The Sheep of the Lal Bagh
David Mark ~ Lionel Kalish ~ Parents' Magazine Press, 1967
Sorry for not making it in yesterday. The theatrical version of If You Give a Pig a Party and 18 kindergarteners called. Recently, one of my dear friends laughingly called me judgy. Now I know she was ribbing me in that way only good friends can, but it still made me think. I have an opinion about pretty much everything. Often my opinions are very knee jerk and sometimes even uneducated, based on preconceived notions that have little basis in reality. Something my mother said a long time ago. Or an article I read where someone thought something else was stupid. Memories I have of thinking something was cheesy when I was five. Case in point, this book. I've had this book in my possession more than a handful of times. Always passing it along or selling it... judging it poorly by the cover for some unknown reason. Maybe I didn't like the colors or the curves. Or the sheep. Or the fact that it has a name I can not pronounce. For whatever reason, I'd never cracked it open. Not even once.
I often do this with books. I buy them solely because they are of a certain age that I like, but then, for whatever reason, I am put off from actually reading them, and they get passed over again and again for old favorites or new finds. So, in the spirit of being non-judgy, I've started scanning my bookshelves for those titles. The ones that we've had forever, but were being overlooked. To make a short story really, really long, basically, that's how me and the Lal Bagh became friends last week and my son found a new favorite.
Star date, the 1960s, somewhere in India.
In a little city in the heart of India there was a big park called the Lal Bagh. From miles around, the people, who worked very hard came to the Lal Bagh to relax and enjoy themselves on holidays. There is a lot of hard work in India, but there are also a lot of holidays. They came to see the big white petals on the lotus flowers opening and closing in the pond. And the rubbery plants and stickly plants and curly plants in the glass house. And the flame-of-the-forest trees that dotted the sky with orange. And the water in the fountain making rainbow splashes. But most of all, they came to see the lawn mower.
Ah, yes. Ramesh, the sheep who mows in circles and stars to the delight of citizens everywhere. But when the mayor decides Ramash doesn't mow fast enough, his funky, foliage designs are replaced by a push mower and all that was awesome goes to hell. This book is fabulous to look at and huge fun to read. What in the world was my problem? A great book, pushed aside one too many times by my judgy heart, but now forever beloved. I know there's a life lesson in here somewhere. I guess it's safe to say, I'm evolving. Slowly.
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