Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Story of Zachary Zween

The Story of Zachary Zween
Mabel Watts ~ Marylin Hafner ~ Parent's Magazine Press, 1967

There is really no reason why the Parent's Magazine Press series shouldn't be reissued in full. Seriously. I applaud The Purple House Press for doing their part, but still... I wish our kids had something they could receive in the mail every month... other than Ranger Rick, of course.

I have a hard time visualising what our children will wax poetic about one day. I wonder... Thoughts anyone? Will Yo Gabba Gabba be their Sesame Street? If You Give a Mouse a Cookie the next Go Dog Go? Are Crocs this generation's jelly shoes? You know, I am such a saver, it wouldn't surprise me if the one thing I don't pack up in the attic along with his outgrown underwear and baby socks will be the object the boy remembers and longs for. Sigh. Once he's grown older and starts to push all his pictures books out, I'm gonna have a hell of a time trying to decide what goes to the junk shop and what stays in storage. The horror!

That said, Zachary is a boy who ~ due to the opening letter in both his first and last names ~ is always in the back... always at the end of the line. And that stinks. I should know. With a last name starting with "S", I was often a rider on the caboose... definitely never the engine.

As Albert headed up the line he said. "First place is ALWAYS mine! I'm first on walking tours, and games, because I have the best of names!"

And who came last? Poor Zachary Zween-- So envious that his face turned green!
Yes, Zachary Zween got most upset and angry at the alphabet.

Fear not, for there is a bright side to every story, when Zachary figures out that being at the tail end is often the most advantageous position to be in. Isn't there always an upside? Great midcentury drawings by the way and a lovely tour of London to boot. Anyone who has ever sat astride one of the lions in Trafalgar Square (or at least wished they had) is sure to get a kick out of Zween.


Brooke said...

I absolutely agree about Parents Magazine Press reissuing their whole collection. Some of my all-time favorite books from my childhood were published by them. So many treasures!

Anonymous said...

I own this book, as well as so many other Parents Magazine Press books (my mom must have had a subscription or something back in the 70's). Anyhow, I LOVE it. It gives me warm fuzzies to this very day. I'm so glad you featured it on your awesome blog.

John W. Hubbard said...

I still have this along with many of the Parents Magazine Press books, too (thanks to my grandparents, who also subscribed to Ranger Rick, Science Program, etc. for me in the 70s). Today I am a book designer, due in large part to my family showing the importance of books to me as a child. That new law is insane (pre-1985). There is more danger walking down the street than from a book!

Burgin Streetman said...

that is super cool... and so lucky that you still have them... if I could only go back, I might have done the same thing instead of getting mired in the publishing end.

thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book and I wonder if it had more of an influence than I imagined - my husband and I both hyphenated our names when we married and when we discussed whose name would go first, I really wanted mine because it starts with an "A" and I wanted my kids to be at the front of the line!

Carm said...

I have a friend who has the last name Zygarlicke! How is that for LAST! :)

I heartily agree. God bless the Parents Magazine Press.

Libby said...

Thanks for your support of Ranger Rick. We appreciate our steadfast fans and encourage parents of kids with a love of nature and animals to subscribe! You can be assured we are still around, on the Web, too, after more than 40 years at it!

Best wishes,
Libby Schleichert, Senior Editor
Ranger Rick Magazine

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