Today I'm celebrating a gem of a picture book written by N.M. Bodecker and illustrated by Erik Blegvad--Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear (Margaret K. McElderry, 1998). The weather this week has been cold and gray, and if anyone had any doubts that winter would soon be here, they quickly had their minds changed. The worsening weather put me in mind of Hurry, Hurry, Dear Mary, and I pulled it from the shelf to enjoy once more.
The text is taken from a nonsense poem written in 1975 by N.M. (Bo) Bodecker. It had been published in 1976 in Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear and Other Nonsense Poems (Atheneum). Bodecker died in 1988 and his old friend Blegvad, took the poem, reillustrated it in color, and saw to its publication as a picture book. As Blegvad tells us in the foreward,
He illustrated them with the most delightful pen and ink drawings. Bo was a superb illustrator. My illustrations here are based on Bo's...
I'm pleased that Erik Blegvad brought the poem to life. It is a fabulous book to read aloud, and the pictures are full of little jokes that appeal to both a child and an adult. Regretably, it's now out of print, but I'd recommend searching it out at your local public library. If the library doesn't have it, ask if they'll get it on interlibrary loan.
So, until you get a copy in your own hands, here's a little bit of Hurry, Hurry, Dear Mary to tide you over:
Pull the curtains,
close the shutters.
Dreadfully the wild wind mutters.
Oil the snowshoes,
stoke the fires.
Soon the roads are hopeless mires.
Keep warm dear readers!