Sunday, June 24, 2012
A Resourceful Sailing Slobberdog
Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952) wrote some of my favorite children's books. Who doesn't love Goodnight Moon? Or The Runaway Bunny? Or Little Donkey, Close Your Eyes? Or Nibble Nibble? I could keep this up all night.
Margaret Wise Brown
Golden Books posthumously published The Sailor Dog (also known as Scuppers the Sailor Dog) (1953) (illustrated by Garth Williams), which was reissued in 2001 minus four pages of illustrations and text. What did the publisher omit from the original 1953 edition? That always makes moi suspicious. (I'm reminded of the late Ray Bradbury's experience with his publisher's censorship of later editions of Fahrenheit 451, ironically a book about censorship.) On the technological plus side, an interactive CD-ROM edition was released in 1996, so that was pretty forward-thinking of Random House.
Amazon.com book reviewer Christine Whittington reported the content from the 2001 excised quartet from the 1953 original: "The thing to watch out for in this new edition is that four pages of illustration and some text from the original edition are left out--the airplane scene, fishing scene, and the little house at night with smoke coming out of the chimney." She recommends keeping an old copy, if you have one from your childhood--you of the 1950s generation--but she encourages readers to buy a new copy for today's youngsters "to chew on." (I'm guessing she doesn't mean that literally, unless those young readers are slobberdogs or felines.)
What's the book about? Our book trailer gives a hint.
This Scuppers fellow is quite the resourceful slobberdog. Plus he's a fine sailor. I especially like the yellow raincoat. That hat is just too cute! Like all of Brown's children's books, the rhythms are captivating, and the wordplay will hold youngsters' rapt attention. The illustrations by Garth Williams (1912-1996) are sweet and endearing, as always. The story has adventure, excitement, inventiveness, perseverance, and exotic destinations. It's Treasure Island for slobberdogs. (Okay, maybe not. There are no pirates, after all.) How about Robinson Crusoe for slobberdogs? A better analogy, to be sure.
Garth Williams, Illustrator of Many Classic Children's Books
If you're an early reader right now (say, preschool or early elementary ages), then your grandparents (possibly great-grandparents) thrilled at Margaret Wise Brown's many outstanding children's stories. This was one of them, and you don't want to miss out. Try to find a 1953 edition, if you can. I'd love to see those missing four pages. For Evergreen Indiana library cardholders, try here and here.
I'd Look Spiffy in a Yellow Raincoat -- Just Saying,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat
P.S. Want to see a video adaptation of The Sailor Dog? I'd rather read the book, but some folks enjoy videos, too. There's a place for all media in early literacy.