The Man Who Didn't Wash His Dishes
Phyllis Krasilovsky ~ illustrations by Barbara Cooney
I'm surprised it took me this long to get around to this book. Found at a thrift shop but instantly remembered from my own youth, it's one of those old school titles that is lovely in its simplicity and innocent humor. Each drawing is a little wonder in green and black and holds a unique scene that can be studied time and again. I just love the man's hands and the way his cat appears here and there, nose in a bowl of milk or on tiptoes peaking out a window. Not to mention that Cooney was a children's book legend who peppered most everyone's childhood bookshelves with her black outlines and wonderful sense of color. The sad thing is, I don't believe I own or have ever read her opus (I know, I know, loser) Miss Rumphius.
Cooney was a lover of life, for sure, and had a wonderful take on the world of children's books, one that was echoed when she received the Caldecott Medal in 1959 for Chanticleer and the Fox ~ "I believe that children in this country need a more robust literary diet than they are getting.... It does not hurt them to read about good and evil, love and hate, life and death. Nor do I think they should read only about things that they understand.... a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. So should a child’s. For myself, I will never talk down to—or draw down to—children." Too true. And so...
Once there was a man who lived all alone and...
One night he came home hungrier than usual, so he made himself a big, big supper. It was a very good supper (he liked to cook and could make good things to eat), but there was so much of it that he grew very, very tired by the time he finished. He just sat in his chair, as full as he could be, and decided he'd leave the dishes in the sink till the next night, and then he would wash them all at once.
Never put off today what you might get stuck dealing with tomorrow. As each day passes, a new load of filth gets cast to the wayside and soon dirty dishes fill the house and the man finds himself eating out of soap dishes. It's not long before there is nowhere for him to go that isn't filled to the brim with undone chores. Well, fear not. It's nothing that a little precipitation can't take care of when he loads the dishes onto a truck and lets nature do her thing. Funny, funny stuff. Again on some of these pictures, I am wishing someone would start a t-shirt company that licences old children's illustration. I must have one for the boy with that cat. Those green eyes just kill me.
Christmas in the Barn
Chanticleer and the Fox
The Crows of Pearblossom
Wynken, Blynken and Nod