A little while ago now, Judith Crabb, who has been with Pioneer Books since the beginning, published a small account of how she got to that point in life.
Those who know Judith are aware that her special area is children’s books. It can be traced back to this moment:
It was not until I entered primary school at the age of seven that I encountered the first book that was to become a life-changing event. It was Friday afternoon and the teacher was closing the week with a chapter from a book. The bell rang and I realised desperately that I had to borrow that book. I rehearsed my arguments. I’d look after the book, I’d bring it back first thing Monday morning, I wouldn’t forget, I promised. I realised in my heart that, had the situation been reversed, I would have said no. The thought of an object of such importance leaving my possession was impossible. And so it began. That afternoon I sat on the kitchen step and read The Enchanted Wood, and my mother, seeing that I could read, walked me down to the Unley Institute the next week, and enrolled me in the library.
Had this event not occurred I suspect my life would have played out in organisations such as Cat Rescue or Lizard Watch or some such. I would have thought that being born human was not what I would have chosen for myself. Already at that early age I leaned towards the semi-feral cats in our backyard who seemed to have more interesting and decidedly more exciting lives than my own. In middle-age I became an Honorary Cat, another story and only tangentially related to the book business, but I have never since that day in 1956 yearned to change my species, although the line ‘I’d rather be a worm in a wild apple than the son of a man’ has a lot going for it.