In honor of this being the hundredth post on this blog, I will tell you what I found in a closet today.
It was a closet at my Mom's house. There were towels and cherubs and photographs. Also, there were books. Some of them golden books like Hop-Along Cassidy and the Something Or Other, and several having to do with animals getting into adventures that involved underlined nouns.
As it happened, there was this book, Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint, as well. It was written by Jay Williams & Raymond Abrashkin and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats (who, according to the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, was the first illustrator to give "the black child a central place in children's literature." A quote, readers, I must say I find ennobling, slightly offensive, and somewhat dubious. Though, after a slight bit of Googling, it seems Keats really was responsible for the "the first major full-color picture book to portray a black child." And also that he was legendary. UNICEF invited him to illustrate their greeting cards.)
I've begun reading it.
Highlights so far include:
The copyrights page, which included this sentence: "It [being the story of Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint] may not be used for dramatic, motion-, or talking-picture purposes without written authorization from the holder of these rights." (Emphasis added by me to draw attention to funny old ways people talked in comparison to the very normal way we have of now talking with words like "podcast" or "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien", which will never go out of style.)
And also this description of Danny's friend Joe: "Joe was thin and dark, with a face that was always mournful, no matter how happy he was."
You may wonder why that last bit was a highlight. It's because that melancholic descriptions in children's books are usually a sign that they will be sad and true.
Then again, neither sadness nor truth matter much when you have chapter titles like, "We Have Conquered Gravity!"
Of note, underneath Danny, was a copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Also, of note, whereas every other book in the closet, including Danny, had a name and/or doodles written inside the cover, there was no claim to ownership to Ayn Rand's opus.
When I pointed this out to my Mom, she said, "Maybe it's because that guy committed suicide after he read it and nobody wanted to bother with it after that."
"What guy?" I said.
"A guy that went to my high school," she said. "I didn't know him very well."
"Oh," I said.
And there wasn't much to say after that, then or now. Except maybe that closets always have a monster or two, to go along with their anti-gravity paint. That's just how they seem to be made.
Happy 100th, readers.