Early Love of Books
“Young man,” laughed the farmer, “You’re sort of a fool! You’ll never catch fish in McElligot’s Pool!” It’s the first line of the Dr. Seuss classic, McElligot’s Pool (Random House, 1947) and a book you don’t instantly think about for Dr. Seuss or his full name, Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel. The book marked a return to his career in children’s books following a stint in the army during the Second World War. The book won an honorable mention in the 1946 Caldecott Award winners (given for illustration).
For me, the book sparked an early love of books. My mom talks about reading the book until she almost couldn’t stand to pick it up again. It was my favorite book as a child for several reasons. First, I loved the length of it—and if I was trying to delay going to sleep for a nap, then it gave me the longest possible reading experience.
The story of McElligot’s Pool stirred my child’s imagination. It’s all fine to fish in a spot but what if the spot could take you to unexpected places—it happens in the context of the rhyme and story from a Dr. Seuss children’s book.
Now years later, I fish in a different fashion—within publishing. I’m fishing for the next opportunity—with a book project or a magazine article or some other writing project. Fishing can represent a metaphor for opportunity and lots of it is out there—we only have to find it. As this story concludes:
“Oh, the sea is so full of a number of fish,
If a fellow is patient, he might get his wish!
And that’s why I think
That I’m not such a fool
When I sit here and fish
In McElligot’s Pool!”