Gladys Told Me to Meet Her Here
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
pictures by Edward Frascino
Harper & Row, 1970
Written by the author of Nate the Great and illustrated by the famed New Yorker cartoonist, Gladys Told Me is an interesting glimpse into the future for me as a mother. My son is already pretty social and speaks about the girls he knows as his "girlfriends", so it cute to see this little boy Irving and his utter adoration of wee Gladys. As the book opens, Irving is waiting for Gladys by the entrance to the Central Park Children's Zoo in Manhattan, and when she fails to meet him at exactly noon, his emotions begin to run the gamut. Jealousy, worry, anger, fear, and so on.
It's such a hot day I could melt walking around. Or I could be stretched out on the sidewalk with people bending over me. Then if Gladys came along, she'd be sorry.
The backdrop to Irving's worries are the animals of the zoo. The polar bear, the tiger, the orangutan et al, each existing oblivious to the boy's minor anxiety attack. It's a wonderful setting for a story where the drama builds in the span of about five minutes.
Nothing short of a love story from one friend to another, the tale ends with shared popsicles and smiles all around. A great, great read (though admittedly, my son -- as usual -- seems to be in it for the wildlife alone!)