I'm not sure why, but this childhood favorite of mine just popped into my head today. My librarian mother first read this book to me, and I reread it many times, along with Paddle to the Sea, another great children's book by Holling C. Holling.
Somehow Minn of the Mississippi had managed to slip into a memory hole, despite it being one of my all-time favorites as a child. The Mississippi has always fascinated me, as have snapping turtles, and this book must be a big part of the reason why. It tells the story of a snapping turtle that hatches in the headwaters and then journeys down this greatest of rivers. Thinking of Minn of the Mississippi today gave me occasion to look it up on the Web and, like most things, there it is on the Internet with all its drawings and maps and sketches. I even revisited Minn's picture of the New Madrid earthquake, the same picture that so intrigued me as a child. Since then I've spent most of my life in states bordering the Mississippi. I've crossed it hundreds of times. I even visited its source when I was a wee lad and still have strange, vague memories of what might be its headwaters in Lake Itasca. Rediscovering my remembrances of Minn of the Mississippi today is a welcome gift.
Perhaps I thought of the book today in response to my daughter telling me a story yesterday of how she helped a snapping turtle off the train tracks next to our house. The title suddenly popped into my head this evening as I was following the discussion thread after Steve's review of Of Mice and Men about kids and reading. My mother read it to me, but of the thousands of books I read to my own children, I never thought of this book, never looked for it in our public library, never saw it on the shelf in a bookstore. And now they're far too old. Ah well, and even so, I think the next time I'm at the library I will look to see if they have a copy on the shelf.