cura librorum

A Hole is to Dig… ?
September 13, 2009, 22:09
Filed under: Book Reviews, Children's & YA
Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak

A Hole is to Dig.

A Hole is to Dig
(New York, HarperCollins, 1989, 48 pp., paperback, $6.95)

‘A Hole is to Dig,’ you say? Ruth Krauss – author of ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ and ‘The Carrot Seed.’ Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of children’s classics such as ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ ‘Chicken Soup With Rice,’ and ‘In the Night Kitchen.’ Such a pairing surely cannot fail to delight!

This 48 pager is pure genius – 48 pages of wordplay, giggles, chuckles, adorable sketches of children, animals, and whimsical imaginings. This is early reader’s literature at its absolute best. Although, I’m not sure how much I would have understood it when I was young – it’s the kind of wordplay that I love and chuckle at now, purely because I am older and I can dissociate words’ usual from their unexpected meanings. It’s the force of playful irony that makes it all work; the delight at the wit of a few words. How can you resist this:

Rugs are so you don’t get splinters in you
A floor is so you don’t fall in the hole your house is in
Hunh! Rugs are so dogs have napkins
A hole is for a mouse to live in

Or this:

Yes, indeed. I am so glad that I was charmed enough to buy this, now it sits on the shelf of my apartment, ready and willing to delight any visitor who might stop by and wish to be entertained.

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