Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat

The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat
Eugene Field with illustrations by Helen Page
Follet Publishing Company, 1945

My son received this one as a Christmas present this week from a friend in Colorado. This is a reprint from 1963 and includes not just Dog & Cat, but also a story called The Dinkey-Bird. Both tales are pretty far out by today's standards. The namesake story is about a toy cat and dog that get in a fight while a horrified clock and China plate look on. The poem ends with the revelation that the two stuffed dolls have eaten each other.

Next morning, where the two had sat,
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole the pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!

The bird story is about the land of Wonder-Wander, an island where angelic boys and girls go to do whatever they want.

There the gumdrops grow like cherries,
And taffy's thick as peas
Caramels you pick like berries
When, and where, and how you please.

It almost seems as if the Dinkey-Bird is a winged Pied Piper, luring the kids to his land of plenty with his siren song. Spooky. This book rocks in so many ways. The pastel illustrations are evocative and the poems as sweet as they are bizarre. And my son has been mesmerized with it ever since it came in the mail. "Again Mommy. Again." Obviously the Dinkey-Bird's evil plan is working....

Also by:
Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Favorite Poems


Emile said...

I had this version of The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat when I was small -- around 4 years old, and it terrified me more than any other book has in my whole life-time. The clock was the worst, and I remember asking my mother if clocks made faces like that only at midnight, and she absent-mindedly said yes, and I remember lying awake (probably rather earlier than midnight) dreading hearing the sound of the clock chiming, knowing it was making those faces.
Anyway, I hope your son likes it!

Burgin Streetman said...

Oh man... those kind of early spooky memories are the worst! It's funny, my son isn't spooked by the ones that got me, but then gets spooked by the most random pictures.... usually monsters and witches... funny that yawning rabbits and clocks spooked us!

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