When I was little and still learning to read, my dad would read to me before I went to bed. One of my favorites was The Monster at the End of This Book, featuring Grover from Sesame Street. The other favorite was Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.
We read from that book so often that the binding is broken. Now, when I open the book, the pages fall out in four sections. One of my favorites was “Hungry Mungry.” I loved the rhymes of “Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too.” I hated and avoided eating peanut butter because of “Peanut Butter Sandwich.” Then there was “The Unicorn,” which explained why unicorns didn’t exist anymore.
Today, I still enjoy all of those poems. But there are gems that didn’t stick with me then like they do now. There’s the leading poem, “Invitation.” I inscribed this in the front cover of one of my journals from a few years back. And “Forgotten Language,” which resonates more the older I get.
This poetry collection should’ve been on my “25 Years, 25 Books” list. It should be number one, before the Little House books. In the end, I kept it off the list because it was the only poetry collection, and I chose to focus on fiction books. I pull it off the shelf every few months and flip through the pages (or, rather, chunks of pages) reminiscing and laughing at the poems I love so much.