Winthrop author Lynn Plourde would run into Donn Fendler at different events in recent years and nicely nag the famous “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” author to pen a new version of the book that countless Maine children have read since its publication in 1939.

Fendler eventually came around and the pair collaborated on an illustrated version, which they submitted to publisher Down East Books. The publisher loved the idea, Plourde said, but suggested they take the concept a step further: tell Fendler’s harrowing tale of being a 12-year-old boy lost in the Mount Katahdin wilderness as a graphic novel.

The resulting work of Fendler, Plourde and Portland graphic illustrator Ben Bishop, “Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness,” aims to put readers in Fendler’s shoes — lost and alone in the woods — using the comic book-style illustrations of the burgeoning graphic novel format.

They hope to attract new readers and tell previously untold parts of the tale.
“You feel like you’re peering over Donn’s shoulder as he goes through this,” said Plourde, author of more than two dozen children’s books.

Fendler, Plourde and Bishop are scheduled to participate in book signings and presentations on the book in central Maine over the next few weeks, including an event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jewett Hall.

Additions to Fendler’s story include accounts from Fendler, now 84, of what happened before he became separated from his hiking party, details of the search efforts to find him, and his account of the time after he, in Fendler’s words, “got himself found.”

“It was important to us that this be different, because ‘Lost on a Mountain in Maine’ is a classic and always will be,” Plourde said. “We have no intention of moving ‘Lost on a Mountain in Maine’ off the bookshelf or out of people’s hands. This is just a fresher format, introducing it to a whole new generation of readers.”

Plourde, who was co-author on the project, said the book includes Bangor Daily News articles about the desperate search for the missing boy, which at the time were distributed nationwide by the Associated Press; as well as information from people involved in the search, which included millworkers who went into the woods to look for him.

One reason Plourde says she urged Fendler to write a new version of his story was the copyright for “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” expired and was never renewed, making the book part of the public domain, thus, depriving him of royalties from his own story.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

 


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