Chicken Soup With Rice
Sorry for my brief hiatus but it is cold season and true to form, I fell under the spell of the ugliest cold I have ever met! I know I just posted a little something not too long ago pertaining to Sendak's Nutshell Library about a little boy named Pierre, but I can’t help myself. I have a huge crush on Maurice Sendak’s illustrations and a major obsession with Carole King which brings me to today’s post, Chicken Soup with Rice.
In 1975 Carole King became the voice for a musical known as Really Rosie based on Sendak’s Nutshell Library featuring the musical stylings of King and Lyrics by Sendak. One of the songs translated directly from the Nutshell Library is Chicken Soup with Rice and since the story is written in poem it translates well into song.
Although the book begins in the middle of winter, presumably the best time for chicken soup, it builds a very clear case to make chicken soup prevalent in every season! Even in the dead of Summer. By the "year's end," readers are convinced that all seasons / of the year / are nice / for eating / chicken soup / with rice!
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale
Where the Wild Things Are
by Ole Riesom with illustrations by Richard Scarry
Published 1963 by Golden Books
Since my last post was a tad bit dark I decided to lighten things up a bit. I am a Bunny is a vivid account of Nicholas, a little bunny that enjoys the seasons, and shares his experiences throughout the year. In the spring he likes to sniff the flowers, and in the summer watches the frogs in the pond. In the fall, he watches the animals getting ready for winter, and in winter, watches the snow falling from the sky.
This is one of my favorite Richard Scarry books because the illustrations are so vivid but the real credit should be given to Ole Riesom, who was one of the most influential publishers of mass-market books for children. Mr. Riesom was vice president and art director of Golden Books Western Press from 1952 to 1972 and then vice president and associate publisher of the juvenile division of Random House from 1972 to 1990. Although he was most famously associated with Richard Scarry, he also worked with Dr. Seuss, Jim Henson and Sesame Street books, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Leo Lionni, Laurent de Brunhoff, Charles M. Schulz and Marc Brown. He also gave numerous young artists, like Joan Walsh Anglund, their start. The bunny in this book is named after his son Nicholas and remains in publication to this day.
1963 – Simon & Schuster
I have fond memories of this book but for some reason I was reluctant to make a post about it. Maybe because it is so, um, well, it’s so, Gorey. (Pun definitely intended) It’s one of those guilty pleasure books. You know the kind, the sort of book that you don’t really like to admit liking unless you find someone who admits they like it first. For me Edward Gorey books fall under that category simply because they are a bit macabre and also because I have come to realize you either get his work or you don’t. It’s hard to explain his books, this one in particular, to a person who has never picked one up but if you had to the explanation would go something like this:
“In The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Gorey tells the tale of 26 children (each representing a letter of the alphabet) ………….. and their very untimely, sometimes ghastly, surprisingly awful deaths ….. oh, and did I mention the book is told in rhyming couplets?”
The response to this explanation may be a look of bewilderment or amazement. Granted The Gashlycrumb Tinies is not a conventional alphabet book but it delivers a hilarious journey into the macabre while at least delivering some educational significance. One can see the paradox of Gorey’s work as being intriguing yet morose, hence the category “guilty pleasure”. Should you like seeing illustrations of children in peril? Probably not, but Gorey brings a whimsy to it that makes it palatable. Maybe it’s the Edwardian feel of the text and the dark crosshatch renderings of the hapless brood, whatever it is, I am a fan, and if you’re not faint of heart, perhaps you will be too.
Check out the narrated version .... if you dare!