The Mother Goose Book
illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen ~ Random House, 1976
Just when I think my five-year-old has been sucked into a cynical world where superheros in 3D rule and Spongebob is king, he surprises me by going to the ultra commercial Disneyland and falling head over heals in love with "It's a Small World". Despite its recent (and not as bad as I thought it was gonna be) renovation towards a more-Disney/less-international theme, the boy went gaga for Mary Blair's fantastic amusement... asking to ride again and again and having me take tons of pictures of every room in great detail, literally squealing when another fabulously plumed bird came into view and singing along with the song at the top of his lungs. My husband remembered being entranced by the original ride at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, and seeing as he is ignorant of all things Disney, he didn't even notice the addition of Peter Pan, Woody, Stitch and the lot. Though marred in the eyes of the traditionalist, the heart and the soul of the ride are still there, spinning and twirling in the air, climbing up to the top of plaid mountains and dancing to an utterly contagious tune that brings the whole world together in harmony.
That said, it's moments like these when I realize that as sophisticated as my son and his peers might seem on the surface, it's not quite time to put away the Mother Goose. And back to the Provensen's we go....
All the MG favorites are here, drawn as a "tip of the hat" to illustrators like Kate Greenaway with her eighteenth century fashion and nineteenth century style. Harking back to the Mother Goose tales of yesteryear, right smack in the middle of the swinging seventies. I love it when the Provensen's go old school. Funny that, now, so many modern illustrators are doing the exact same thing and echoing their style. Intergenerational inspiration is fabulous! Soak in the scenes of girls watering cockle shells and wee boys snoozing in the hay and meet new faves like my current...
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
Our vintage hardcover includes a handwritten 1979 Christmas inscription to one "Laura" from someone named "LaLa." My heart always lifts thinking of those people of the past who felt it important to give books as presents. Good on you LaLa, wherever you are! You had impeccable taste.
A Child's Garden of Verses
Roses are Red. Are Violets Blue??
Fireside Book of Folk Songs
My Little Hen
Our Friends at Maple Hill Farm
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