Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swing with me you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue
From Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing”

I recently found out that Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verse was originally titled Penny Whistles.

This, for those who know me, thrills me to no end.

If there is one book I could rip apart and scatter into loads of smaller ones, it would be Stevenson’s. A runner up would be Hafez.

Tough competition, I know. Henry’s favorite poem in the volume is “The Swing”; Sophia’s is “The Lamp[lighter]”. Truth be told, that’s a guess on Sophia’s. Sometimes she doesn’t have the patience for poetry. She has more important things to do.

Like kick her legs.


But she still maintains a relationship with the living room lamp and my suspicion is she would like a poem about it. She also is interested, I believe, in baby modeling (can’t you tell by the way she works with the camera?).

But Henry oh – ho – has an affinity for poetry. And at his request we’ve started reading Chapter books aloud. First on the list is Peter Pan. And Henry is already smitten with Wendy Moira Angela. I can tell by the way he grows silent during her parts.

They also both like the new doorway swing I bought them. At least they pretend to. Last week at their four-month visit, the pediatrician gave the green light to stationary walkers (?!) and the like. So they have this new slightly terrifying device.

Neither of them know what to make of it yet and I am unsure how to demonstrate it for them. But they are brilliant and I know will be fast friends.

So while they test it, I read to them from A Garden. Perhaps someday I will tear the Stevenson into mini-pieces and illustrate every single poem for them. For now they just have to tolerate my painfully simple sketches and tendency to read too fast.

And when it is done I will rename it Pennys Whistle.

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