My Favorite Things: Sandra Boynton

It's really cold, and I'm grumpy. So this week we're going to talk about my favorite things.

My mom gave each of us a calendar every Christmas. When I was eight or nine, mine was a Sandra Boynton cartoon calendar. The January picture was of a bunch of cats in a hot air balloon, and the caption said: "Oh no! It's only January, and this calendar already has catsup on it!" Get it? Catsup? Cats, up in the air? You can bet that my eight-year-old self found that very funny.

But it wasn't until I had my first child that I became a true Boynton afficionado. Mallory had almost every Boynton board book, and we loved them all. The ABC book, with the Penguins Painting and the Kangaroos Kissing. Blue Hat, Green Hat (oops!). Hey, Wake Up! with its broccoli stew (for the rabbit, not for you!) and The Bedtime Book with its perfect last line (The moon is high, the sea is deep, they rock and rock and rock to sleep). But her very favorite book, the one we read for bedtime for probably six months straight, was this one:

There is nothing funnier than hippos going berserk.

When Mallory was a bit older, we discovered Boynton's music, in particular the "Philadelphia Chickens" album. My very favorite song was "Please can I keep it?" (It followed me home, what exactly it is I don't know), and I can't think of "Faraway Cookies" without laughing. It's a song about a kid unable to reach the cookie jar, which is funny, but it's set to this very melancholy tune, and one day it came on and Mallory listened for a few bars and then just burst into tears. "What's wrong?" we asked in concern, and she said, "It's...just...so...sad!"

Above all others, though, Mallory loved "Snuggle Puppy"; we often had to put "Snuggle Puppy" on repeat so she could listen to it over and over and over. She preferred to do this while sitting on my lap, snuggling, of course. And it's no wonder she loved it so much; it's about a parent loving a child:

OOO, Snuggly Puppy of mine,
Everything about you is especially fine!
I love what you are
I love what you do
Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy I love you!

For some reason, though, we didn't read much Boynton to Phoebe. Maybe it was because when Phoebe was a baby, Mallory got to pick out the books, and she'd outgrown the board books by then. (Also, Phoebe has generally preferred reading to herself to being read to.) Similarly, Mallory started to spurn Philadelphia Chickens in favor of Grease and Drake Bell (sigh), so Phoebe never really heard the Boynton songs either.

But Saturday night, Phoebe came to me with a stack of board books -- including The Bedtime Book and Snuggle Puppy. And we read them over and over, and I taught her to sing Snuggle Puppy, and it all came back to me, how sweet and funny the rhymes are, and how there is nothing cuter than Boynton's hippos and bunnies and penguins -- nothing, that is, than your own personal snuggle puppy, singing about how much you love her.


aimee said...

You can bet that I sang right along to the words to Snuggle Puppy. I love her too.

Our favorite book was Doggies. Loved so much it is torn apart now. I loved when Noah was a baby, Rhett would read it to him.

MomofK9s said...

For the past 2 years I have used the Sandra Boynton Mom's Family Desk Planner and it is my favorite! -ok well mine is actually the "Dog" Mom's Family Desk Planner (and yes, I did write Dog on every page. I know, I am a weirdo!) I love her work.

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