In one book the mythology created was big enough that many kids from our era believed there really was a Wheedle on top of Seattle's Space Needle with a glowing red nose! Today there are 70 books in the series all written for kids between k-3 grade.
Another thing I appreciate about the books- though I had no notion of it then, is that there is a level of continuity in the series of books. Each book stars it's own character, but other characters who've already had their own book make appearances (i.e. there is Serendipity, herself, on the cover of Cap'n Smudge's own book!). That kind of thing really appeals to my geek-flag-ness.
I know we had the first four books- Serendipity, Wheedle on the Needle, and The Muffin Dragon. I vaguely remember moral messages and lessons embedded in the stories, but what I liked the most was the art. I loved the art.
So here is another piece of the puzzle about why I am a geek. And these books go on the wish list for our kids.
While gathering resources for this post I came across a relatively recent news story that featured Cosgrove and the Serendipity books...