Sjoekje Sasbone

February 24, 2022

Searching for “Lizard Music”

Please pass this on to Mr. Pinkwater:

     In 1980, I read your book when I was 8 yrs old at the Artesia Library in CA. I enjoyed it so much, I checked it out from the library a few times. But as I got older, I forgot the title & “Lizard People” always wrongly came to mind.   

     Technology got better & I still couldn’t find it. “Lizard Music” would come up, your name as the author sounded highly familiar, but the cover that popped up (a kid on rocks w/ lizards) didn’t look familiar. Nevertheless, your story lived rent free in my mind for decades.      

     Yesterday, I messaged the Artesia Library & although they don’t keep a copy of our old library cards, they said they could search for it if I gave them descriptives. This is what I recalled & messaged them: “It was about this boy who found his way to a pond or lake, & a lizard somehow convinced him to swim under & come out the other side into an alternate dimension w/ a plastic bag of clothes. I want to say the lizard in our world was able to speak. I’m not sure. Everyone was a lizard in this world, shopping, working, etc., like humans. He would go back a few times where the story would unfold. Maybe it was a red cover?” They led me back to “Lizard Music,” except they provided me with a YouTube narrating Ch. 1 & replied, “I just listened to the YouTube you sent me. That’s was great because I was able to hear that chapter. It was missing when he swam underwater to get to the other city. Perhaps that’s the floating island? I was trying to see if the wording in the story was familiar. It is an unsupervised boy. I’m sure the hippie references were over my head….. What was very familiar was the Salisbury steak reference, which is interesting.” But I listened to each chapter, found the red cover w/ the lizards, & this was it! Truth be told, I became emotional when it all came together. 

     When I looked you up, I noticed that your birthday is Nov. 15th, the same birthday as my father, who passed in 2016, 1 month shy of 92 yrs old. Long story longer, thanks for writing a fun, weird book that spawned my lifelong love for hidden worlds & left an impression for nearly 42 years. I’ll be 50 on July 15th.

     Finally, I want to acknowledge the librarian who not only helped me, but checked out the book for herself to read. I hope you enjoy knowing all of this & the your literary impact. 

Daniel replies:

Thanks for relating your mental adventures with Lizard Music. Books have a life of their own, something I never thought about when I was writing that one and others.  Also readers give books a specific life of their's not just the author who does the creative part. Thanks for being such a good reader.