Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

Posts tagged ‘Children’s Stories’

Heartfelt Froggy of Ravenwood Pond: A Poem for Children

Heartfelt Frog 

T’was a stormy spring morn at woodland pond
When the Ravens flew from their treetop home,
And found their friend, Froggy, along lily pads
At water’s edge, gazing at the bubbly foam.

“Dear Froggy,” they cawed, “Please hold our magic wand,
As we search far and wide to look for our food.
Our little birdlets are still too young to fly,
We must find something to eat for our growing brood.”

The frog agreed he would guard the wand
And promised to keep it from all danger.
Froggy placed the wand on the lily pad
And vowed to protect it from all strangers.

As lightning bugs danced in the misty air
Froggie gazed on their fleeting reflections,
Dark clouds brought a burst of stormy showers
The wand slipped away, without detection.

Froggy surveyed the nearby lily pad,
But the shiny wand was now gone.
As rain drops slipped off the leaves, He cried,
Oh, no! it’s lost at the bottom of the pond!

He sat on the shore for a very long time
But he knew that he mustn’t stay fraught.
Froggie had let down his Raven friends.
He grasped his heart, “I’m so sorry,” he thought.

Froggie peered through the muddied water
And held his breath and swam down deep.
He searched through the muddy goo
Finding only twigs, he piled them in a heap.

In the distance Froggie heard the Raven’s call
But he knew that he must not stop.
With one more deep breath, dove down again
Found the wand! and swam to the waters’ top.

The Ravens flew to their friend, Froggy,
Now tightly holding their magic wand.
The Ravens could see what the Froggie had done
Then called to frog, “Please come out of the pond.”

Froggie was sad, as he had lost their wand
But the Ravens comforted him and said,
“You worked so hard to find what was lost.
Come and join us now and share our bread.”

The end of the story can now be told.
As friends they remained in their woodland haven.
For a heartfelt response means more than gold
For this we’ll remember–the Froggie and the Ravens.

The Bumper Book: Enchanting Stories from Childhood

Bumper BookWhen I was a child, the book I treasured most was The Bumper Book: A Harvest of Stories and Verse. The condition of my book would not command the $350 that this vintage edition is selling for on eBay: the binding is gone, pages are torn and the cover is well-worn. Published in 1946, and given to me for my fourth birthday, these stories, fables and poems were my bedtime companions. “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” by Eugene Field, “Animal Crackers” by Christopher Morley and “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson were some of my favorites. The colorful illustrations, printed on heavy glossy paper, fascinated me, drawing me into the stories because of the sweet depictions of the children in their vintage clothing.

 W, B, and Nod2

Thoughts on Anachronisms

One particular poem featured vignettes of the days of the week, illustrated with a little girl doing chores for each day. Around the turn of the 20th century, women’s chores were assigned a day of the week, as described on the blog, A Hundred Years Ago. When I was a child, I loved play houses, and the settings in these illustrations seemed to take place in child-sized surroundings. I marveled that somewhere children played in these finely crafted miniature homes.

The Week’s Calendar

Monday, Watch the bubbles fly –


Tuesday, See the wash get dry –
Wednesday, Mend with all our might  –


Thursday, Make things clean and bright –
Friday, Bad for dust and flies  –


Saturday, Good for cakes and pies.
Sunday, From all tasks we’re free
After church we have our tea.
–Frances Heilprin

Because the little girl was cleaning and cooking in these picture frames, I wonder about the message that gave me about preparing for the eventual role of running a house. And then I wondered again, was that such an unfortunate model? Regardless of our path in life, we do have to take care of a home, either as a single person or with a partner and children. Of course, the drawings would have been more socially progressive if she had a boy to help out.

In our hierarchy of important jobs, our culture views work inside the home as a lower value. Yet today, with so many demands on our time, managing a home is a difficult responsibility. Cleanliness, orderliness, household finances and meal preparation offer considerable challenges. Work inside the home is the glue that keeps any society held together. This is honorable and necessary work that is best shared by all in the household.

PICT0017 - Version 2

My  laundry circa 1949.

Question: Artistic Greatness

Eulalie Banks, a British/American illustrator, born in 1895 and who lived to be 102 years old, did all the artwork in the book.  In her obituary, Nicholas Tucker wrote,

Eulalie Banks illustrated over 50 children’s books during her long lifetime. Never a great artist, she was always a popular one.

Interesting how the terms never a great artist, fill the second line. Really? I’ve seen many testimonials on the Internet to the Bumper Book, as adults reflect on how the stories and artwork became part of their childhood. Many, like myself, read the stories to their own children. The delightful illustrations offered a window into a rich fantasy world, enhancing the writing of the authors and poets. Conventional interpretations of greatness rarely include the breadth of experiences of children, which would lead to wider interpretations of artistic influence and “greatness”.

More on Antique Books

Children’s Books Online: The Rosetta Project: Largest Collection of illustrated antique books on-line . . . we think.

Literature with Girls as Strong Characters

Strong Girl Character: Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels


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