In the last few months I have picked up a few more Thrift store treats and treasures – personal books, that is – besides those I always find for the Seminary library and for the professors and students to purchase at a bargain. Today I will feature two of them.
The first is the story of a famous cat who lived in the library of Spencer, Iowa for 19 years. His name: Dewey Readmore Books. No, I am NOT kidding! Isn’t that a great name? And the story is even better, as told by the library director, Vicki Myron, who found him in the return bin of the Spencer Public Library one bitter cold Iowa winter morning. This is a story that will warm your hearts – for many reasons. It is a great Midwestern tale, true as the Iowa corn is tall. The copy I found is even signed by the author and Dewey. That’s what the signature says O, the title of the book is Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (Grand Central, 2008). Here is the last part of Vicki’s introduction (“Welcome to Iowa”), which sets the stage for the rest of the story:
Around the corner from Sister’s Cafe, across a small parking lot and just a half a block off Grand Avenue, is a low gray concrete building: the Spencer Public Library. My name is Vicki Myron, and I’ve been working in that library for twenty-five years, the last twenty as director. I’ve overseen the arrival of the first computer and the addition of the reading room. I’ve watched children grow up and leave, only to walk back through the doors ten years later with their own children. The Spencer Public Library may not look like much, at least not at first, but it is the centerpiece, the middle ground, the heart of this heartland story. Everything I’m going to tell you abouut Spencer – and about the surrounding farms, the nearby lakes, the Catholic church in Hartley, the Moneta School, the box factory, and the wonderful old white Ferris wheel up at Arnold’s Park – all flows back eventually to this small gray building and to the cat who lived here for more than nineteen years.
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library into a meeting place and tourist attraction, inspire a classic American town, bind together an entire region, and eventually become famous around the world? You can’t even begin to answer those questions until you hear the story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa (pp.4-5).
By the way, Dewey Readmore Books even has his own website. Check it out
The second book is a classic alphabet book – on the Chicago Cubs! Yes, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I went shopping at Gary Vander Schaaf’s downtown Grand Rapids store (Credo Books) for some theological books a few weeks ago. As I looked straight on at some Greek and Hebrew language books, there on an endcap staring at me, beckoning me, was For the Love of the Cubs: An A-Z Primer for Cubs Fans of All Ages (Frederick C.Klein; Illistrated by Mark Anderson, with forewords by Ernie Banks and Chip Caray; Triumph Books, 2003). What a fun book! The illustrations (cartoon-like) are hilarious, and the stories of famous Cubs are great!
But of course, I have begun to read it to my grandchildren! They need to learn the alphabet – and about the most lovable baseball team in America – the Cubs! Here’s “Mr. Cubs”, Ernie Banks’, foreword:
Every sports team has a history, but few can boast one as illustrious as that of my team, the Chicaho Cubs. Organized way back in the 1870s, they’ve represneted the same city in the major leagues longer than any other club. And while they haven’t won a pennant for a while, they won plenty of them in the old days – and they’ve had great players all along. The spirit and fan loyalty of the Cubs makes them the favorites of many people, a lot of whom don’t live in Chicago. I hope that reading this book will help both kids and adults understand what makes the team special.
Indeed! Maybe you can find this treasure too. Have a great Friday! And happy reading, whatever you find!