Shabby Sunday is a meme created by Mischenko at ReadRantRock&Roll with the aim of sharing some vintage or older books in our collections. Please check out this wonderful blog when you have a chance!
Today I want to share a book I’ve had in my collection, and that has been near and dear to my heart, since I was in 2nd grade. The Magical Drawings of Moony B. Finch by David McPhail helped me fall in love with two things as child–fantasy and art. I can’t remember all the details behind getting this book except we were doing some kind of book exchange between classes, I think, and somehow I ended up with this one.
The front and back covers. As you can see this book has seen better days, but considering the amount of times I’ve read it over the years it’s well loved.
I don’t think this is a first edition. I don’t know much about older books but maybe they only printed the original publication date and not the subsequent printings? Either way, I did get this book used, from a classmate, sometime in 1983 or 1984 (if my math is right), and since it was originally published first in 1978 maybe it is a first edition? No idea, I don’t know enough about books to be able to tell. Either way, this is probably one of the books, along with a couple of others, that I’ve had the longest in my collection.
This book is wonderfully illustrated. Clearly the author put his own love of art into the story as well. The story centers around a little boy, Moony B. Finch, who loved drawing from since he was a tiny little tot. As he gets older he practices and gets better at drawing. He has an eraser that he never needs but has it ‘just in case’.
One day Moony is drawing in the park and a lady asks if she can have the picture of the cloud he drew. Moony gives it to her and as soon as the woman touches the paper the drawing springs to life and the cloud floats away. Soon, Moony has a crowd surrounding him, demanding he draw them pictures of things such as a fancy car, a box of gold treasure, and, my favorite, a diamond studded rattle ‘for my baby’ (lol). As the crowd becomes ever more demanding and unruly Moony has to think fast to diffuse the situation.
He asks everyone to stand together so he can draw their portrait. And then he takes out his ‘just in case’ eraser and carefully erases all of the objects he’d drawn for the people and one by one they disappear. The crowd becomes livid and so he quickly draws another picture and throws the sheet of paper into the crowd. When someone touches it, a great fire breathing dragon appears and everyone makes a run for it. Once everyone is gone, Moony uses his eraser once again to erase the dragon.
But then Moony thinks for a bit and draws one last picture. We last see him walking home, his drawing pad tucked under an arm, leading a tiny dragon on a leash.
I love this book so much, it’s just a delightful little story about the wonders of imagination but also with some disillusionment with the ‘real world’ thrown in. (Thinking back, maybe my cynicism started here…. O.o) Moony learns a lesson about how greedy people can be, how if you have a talent then people will always want to use you for something. At the end of the day Moony will keep drawing because it’s something he loves, something he has to do, and something that gives him great happiness. But you can be sure he won’t let others use him any more.