My son had plowed past the Hardy Boys and devoured my entire collection of PG Wodehouse. Trips to the local library were proving frustrating and fruitless. One day he came home with a copy of Cordelia Underwood, or, The marvelous beginnings of the Moosepath League. Its author, Van Reid, is a regional Maine author with a gentle heart and a deft (or daft) hand for comedy.
If you’ve raised boy children, you know that finding books they want to read can be very difficult. Much juvenile fiction is geared toward girls, while boy’s literature seems intended to encourage sports-crazy boys to give reading a chance. But what about literate boys who aren’t particularly focused on sports?
Van Reid’s Moosepath League series is intended for adult readers, but was perfect for my literate young teen. The books revolve around the exploits of Mister Tobias Walton of turn-of-the-century Portland, ME. He is assisted by young Sundry Moss, along with Messrs. Matthew Ephram, Christopher Eagleton and Joseph Thump. This ensemble is every bit as funny as Jeeves and Wooster, and my teenage son was hooked. He devoured all of the books we could find in our local library.
So I sent Mr. Reid a check and he promptly responded with a box containing his complete oeuvre. They were my son’s birthday present. On one of my trips, we met Van Reid at Fernald’s Country Store in Damariscotta for coffee. The lad was tongue-tied in the face of such genius.
As you know, we’re selling the house in which we raised our four kids. Our youngest is now in college. Over Thanksgiving break he packed up his books. He’s sending his Van Reid collection with us because he doesn’t want anything happening to them.
Books aren’t pushed on Cyber Monday, but they have staying power. And for those of you interested in supporting local business, the Moosepath brain trust is just down the road in Edgecomb.