Yes, that Dorothy Kunhardt — of Pat the Bunnyfame. 🙂 Junket is Nice is Kunhardt’s first book, published in 1933, seven years before Pat the Bunny. Thank goodness New York Review Books re-issued Junket is Nice as part of their Children’s Collection (which features little known or forgotten titles), or I might never have learned about junket, which is described on the back cover as “a delicious custard and a lovely dessert.”
It’s a simple story, really. Call it “inspired nonsense.” Yet I can see why it would appeal to kids and young-at-heart adults.
Seems there’s this man with a bushy red beard wearing red slippers eating a very large bowl of junket. Spoonful after spoonful, eating and eating and eating like there was no tomorrow.
People were surprised at how hungry this man was and they soon began to arrive from far and near just to watch him eat. They all told their friends and more and more people kept coming and coming until every single person in the world was there, including a little boy in red socks riding his tricycle.
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Well, no. Not exactly.
There’s more to this story than meets the eye.
🎻ACT ONE, or The Real Story 🎻
It seems nursery rhymers of yore mistook our dear Miss Muffet for a dainty scaredy-cat milquetoast without really considering:
her true potential
some spiders are undeniably cool
the inherent power of cottage cheese.
Now, thanks to Marilyn Singer and David Litchfield, Miss Patience Muffetfinally gets her props in a hilarious new picture book, Miss Muffet, or What Came After (Clarion, 2016), proving, once and for all, that where there’s a will there’s a whey. 🙂
Told in sprightly verse as a rousing musical theatre production, the book features a fetching cast that includes an off-stage narrator, a chorus of three (gardener + 2 maids), Webster the spider, and nursery characters Little Bo-Peep and Old King Cole, among others. These clever players had me from their opening lines.
Her given name was Patience.
Her schoolmates called her Pat.
In the garden on a stool
is where one day she sat.
What do we know about her?
Just this much, if you please:
She didn’t care for spiders,
but she did love cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese, cottage cheese, she eats it every day. Cottage, cottage, cottage cheese, she calls it curds and whey.
In December or in June, in a bowl, with a spoon. Cottage cheese, cottage cheese. Very tasty (slightly pasty), or so we’ve heard her say!
We soon learn that much to her parents’ dismay (her mother yearns for a perfect little miss and her father wishes she’d share his passion for bugs), Pat has a mind of her own.
On this crisp and clear Halloween Eve, we’re serving up a tasty poem by London-based author Elli Woollard.
I love noshing at her wonderful blog, Taking Words for a Stroll, which is a gold mine of fun, whimsical, silly and nonsensical rhymes, sure to put a smile on your face and make you want to indulge in some wordplay of your own.
When I saw “There’s a Fly in My Soup,” I knew I just had to share it here. Soup — my middle name! And since it’s almost Halloween and all, it’s a good time to swallow a few flies, spiders and other creatures with rascally relish. Bugs, birds and goats never tasted so good.
Please help yourself to a mug of coffee, tea or milk and a blueberry crumb bar — just the thing for hopping from blog to blog and reading some good poems. 🙂
To set you on your way, thought I’d share a poem from Mary Szybist’sIncarnadine (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. I like the intersection between the temporal and the spiritual, the dissolution of will and ego while singing praise for the divine glory of the world. And, too, in this day and age of blatant self aggrandizement, it is humbling to contemplate Mother Nature’s largesse as well as her indifference to our inconsequential and fleeting existences, our infinitesimal obsessions.
HERE, THERE ARE BLUEBERRIES by Mary Szybist
When I see the bright clouds, a sky empty of moon and stars,
I wonder what I am, that anyone should note me.
Here there are blueberries, what should I fear?
Here there is bread in thick slices, of whom should I be afraid?
Under the swelling clouds, we spread our blankets.
Here in this meadow, we open our baskets
to unpack blueberries, whole bowls of them,
berries not by the work of our hands, berries not by the work of our fingers.
what taste the bright world has, whole fields
without wires, the blackened moss, the clouds
swelling at the edges of the meadow. And for this,
I did nothing, not even wonder.
You must live for something, they say. People don’t live just to keep on living.
But here is the quince tree, a sky bright and empty.
Here there are blueberries, there is no need to note me.
This poem appears near the end of the book, a sort of benediction. The entire collection is luminous and deeply thought provoking, with inventive explorations of the divine in everyday life. The National Book Award judges citation reads in part: “This is a religious book for nonbelievers, or a book of necessary doubts for the faithful.” Definitely worth a look — Szybist is a poet’s poet.
Now, please leave your links with Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to include the title of the poem you’re sharing or book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. The links page will stay up indefinitely and can be accessed at any time for your reading convenience.
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Thanks for joining us today. If you’d like the Blueberry Crumb Bars recipe, click over to Smitten Kitchen. Cool thoroughly before slicing and enjoy with a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!
(Here there are blueberries, here there are poems.)