Poetry Friday: The Book of Pigericks
August 31, 2007
There are some days that call for a 48-page of pig poems after dinner. Days when a little revival, a second wind, or some humor is needed before the nighttime routine begins its inevitable march toward
arguing about bedtime slumber.
Here I make a case for The Book of Pigericks, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, of Frog and Toad fame. I wish to quote from the 1983 picture book, but to do so and avoid copyright infringement, I must make use of an unwanted device: literary criticism. To wit,
There was a fat pig from Savannah
Savannah is in Georgia; this pig is Southern.
Who set foot on a peel of banana.
Note the felicitous phrase "peel of banana" to describe a fruit skin.
As he came crashing down,
Lobel's Savannah-dwelling pig presents as a top-hatted, three-piece-suit-wearing dandy who walks on two feet. Comeuppance is nigh.
Every person in town
Actually they're pigs.
Thought an earthquake was shaking Savannah.
A comment on the alarmed and yet unhelpful reaction of the dandy pig's fellow villagers. Surely an exaggeration.
Parsing this text, an astute reader may have concluded that these "original limericks about all manner of pigs" (as the card catalogue description characterizes the book's contents) are mighty silly. That would be correct. Look for The Book of Pigericks at the library since it is out of print.
The Book of Pigericks
by Arnold Lobel
Harper & Row, 1983
for ages 4-8 (and anyone else who likes pig poems and limericks)
For more rhymes, check the Poetry Friday roundup at the blog Mentor Texts, Readalouds & More.
I'm up for ANYTHING by Arnold Lobel. And this sounds so much like what I might need on those days when there's not a banana peel in sight.
(Love your "literary criticism." I'm thinking you might have invented a new form of poetry there.)
Posted by: Sara | August 31, 2007 at 09:10 AM
Sara, the illustrations are wonderful, too. Really funny. One of the recurring pigs looks like Lobel.
Posted by: Susan | August 31, 2007 at 09:19 AM
Excellent criticism. Although taking one poem out of a large collection and posting it as an example is also an acceptable (non-violative) use.
Posted by: Kelly Fineman | August 31, 2007 at 10:26 AM
It is? That's good to know! Thanks, Kelly.
Posted by: Susan | August 31, 2007 at 10:31 AM
Yeah -- then it's just an excerpt from a longer work (the full collection). Book reviewers do this All The Time at newspapers, in magazines, and elsewhere -- it's fair use because you are educating someone about the collection, etc.
There's a caveat (as always) about the size of the sample, but one or two limericks out of a book of many would be okay. Here's a link to Stanford's page on fair use in copyright: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/index.html (it's surprisingly understandable).
Posted by: Kelly Fineman | August 31, 2007 at 01:18 PM
OK, I agree with Kelly's assessment, but Susan, I loved the play between your words and his. It added another level that made me even more amused. Seriously, IS there a name for constructing a new poem like this?
Posted by: Sara | August 31, 2007 at 01:39 PM
"Estate of Frog and Toad Challenges Chicken Spaghetti"
Ha. I like that headline.
I read the Stanford information, Kelly, but some doubt lingers in my mind. Yes, you're educating someone about the longer work, but you could say that about a book of photographs, too, and I know you can't post a photo without permission.
I find this all very interesting.
Thanks, Sara. I had fun with the book!
Posted by: Susan | August 31, 2007 at 01:59 PM
How cute! I loved your literary criticism. This reminded me of a game I used to have as a kid called Pigmania--that might well be out of print, too...
Posted by: a. fortis | August 31, 2007 at 08:26 PM
Thanks, A.F. This is a hoot of a book. Pigmania? Sounds like my kind of game.
Posted by: Susan | August 31, 2007 at 08:59 PM