Poet-Aches and Toothaches

Pains of the soul versus pains of the tooth. From Hans Christian Andersen’s story “Auntie Toothache,” found in the  Penguin Classic compilation of his “Fairy Tales.” 


If Only, the Hippogriff

Hippogriff Lit LiteratureIt’s the rainy season in Bogotá, Colombia, where I live. This can mean cold rain and overhanging black clouds for three months straight.

But today the sun is out, and I am taking my baby to the park. So in honor of this critical event, I am posting a poem by playful children’s poet X. J. Kennedy.

To look at this fictitious steed
You’d think some mixed-up farmer
Had crossed an eagle with a horse.
It carries knights in armor
Through cloud fields at terrific speed.
I wish the Hippogriff
Would take me for a ride. Of course
It’s not real.
                     But oh, if . . .!


Before publishing children’s poetry, Kennedy built a solid reputation writing “serious” poetry, putting together textbooks and even running a literary magazine with his wife. It wasn’t until 1975, when Kennedy was close to fifty, that he began publishing volumes of children’s poetry.

Some of his more notable books include “Elympics,” dedicated to an elephant Olympics; “The Beasts of Bethlehem,” about the animals present during the birth of baby Jesus; and the self-explanatory “Brats, Fresh Brats and Drat these Brats!”

What I really love about children’s poetry is that, when it’s good, it is joyful, clever and refreshing fun.

Pop-up Cars

Pop-up books cars automobiles antique classicpop-up book cars automobiles books

Here is my second post from my collaboration with Zeteo is Reading:

The last time we were in Boston, my husband and I stopped by the The Curious George Store in Harvard Square. Granted, it helps to have a baby on the way, but the shop is a certified happy place. We got our baby-to-be two books — Curious George Cleans Up and Cars: A Pop-Up Book of Automobiles by Robert Crowther.

Now that my son is sort of paying attention to things, I’ve tried reading him the books, especially Cars. This pop-up book is a work of art, which also means that it is not baby proof. Its lovely moving parts are in constant danger of being torn off and eaten.

Despite these hazards, I managed to read the following fun facts:

  1. Many consider Frenchman Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot as the inventor of the first successful automobile in 1769. It reached speeds of 4 miles per hour.
  2. But, the first true car was invented by Karl Benz in 1885. His reached speeds of 10 miles per hour. It is claimed that Mr Benz never learned how to drive.

To read the rest of the fun facts, please click here. 

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