Monday, December 15, 2008

A Child's Book of Poems

A Child's Book of Poems
Gyo Fujikawa ~ Grosset & Dunlap, 1969


Soooo good. Really, any time I find a Fujikawa book, I do a little dance right then and there. Then I scream inside with joy. And then I run to the sales girl lest some other educated thrifter try and pry it from my gold dead hands. Her books are real treasures. This delightful, wonder of a woman must have possessed such glee in her soul to create drawings that are so full of life and youthful wonderment. Each page is like a giggle and reminds me of the moment between when your child looks at you and smiles and then the words "I love you" spill from their mouths. So innocent and pure and happy. Just perfection. Seeing as this is a poetry collection, the author selections here are excellent with poets ranging from Rossetti to Wordsworth... Tennyson to Longfellow... and each is totally relevant to the life of a child. I've selected one in honor of my son...

BE LIKE THE BIRD ~ VICTOR HUGO

Be like the bird, who
Halting in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Yet sings,
Knowing he hath wings.


A wonderful book to introduce children to poetry. It is over sized and packed to the brim with poems. Barnes & Noble's Sterling imprint has the rights for reprint on many of her books, but lots of vintage copies are available online. Every child of the 60s and 70s grew up with this wonderful author and illustrator, so please let your kids in on the secrets that all of our hearts already know. Gyo is pure gold.

A piece from her New York Times obituary says it best.... Although she was engaged for a few years beginning at the age of 19, Miss Fujikawa never married. In her autobiographical sketch, written in her later years, she said, "I am flattered when people ask me how I know so much about how children think and feel. Although I have never had children of my own, and cannot say I had a particularly marvelous childhood, perhaps I can say I am still like a child myself. Part of me, I guess, never grew up."

Also by:
A Child's Garden of Verses
Let's Grow a Garden
Baby Animals
Oh, What a Busy Day!
Our Best Friends
Come Follow me
Fairy Tales and Fables

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5 comments:

Gretchen said...

I remember this book from my childhood and would love to find a copy for my daughter: thank you for reminding me of its existence!

Queen Bee said...

A lot of the Gyo Fujikawa books are coming back into print now- including this one. Not all of them are back (I am still waiting for Come Follow Me to come back into print), but this one is. I often give the boardbooks Babies and Baby Animals as baby presents, and the kids always LOVE them. Her books were some of my favorites when I was little, but she doesn't have the following that other children's authors have.

Claire said...

Is this a vintage copy that you found? I just pick up a brand new copy at the local book store. Apparently it's been re-issued (as has A Child's Garden of Verses with her illustrations in it).
I intended to give this as a gift but may have to get a copy for me and my son also.
It's dreamy!
Claire

scribbler said...

Mine is the 1976 printing, but I have seen the new one Sterling did, and it is very nice. I think somebody at B&N must have had a crush.

Liz said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I am completely captivated. What a beautiful post, full of beautiful words and intentions! I was just searching for poetry books to introduce my little one to poetry. The one I remember is "A Child's Garden of Verses". My mother kept it in her night stand and every once in a while we would curl up in her bed together and read it. This looks like a good one too, I shall seek this one out! Thank you.

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