Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poetry 16: Ogden Nash

This one's for A, my oldest, who memorized parts of Isabel this week. It was easy, because he really already knew it. I have been reading it to my kids for years. We have the best collection of poetry for kids, called Sing a Song of Popcorn. It was a baby gift from a friend in Berkeley who was a librarian. (Could there be a better baby gift?) Anyway, it feels fantastic to read such cleverly-rhymed and rhythmic poetry to children. Reading with my kids has been my favorite part of parenting.

Adventures of Isabel
by Ogden Nash

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry.
Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
The witch's face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I'll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,
Isabel didn't scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.

Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,
I'll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,
Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She nibbled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant's head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor's talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor's satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,
Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

How fantastic is the rhyming of "rancor" and "drank her," or "horrid" and "forehead"??? My favorite line: "The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled." Delightful.

1 comment:

Th. said...



I had never read this before, then yesterday I picked up and read the James Marshall illustrated version at the library.