Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little Fur Family

From 1946. Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Garth Williams.

I discovered this book on one of my first trips to Books of Wonder with Bodhi, while I was still in the dreamy haze of new motherhood and the lazy days of maternity leave. As soon as I read it, I fell in love. No one writes poetic children's stories like Margaret Wise Brown (she of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny fame), and I have to say, this one's my favorite. It's wacky, mysterious, enchanting, hypnotic and brilliant. This gentle lullaby stars three unidentifiable mammals (that strangely look a lot like family!) begins:

There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm wooden tree.

What an intro. The little fur child (that's his name) has a lovely bath then heads out for a solo, woodland adventure. He visits his Grandpa and then encounters some other creatures - fish in a river, a flying bug and (Bodhi loves this part)...

Then he caught a little tiny tiny fur animal.
The littlest fur animal in the world.
It had warm silky fur and even a little fur nose.
So he kissed it right on its little fur nose
and put it gently back in the grass
and the little tiny tiny fur animal
ran down a hole into the ground.

YES! It's like a kyewt acid trip!

The little fur child heads home to a hot supper and his big fur parents and gets tucked into bed. The book ends with:

...they tucked him in bed
all soft and warm
and they held his paw
and they sang him a song:

Sleep, sleep our little fur child
out of the windiness, out of the wild
Sleep warm in your fur, all night long,
In your little fur family.
This is a song.

You have to sing the last page. A fun challenge. My melody has been the same for a while - it's not very good, but I do my best.

The illustrations by Garth Williams (A Cricket In Times Square, Bedtime For Francis and so many many more) are just fantastic.

Oh, and you can buy the fur edition, completely covered in cuddly faux fur. Loves.

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