5 stars for the Nostolgia Factor.This is something that was read to me once, and only once, as a very young child. So young, in fact, I wasn't even able to read yet. Still, the plot was so strange (not to mention slightly disturbing) that it stuck with me... And I've been looking for that book ever since. Trouble was, I could only remember small bits and pieces of it. For example, I knew that it rhymed and was about a creature whos toes somehow fell off when he went for a swim. I remembered what the character (the pobble) looked like (in that particular illustrated version, he was yellow and tall with skinny legs, a huge snout, and ginourmous feet)... I remember a picture of a mermaid with long hair swimming next to a very realistic-looking shrimp... And that's it. I didn't know the author. I didn't know the title. And I didn't know enough specifics to even spark an "A-ha!" in the minds of my fellow librarian co-workers. I was starting to think the story was something I dreamed as a child--maybe after consuming too much sugar.Until just recently, that is.Nearly 30 years later I finally found the poem that's eluded for me for so long--quite by accident too. In reading it, I was happy to discover that still has the element of wierdness I remember. But now the whole story is fully-formed in my mind where, before, there was only a brief corner-of-the-eye-type glimpse that was accompanied by a nagging need to remember more.To summarize, the story goes like this: In the beginning, we meet a young Pobble who is very proud of the toes that adorn his feet. His aunt (who is his guardian) warns him that, more often than not, pobbles lose their toes by the time they reach adulthood. However, she also tells him that his toes have a chance of remaining intact as long as he keeps his nose warm. So from that point on, our friend the Pobble wears a red flannel scarf on his rather large nose. One day when he goes for a swim, his scarf is stolen by a dolphin before he reaches the opposite shore. You guessed it: When he gets out of the water, he discovers his toes are gone. As the Pobble mourns his lost toes, he speculates on which creature of the deep may have taken them: A crawfish? A shrimp? A mermaid? (I was right about the shrimp and the mermaid) When he gets back to his aunt's house, she pretty much plays the stereotypical parental "I told you so" card and tells the Pobble he's better off without toes. Silly? Yes. Wierd? Most definitely. Kind of disturbing? Yeah--at least to me.It's a story about properly taking care of your stuff, about learning to let go of stuff that's really not all that important, about not obsessing over material things, about body image, about growing up, about the inevitable, about fears... It's a story about a lot of things.Finding and re-reading "The Pobble Who Has No Toes" put to rest a hazy memory that's tugged at my mind for many, many years. I'm glad I found it & I think it's destined to become one of my favorite Silly Poems (ranking right up there with Shel Silverstein's "Too Many Kids in this Tub").One more thought:p.s. Oddly enough, I think it also solved what's pretty much been a lifelong wierd fear/paranoia for me: Why I'm so freaked about swimming in lakes and/or ponds--or, more specifically, why I'm so freaked that the fish will bite my toes off when I swim in lakes and/or ponds (I'm no pobble, of course. But just goes to show you how impressionable young children can be).Anna
I read this again this week, in my lovely childhood copy gorgeously illustrated in Victorian-detailed watercolor and ink - all persian carpets and cranberry glass. My, it resonates. We all have fears like the pobble. And I can only admire the hearty spirit in which he tackles the bristol channel like Byron languidly breaststroking the Hellespont. I also want my own Aunt Jobiska.