First edition, signed by the author. 1978. I was eight. It became my favorite book immediately.
I was thrilled, even as a child, that I had an author signing inside the front cover. Books were the coolest thing ever, other than blowing up Cylons which I planned to do when I grew up (after marrying Buck Rogers or Han Solo or Bo Duke). I didn’t understand first editions at that age, but I had the signature and that was still the most amazing thing ever.
The story itself may or may not be where I got my love of dragons. I know I was already into Vampires and Werewolves at that age. It is possible I was a fan of dragons, but I really think it was this book that did it for me. Maybe that’s why I see them as powerful but reasonably decent creatures.
The Muffin Muncher really gets at the heart of a dragon who terrorizes villages for their food. But before that he sets up camp and brushes his teeth and puts on his pajamas and displays his photograph of his beloved (pony? It’s been 17 years since I read it – but I think it’s his pony.) How amazing! The “bad guy” has a soft spot. Maybe this shaped my love of anime. So many of the characters have these quirky soft spots.
I hated that I had to leave it behind when I fled my marriage. (I won’t get into it because this is an entry of things so precious.) Of all the things I lost this book was one of the most precious to me. I had had the book for 16 years and it was really dear to me. It was not only a cute story of dragon redemption, it was a story with so much depth.
It should arrive in the mail to me next week. I am so excited to read it once more. It isn’t my original copy, but at this point I am just glad to have any copy. I’m a writer, but not of children’s books. I admire people who can write stories in such a small amount of pages and with such simplistic language. It is so much harder than it seems to be. If you don’t admire those people, you should.
As a side note (with a touch of humor) I never realized how the title sounded until I was well into adulthood. I was in my middle to late twenties (days when the interwebz were so new that most didn’t know it existed) and had gone to the book store. I asked for assistance in finding the book called The Muffin Mucher. The worker took me to the erotica section. It was only then that I ever clicked with the alternate implication of the title. I carried it like a bible as a kid. I had such an innocence about it.
Do you have a book that you hold so dear from childhood? Am I alone in this attachment?