Thursday, August 2, 2007

Johnny Crow's New Garden

Johnny Crow's New Garden
written and drawn by L. Leslie Brooke/ published 1935 by Frederick Warne & Co.

I bought this and it's companion book Johnny Crow's Party at the same library sale. They follow the strange adventures of the mysterious yet socially-popular Mr. Crow. The wording is witty and crisp, even if the rhymes are a little rough.

"Then the Tapir
Said: 'Can anybody caper?'
And the Turkey was willing, but jerky,
And the Pelican
Said: 'When I'm feeling well I can,
in Johnny Crow's garden.'"

Of course, my son loves this because it is packed full of animals. I assume back then it was more exotic to see a tapir, a puffin and a gnu in a children's book. Published by the same folks that brought us the Potter books, these are sweet little innocent reads expressing a more dated and formal attitude toward fun. My favorite line comes towards the end, accompanied by the entire zoo ensemble dancing.

"And they danced and they sang,
and each Visitor's attitude
Was his very best way of expressing his gratitude,
in Johnny Crow's garden."

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