Monday, February 07, 2011

Remembering Brian Jacques

I was shocked to learn this morning of the death of Brian Jacques, whose Redwall books I read repeatedly during my grade-school years. While I haven't kept up with the series recently, my copies of the first ten or so books bear the evidence of my frequent expeditions into the wonderful, rich universe Jacques created for his readers.

I don't know exactly how old I was when I first came to know Jacques' work, but I remember starting to read Redwall with my mom (having borrowed it from the library on the recommendation of Karen Given, our librarian extraordinaire), but quickly taking the book over and reading it myself, since a little bit each night just wasn't fast enough.

From the first pages, I was hooked. Jacques' imaginary world drew me right in, and I devoured the text, along with the wonderful small headpiece illustrations at the start of each chapter. The characters became just as real to me as anything, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the death of one of my favorites was the first time a book ever made me cry.

There were two others out at the time (Mossflower and Mattimeo, which means I must have started reading them around 1990, since Mariel of Redwall hadn't come out yet), and I quickly read those too, before cycling back through the trio of books until new volumes in the series appeared. Those I obtained as soon as possible, and read them immediately.

Jacques' books have long been a staple of my book recommendations for various young cousins and acquaintances just starting to read on their own, and they will continue to be. I'm sorry that there won't be any more additions to the series, and my thoughts now are with Jacques' family as they mourn his passing.

Farewell, and rest in peace, king of storytellers. You'll be much missed.

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