Tag Archives: 70s kids books
benajmin dilley’s thirsty camel, the first book I loved
I so enjoyed Jessica’s book chat at Sweet Green Tangerine, I wanted to join in myself. The topic? The first book you loved.
Hands down Benjamin Dilley’s Thirsty Camel by Jolly Roger Bradfield is the first book I loved. I still love it. I didn’t have a ton of picture books as a kid, so the ones I did stick out vividly. But this one sticks out most of all.
“People said that Benjamin Dilley was a dreamer; but the truth was that he had a wonderful imagination.”
Benjamin imagined a hippo, a genie, a goat driving a race car, a turtle wearing a turtleneck. And MORE. And on the day there was a leak in the basement, he imagined a camel with glasses he could play ping pong with while his dad fixed the leaky pipe.
(My favorite spread ^)
Only Benjamin Dilley’s dad didn’t fix the pipe. He broke it more and the whole basement started to flood. But during the panic of Benjamin’s parents calling the plumbers and amassing mops and buckets, the water disappeared. Can you guess why? That camel drank it all. Because that camel was real.
At least it was real to Benjamin Dilley. It may have been that tiny undiscovered drain that ate up all the water. Or it might have been the camel. Who’s to say? While I didn’t know it consciously at the time, as a child I felt like the book was telling me something. That sometimes children can see things adults don’t. That just because they might think you’re crazy, there’s a chance you’re not. That not fitting in with their reality might just be okay because you’ve got your own reality. And at least you’ve got friendly imagined animals to keep you company.
Was there a book like that for you? One that you loved as a child or teen? One that told you something you really needed to know?
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