Necks Out for Adventure is another book on our shelf from a dear friend. We’ve had it since JT was a baby. I first tried reading it to him when he was about 3 years old, well after the stage where babies like to eat the pages of paper books. We didn’t get very far at that reading. When Edwin Wiggleskin’s parents were scooped up and he was left all alone, JT gasped a little, closed the book, and back on the shelf it went.
It was two years before I was sure it wouldn’t remind him of his own separation anxiety. Now that he’s five, he finds it fascinating. He had questions about the wiggleskins (they’re a lot like oysters) and the hornly scratcher (a disgusting oyster-eater!). And he likes to be scared just a little bit by stories, so it’s a good story for us right now.
For me, the book stirs the imagination with strong story-telling and Dr. Seuss-like illustrations. The ocean theme makes it a great summertime read, as well. And the best part? Edwin’s courage and determination.
Edwin is separated from his family and everyone he knows. Sound much like our friends in the Bible? Job? Joseph? Edwin breaks free from his shell with every ounce of courage he can muster, only to face his worst nightmare: the hornly scratcher. Jonah? Edwin ends up in the cook pot, but comes up with a plan out of nowhere that gets him free. And then he finds his family and all his friends. He shows them how to break out of their shells. And he leads them back to the water, to safety. Hello, Moses. But they must cross the hot dry beach first. They are tired and thirsty… and suddenly it starts to rain. They are saved. They will make it. Thank you, God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2
Pure nonsense, those wiggleskins. But next time I hear a whiny WHY?? I will remind JT that the struggles we endure will make us stronger and prepare us to be ready for the exciting things God has planned for our future. Wiggleskins who hide out in their shells will surely never see an adventure.
Ering, T. B. (2008). Necks out for adventure!: The true story of Edwin Wiggleskin. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.