You know what I love about living in Philadelphia? It's so close to nature.
As witness the following:
And Brian Jacques is dead, alas . . .
I never met the man but I was a big fan of his work. Particularly because he was writing at a time when I especially needed his books -- when my son, Sean, was first old enough for YA books.
There are a sufficiency of books for adults, and easily a bajillion books for children. But for that in-between transition stage? Not so many. Especially when you want them to be the kind of books that will encourage a youngster to continue reading with pleasure. So for several years I was constantly on the lookout.
One day I was in the Barnes and Noble in Bryn Mawr and cruised through the YA section. I idly picked up a copy of Redwall to see if it might be worth reading the first page. There was a ten-year old girl sitting quietly on the floor nearby, reading. She glanced up from her book, saw what I was holding, and made an instant sale of that book and many subsequent volumes by solemnly saying, "Oh, that's an excellent book."
In my mind, that will stand forever as a worthy judgment of not only the book, but the life. Well done, sir. You wrote excellent books.