Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Won't You Read to Me Wednesday?

I decided that it was time for another classic book. This week's feature is very special and extremely sentimental to me.....
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
by Eugene Field
illustrated by Sheilab Beckett

I couldn't find a picture of our edition, so I scanned it. This is the actual copy that my mom read to me and Cookie when we were little girls, which is why I am so sentimental about it. The book is a "Pudgy Pal" book and I just love the pictures. The colors aren't really pastel, but they are the perfect balance of light/bright. There is a lot of that "seafoam" color that I'm obsessed with. Anyway, it's a beautiful book.

The poem was originally written in 1889 by Eugene Field, a Denver journalist. It was orignially titled "Dutch Lullaby" (perfect, because in our book and my mind, the "wooden shoe" boat that the poem tells of looks just like a traditional Dutch clog). The poem basically tells a little story about three fishermen sailing in a wooden shoe in the night sky and fishing for stars. The fishermen symbolize a sleepy child's face- tired, blinking eyes and a nodding head. The boat represents the babe's trundle bed. It is such a dear, sweet poem.

I love the book because like a fairy tale, it really encourages a child's imagination. In fact, I think that the little boy or girl's imagination is a major component in this story. The rhyme is simple and the plot is basic enough (excluding one slightly confusing part about how Wynken and Blynken are eyes and Nod is a head, which always tripped me up as a little girl), so there is lots of opportunity for the child to enjoy visualing the story in his or her mind.

Since this book was a part of so many nights in my childhood, I took it upon myself to read it to Ann Peyton nightly since she was born. Sure, we may miss a night if we come in late or if she's extremely exhausted, but by and large, we read this book each night. I think that children thrive off of routines, but her nightime routine is one of the few real rituals our family does, so far. I've been meaning to write a entire post about Annie's "goodnight routine", so be looking for it!

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they 'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea---
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
And Nod.

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