July 07, 2003

Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey

I am feeling sort of sad today after hearing the recent news the Robert McCloskey died over the weekend. I read and reread Homer Price as a child so many times I practically wore out the library copy. And then they got a copy of Centerburg Tales and I read and reread that one.

When my son was born one of the first books I bought him was Blueberries for Sal. He was probably a year old. We would ponder the pictures and shiver with anticipation when the Sal wanders off with the mother bear. We would scream "Kerplink, Kerplank, Kerplunk" when Sal dropped her three berries into the tin bucket and pretend we were eating her berries when we had blueberry yogurt for lunch.

When he got a little older one of his favorite pretend games was called "Buck's Harbor." We would build a small store out of blocks and legos, use his plastic boat on a towel as the ocean to drive over to get supplies and then have a pretend ice cream cone with Sal and Jane.

Of course, every spring when the ducks flew over we'd yell at the sky "Make way for Ducklings!!"

My son remembers very little of this, of course. He was so young when I spent my days with him and his little sister. The big yellow bus came and took him away one day and somehow all that time disappeared. But I remember the little boy who would snuggle next to me and listen intently and peer at the pictures when I read him Robert McCloskey books. I miss him, too. Both of them are gone now. I still have the books, tho.

Posted by Deb English at July 7, 2003 07:04 PM

Ian said:

I didn't even know McCloskey was still around. Homer Price is a great book, and from such a radically different world that I always assumed, from when I first read it in third grade or so, that the author was long gone.

What a shame. His work was excellent.

Deb said:

He was 88 and died at his home at Deer Isle Maine in the house he wrote about in his books about Sal. I, too, thought he'd died long ago.

Matt said:

I couldn't remember the name of the book, the boy, or the author but eversomuchmoreso allowed me to find Homer Price and Robert McCloskey on the internet with very little trouble. I tried first with the lyrics of the donut song but that got me nowhere. I still remember those words even though it's probably been 35 years since I read them the last time "...When you take a big bite hold the whole hole tight. Any whole hole with a hole bitten in it is a wholey whole hole and it just plain isn't".
I read the Homer Price books (over and over) but wasn't even aware of any other books by the same author. I'm very sorry to discover that Robert McCloskey is no longer with us but am so pleased to have rediscovered Homer Price.

Brenda said:

Being from Hamilton, Ohio, Robert McCloskey's home town has been an even greater thrill when enjoying his books. Centerburg Tales was written by him about his home town that he loved so much. I remember reading Lentil to my son when he was just six years old at the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument that is in that book. We looked acrosss the street to see the etchings that Robert McCloskey did in the Town Hall building after returning to Hamilton as an adult. It is a shame that Hamilton does not promote such great talent and the wonderful history that came from that town. If you are ever there stop and notice all the things from McCloskey's books. They are all around you.