granddaughter turns on to poetry

I’ve always said that re-discovering the world through younger eyes is one of the best things about having children around. Yesterday afternoon when our six-year-old granddaughter came for a sleepover, she discovered the children’s book section of my “library” and I re-discovered one of my favorite children’s authors, Shel Silverstein. She wasn’t a very enthusiastic reader last year but we were happy her older brother was and decided one out of two (voracious readers in the family) ain’t bad. It seems quite recently that things have changed. Not only has her fervor for reading been ignited, her reading skills have developed to what I like to think of as phenomenal–just the right inflection, dramatic pauses, etc.–and of course I’m not at all prejudiced.

I’m such an admirer of Silverstein’s quirky, laid-back style, and defy anyone–no matter the age–NOT to find something they can identify with in one of his poetry books. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and have sold over 20 million copies and it’s so easy to see why. Silverstein died in 1999 at age 68. Too bad he couldn’t have gone on forever.

That’s Vimmy (ABOVE) preparing to read aloud to me from WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, but her favorite poem of his–at least as of yesterday–was from A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC. When she read it to me, I understood perfectly that she had found herself in this one I’d like to share with you here. Perhaps through it you can re-discover the child that (probably) still lives in you.

“Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony”

There was a girl named Abigail
Who was taking a drive
Through the country
With her parents
When she spied a beautiful sad-eyed
Grey and white pony.
And next to it was a sign
That said,
“Oh,” said Abigail,
“May I have that pony?
May I please?”
And her parents said,
“No you may not.”
And Abigail said,
“But I MUST have that pony.”
And her parents said,
“Well, you can’t have that pony,
But you can have a nice butter pecan
Ice cream cone when we get home.”
And Abigail said,
“I don’t want a butter pecan
Ice cream cone,
And her parents said,
“Be quiet and stop nagging–
You’re not getting that pony.”
And Abigail began to cry and said,
“If I don’t get that pony I’ll die.”
And her parents said, “You won’t die.
No child ever died yet from not getting a pony.”
And Abigail felt so bad
That when they got home she went to bed,
And she couldn’t eat,
And she couldn’t sleep,
And her heart was broken,
And she DID die–
All because of a pony
That her parents wouldn’t buy.

(This is a good story
To read to your folks
When they won’t buy
You something you want.)

In spite of poor Abigail’s unhappy demise and her parent’s (deserved?) comeuppance–for which they must have forever been woefully sorry–I’m here to assure you and other girls like Abigail who may be reading this that no, you probably won’t die if you don’t get absolutely everything you want. Vimmy’s mother, who also wanted a pony when she was young is still around to this very day, and she finally understands why we didn’t buy her pony all those years ago. For my next poetry share I’ll have to tell you the poem I chose as an identifier for Vimmy’s older brother.

18 thoughts on “granddaughter turns on to poetry

  1. My girls (and me too!) loved all the Shel Silverstein’s books. My younger daughter loved the poem you quoted, and although we didn’t buy her a pony, she simply bought her own (actually several) when she grew up.

    • I distinctly remember reading about her awhile ago, and seeing a couple pictures, too. And aren’t we lucky to live now in an age where girls believe in themselves enough that they CAN go on and buy whatever they want–all on their own–rather than depending on a man for it?! 😕

    • We had fun in one of those rare and fleeting bonding moments. She’s about 60% angel and 40% devil the rest of the time. 😛

    • I’m delighted to know this! Hummmm, I wonder what delights await us in your next posts where you may elaborate more about your discoveries? I’m sure I’ll soon be learning from you. Already I’ve begun noticing more and more public art. It’s everywhere–even in the smallest places here. I just saw a bronze statue of a small boy pushing a wheelbarrow along 25th street in Ogden Utah. Now I want to know what it was, who made it, and what it signifies, etc.

        • I’d love to but so far I haven’t been able to find anything. Perhaps another slightly more in-depth day to explore historic Ogden is in order–this time with my camera! ❗

    • We do enjoy the good minutes…but you know of the play on the old adage “when they’re good they’re very very good but when they’re not…! But you’re still proud of them, aren’t you?

  2. Hello Aunty.

    I am so happy to see little Vim taking up poetry reading at such an early age. I am sure she is more than 60% angel. My daughters were 100% devils at her age, but were they voraciously well read devils ! You bet ! 🙂

    I stayed away from print of all forms till I turned 10. Had to be Usha’s genes at work. Whom do we give credit for little Vim’s reading interest ? Frank or Mo ? 🙂

    Cheers !

    • It pleases me to say that if reading genes have anything to do with children’s interest in reading–and I’m pretty sure they do–then it was both of them along with every adult in their immediate environment, including Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Vimala, and Uncle Ben! All are voracious readers. Your daughters give me hope, though, that the 40% devil will soon cave in to the better angel in all of us! 🙂

      • Aunty, you should read little Vim the Muddlehead poem I sent you. You sure will have a giggling little girl on hand. Credit, like happiness, multiplies when shared. 🙂

        • Good idea, but I’ll have to look for it because I know it’s still there–the greatest of our being slow to get around to cleaning house (online house that is).

  3. Pingback: Grannymar » One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

  4. RYN: Black backgrounds. 1. I crop the photo really tight in Photoshop. 2.Next, I enlarge it a little so I can see the edges of the rose clearly. 3. I use the Dodge and Burn tools. Setting the burn tool on 100%, I darken the background. 4. Setting the Dodge tool on 17% and various sizes, I highlight the light edges of the leaves. 5. Darken the depths of the rose with the Burn tool set on 17% again various sizes. 6. Click on “enhance” and move down the drop down menu to “Adjust Lighting” and “contrast.” Darken it so it has drama. 7. Sharpen it.

    It’s worth it all. 🙂

    • Wow! I must check this out but I doubt my photo software will do such fancy stuff. You’re such a tekkie! Thanks, I’ll give it a try. (For readers who may be confused, this commenter posts such fantastic photographs–currently of roses–on Postcards . Her artistic endeavors know no bounds!)

It's always nice to know what you're thinking...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.