Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Is A Song

When No and I were young, among the books Mom read to us was Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown (the author of the much more famous Goodnight Moon). The story focuses on the little fur child, who spends the day hanging out in the wild wood where the family lives, meeting creatures that fly and swim and an even smaller little fur person. At the end of the book, the little fur parents sing a going-to-bed song to the little fur child.

This is my favorite illustration, all by Garth Williams, in the book, though there are many that I really like. I can imagine the little fur father singing in a big voice as if he is singing in a chorus, while the little fur mother sings more quietly to help put her child to sleep.

In truth, though, I probably like this one best because when we got to the end of the book, Mom would sing us the song. At the end, the last line of which is"This is a song," she added her own lyrics to teach us some baby music theory: "with whole notes and half notes and quarter notes and eighth notes." At some point we asked her to write in her lyrics because a babysitter didn't sing the last part when we taught her the tune.

When JayBear came into my life, I gave him a copy and taught the tune to Miz Jinkins, including the last, apocryphal, verse. He so associates the song with bedtime that I don't get to sing it when we're together because it makes him think it's time to go to sleep, and he doesn't want to go to bed when Zirpu and I are over to play.

Some years ago I found the copy of Little Fur Family that Mom used to read to No and me. Last Wednesday evening after work I was going to meet No, KT, Zaye, and Mom, and I remembered I'd wanted to give to the little book to Zaye when Mom was present. I snatched it out of the bookshelf just before I left that morning.

No smiled and Mom exclaimed, "Is this THE book?!" as she opened it to the last page. KT giggled. As usual, Zaye looked all around at the lights and the people in the restaurant. I'm really glad I saved the book for him, without even knowing who or when he was going to be, all that time ago...

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