October 21, 2016

Featured Author: Patrick F. McManus

I grew up with the stories of Patrick McManus. Have I ever told you I am the only girl in a family of 10 boys? Knowing that might help you understand why his book were so popular around our place. His stories of fishing, hunting, getting lost, and other outdoor hijinks--not to mention sketchy childhood inventions and his sister The Troll--have become a part of our family's shared fond memories.

We all read them. They would get passed around again and again, to the extent that certain phrases were like code words in our family vocabulary. It's one of the wonderful things that comes of sharing books with your kids--and eventually--them sharing books with each other.

My husband doesn't think they're nearly as hilarious as I do--but then again, I don't think he's ever given them a real chance. Just the other day, though, my 8-year-old started reading one. It made me so happy! The legend lives on...

So Patrick McManus was born in 1933 in Sandpoint, Idaho. His father died when he was 6 years old, and he was primarily raised by his mother, older sister, and grandmother. According to Wikipedia, he went to school at WSU, and later became an English Professor there--well, what do you know? That's very close to where I live. Man alive, I would have loved taking a class from him!

In his early writing days, he mostly wrote columns for Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and other magazines. Most of his books are compilations of articles or essays, although I just found out that he has written a mystery series in the past 10 years. He's married and has 4 daughters.

For his books, I decided to take some of the ones that I own, and choose my favorite 3 chapters. I ended up pretty much re-reading them all! So hard to choose.

The Grasshopper Trap
 "The Skunk Ladder": It all started when he and Crazy Eddie Muldoon decided to dig a hole...
 "A Hunker is Not a Squat": To get a farmer's permission to hunt on his land, you may have to hunker with him a spell.
 "'Twas a Dark and Dreary Night": Every young outdoorsman must first conquer his fear of the dark.

Never Sniff a Gift Fish
 "Two-Man Tent Fever": If you think cabin fever is bad, just hope you never catch two-man tent fever!
  "The Christmas Hatchet": "Now don't chop anything!"
   "Edgy Rider": Every kid needs a horse...or a cow...or something...to ride.

Rubber Legs and White Tail-Hairs
**This one is probably my favorite of the books listed here.
 "Muldoon in Love": Show and Tell in the 3rd grade goes country.
 "Pigs": You just can't pass up a farm selling pigs for only $7.
 "Not Long For This Whirl": Pat and Retch drive their English teacher to see a friend, in their mountain car named for her.

They Shoot Canoes, Don't They?

 "Skunk Dog": Strange, the family dog, steps in when a skunk sets up house under the woodshed.
  "Tenner Shoes": One set of shoes to rule them all.
   "Physic Powers for Outdoorsmen": Levitation, mind-reading, you know--the basics.

I was chuckling--again!--choosing these chapters. Good old Patrick McManus--always good for a laugh. Please tell me I'm not the only who thinks these books are hilarious!

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