AND THE GREEN GRASS GREW ALL AROUND
Schwartz, Alvin. 1992. ANDTHE GREEN GRASS GREW ALL AROUND. Ill. by Sue Truesdall.
New York: HarperCollins. ISBN: 0060227575.
In AND THE GREEN GRASS GREW ALL AROUND, Alvin Schwartz has compiled a collection
of folk poetry that children are familiar with and has organized these poems into fifteen catagories. The catagories
range from people, food, and school, to nonsense, riddles, fun and games, and those connected to nature. In the foreward
of the book, Schwartz comments that he learned that "Children all over the world had rhymes like mine with the same ideas
and the same rhythms." (p. ix.) Many of the poems in the collection have been passed down orally through generations
and have been enjoyed by children for many years.
One of the folklore poems I enjoyed was "Two Runs Will Win the Game."
"A man on third, two batters out,
Two runs will win the game.
If I could hit a home run clout,
Great would be my fame.
I hitched up my pants,
Spit on my hands,
Pulled down my cap
And faced the howling stands.
"Ball three!" the fans yelled with delight.
"Strike two!" the umpire said.
I knocked the next ball out of sight -
Then fell right out of bed." (p. 66).
I thought it was sly and ironic that the young man awoke before getting to see
if he had made the home run he had been dreaming of. I could picture the young man falling out of bed and chuckled when imaging
Many of the poems are pure fun to read through and bring reminders of childhood;
when times were simpler and fun. Schwartz has collected a variety of poems from around the country. I found several
variants of poems I knew, rather than the poem I was familiar with. I found myself laughing at some of the poems and
found others I thought were very clever.
The book contains black and white illustrations on every page to compliment the
poems, sometimes more than one drawing. The illustrations are drawn in such a way as to resemble children's drawings.
I found myself wishing that some of the illustrations would have been in color, but on the other hand, color may have taken
away from the reader's imagination. One of the larger, full-page illustrations was of a tree with the grass growing
around it to illustrate the poem And The Green Grass Grew All Around which is also the title of the book.
This is an entertaining book that children will enjoy. They will be able
to easily relate to the poems and will have fun reading the riddles and games, some they may be familiar with, or they may
even find a new version of an old favorite.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS!
Scieszka, Jon. 1989. THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS! Ill. by Lane Smith. New
York: Viking. ISBN: 0670888443.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS! is a retelling of the traditional story
with a new twist. This time it is told from the wolf's point of view. I particularly enjoyed the "letter" from
the wolf at the beginning of the book claiming that he had been framed and there was a logical explanation for the whole fiasco.
In his defense, Mr. Alexander Wolf explains that he was making a cake for his grandmother
and ran out of sugar. It wasn't his fault that he also had a violent head cold. So he decided to go to his neighbor's
house, the little pig who's house was made from straw, to borrow some sugar. He then had to sneeze so violently that
he blew the straw house down and killed the pig. Mr. Wolf then explains, "It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly
good ham dinner lying there in the straw. So I ate it up." Still needing sugar for his cake, he went to the next
neighbor's house, the first little pig's brother, and the same thing happened with his house built of sticks. According
to Mr. Wolf, when he reached the third pig's house, the pig insulted his grandmother, which so infuriated Mr. Wolf, that he
tried to break in and was making a real scene when the police arrived. Needless to say, he was arrested and he claims
the reporters have "jazzed up" the story to make it more interesting.
Children and adults alike will enjoy Lane Smith's illustrations. The picture
of the giant cheeseburger is quite funny because you can see rabbit ears and the back end of a mouse as well as paws here
and a nose there hanging out from between the bun and the rest of the ingredients. Also included is an illustration
of a chalkboard that shows a sneeze + sugar with drawings of these items and a hand holding a pointer to them to
enforce the idea that this story is all about these two things. Children will enjoy the illustrations showing the dead
pigs' bottoms poking out from the debris of the destroyed houses. Lane Smith has used the colors brown and black frequently
to give the illustrations a dark tone to go with the darker them of the story, after all, the pigs have died. The illustrator
has also made frequent use of red and yellow to make objects stand out in the illustrations.
This is one of my favorite books to read to my children. Now that they are
getting older, they are understanding more of the humor aimed at adults which makes the story fresh again for them.
For example, they now understand the wolf's complaints about the press exaggerating the story after going through the last
This twist on a classic story is enjoyable for both children and adults.
It shows children that there is more than one side to every story and adults will enjoy the sly wit and humor of Scieszka.