Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Very First Book

Do you remember it?

The very first book you ever read.

The very first book you ever yourself.

I do.

It was Mabel the Whale by Patricia King.

It was part of the Follett Beginning-To-Read Book Series , and it was illustrated by Katherine Evans.

Mabel was a whale. She lived in the Pacific Ocean. The water was very deep. The water was very blue.

(I lived on the Gulf Coast. The water was very deep, and it was very blue. We didn't have whales, but we did have dolphins that would swim next to our boat).

Mabel was a happy whale. She lived with her cousins. She played with her cousins. They swam in the deep blue ocean.

One day some men came. They came in a ship. The men caught Mabel. They did not hurt her. They put Mabel in the ship.

Then the men took Mabel away from the deep blue ocean. They took her to live in a place called Marineland. In Marineland fish and sea animals live in big pools or tanks. People come to see all the fish and sea animals.

(One of the reasons I spent so much time on the Gulf Coast was because my dad was a fisheries biologist. He spent time putting fish in big pools or tanks, so that people could come to see all the fish and sea animals).

Mabel was put into a tank. The tank was small. The water was not deep or blue. the water was not deep at all. Mabel could not hide in it. The sun shone down. It was very hot. Mabel could not hide her top fin under the water. So the hot sun burned Mabel's fin.

(The sun was very very hot on the Louisiana Gulf beaches. From time to time we would help dolphins back into the water, splashing them with water so they didn't get sunburnt).

People came to see Mabel. They looked at her through the glass. The people liked Mabel. But Mabel did not like the tank. The water was not deep. Mabel was very unhappy and she was very sad. Her fin hurt. Soon, Mabel was very sick.

She even stopped eating. Then the men at Marineland had an idea. There was a very big round tank in Marineland. If they moved Mabel to the big tank, she would have more water.

The men brought a big crane. Then they brought many mattresses. Then they bought a raft.
They put Mabel on the mattresses. Then the men lifted the raft, the mattresses, and Mabel with the big,big crane. They put the raft, the mattresses, and Mabel on a big truck. The truck moved Mabel to the big tank.

Soon Mabel felt better. She swam around her new tank. The water was deep. The water covered Mabel's fin. Mabel was happy. Mabel was a happy whale. Everyone at Marineland was happy because Mabel was well again.

Of course, even my little 4 year old mind wondered why the men just didn't put Mabel back in the deep, blue ocean.

Then we'd have a story about free whales, that swim anywhere they like, and people that wander about in boats, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mabel and her cousins.

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