As a child of the seventies, one of the things I enjoyed about that decade was the children’s book series Serendipity (one of the things I didn’t like is the picture of me as a toddler wearing plaid bellbottom slacks). The collection written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James features both real and imaginary animals with each story telling an important moral lesson. My favorite Serendipity book is 1974’s Wheedle on the Needle. I will be the first to confess that as a child I really just liked the art and the look of the mythical Wheedle as I was not a big fan of reading back then.
The tale unfolds as the Wheedle is enjoying some peace and quiet, however his rest is interrupted by people setting and creating the city of Seattle. So the Wheedle moves to Mt. Rainier and is again at peace. Yet as Seattle becomes a hotbed of activity (a prediction of the Starbucks and Grunge movement) the Wheedle is once again unable to rest. Now I haven’t mentioned yet that the Wheedle, like a poor mans Rudolph has a blinking red nose, this feature comes into play at the end of the book. The Wheedle is now pretty angry because he can’t sleep so he collects all the clouds from the Mt. Rainier area in a bag and climbs to the top of the Space Needle. He then releases the clouds and Seattle becomes the butt of weather jokes from the other 49 states. I won’t spoil the ending but I can assure you that his blinking nose comes into play and both the Wheedle and the citizens of Seattle are happy. For a trip to the trippy Seventies you can’t beat The Wheedle on the Needle.