Happy #REDWALLAUGUST, everyone! Here is my contribution to the month-long celebration focusing on the lovely foods from and inspired by Brian Jacques' epic Redwall series. You can find the #RedwallAugust announcement post here and, more importantly, the feast link list here.
The first Redwall book I ever read was the prequel Mossflower, after finding it all on its own in a tiny independent bookstore. I was in that bookstore because my awesome elementary school librarian took me there as a surprise after treating me to the lunch out I won for placing first in a short story contest (my story was about time travel, sadly, that's all I can remember). She let me pick out one book, I picked out Mossflower, and she bought it for me like a boss–nay, like a Madam–a literacy championing Madam. (Subsequently, it's the copy you can see in these photos).
I loved stories with animals, perhaps because I grew up on a farm, perhaps because animals were more interesting and less tiresome than people, maybe because I felt safer associating with animals, making them more appealing and approachable, even in story. Whatever the reason, I devoured Mossflower, treating it as almost sacred for the duration of the read (which, proudly for my 9-year-old self, took only a few days) by being very careful to not drop it (which I guess was a problem of mine? if I had to make a rule about it and all...). It's a strange thing to remember; the way I held that book and took care of it (not that you could tell from its present condition, but my young self trying to protect and mend it with tape was a sign of reverence) and savored it. It was one of those books that I fell into and that stayed clinging to me after I clamored back out. I discovered there was a series and got what I could, being the start of the 90s though there certainly wasn't the collection of books that there is now.