A Poem for Mrs. Teaberry
August 26, 2021
Mrs. Teaberry was Mr. Putter’s neighbor.
She dreamed of snowdrifts—
tulips and roses,
birds instead of fish.
He promised her a nice cup of tea.
Mrs. Teaberry was delighted.
They watched the snow fall
all night long.
The two of them
sat a long time,
living side by side.
"Together" is a found poem, a cento, of lines from four books in Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series for beginning readers. I didn’t go into the poem thinking that it would focus on Mrs. Teaberry and her relationship with Mr. Putter, but that’s how it turned out. She’s an important secondary character in these books, and as much as I love Tabby, Mr. Putter’s cat, I also relate to Mrs. T, who likes strange things and makes dresses for her teapots. Paging through our copies, I once again admire Arthur Howard’s illustrations and how much they add to the story. The expressions, both human and animal, are priceless.
Title: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane
Line 1: Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish
Lines 2-4: Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake
Line 5: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane
Line 6: Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish
Line 7: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane
Lines 8-10: Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake
Lines 11-14: Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog
Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.
Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 2001.
Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997.
Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.
Elisabeth Norton hosts the Poetry Friday roundup, at Unexpected Intersections on Friday, August 27, 2021.
Photo by ST. I found that teapot and at least a couple of those books at the local Goodwill store some years ago.
What a fun poem! I love that you were inspired by books that you love! Your treasures from Goodwill are wonderful. Thank you for inspiring me to think about books I love in a poetic way.
Posted by: Amy | August 27, 2021 at 09:53 AM
I feel like I've been allowed to peek in the window to see two old friends. I have loved Mr. Putter for a very long time.
Posted by: Marilyn Miner | August 27, 2021 at 10:45 AM
Amy, I have a soft spot for those beginning readers, and can recall laughing a lot over Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish with my now-grown son.
Marilyn, yes! Me, too. These books are real treasures.
Posted by: Susan T. | August 27, 2021 at 11:28 AM
I love the Mr. Putter and Tabby books. How delightful that you wrote about the friendship with Mrs. Teaberry!
Posted by: Linda Baie | August 27, 2021 at 06:25 PM
It’s the sweetest relationship! And funny.
Posted by: Susan T. | August 27, 2021 at 06:32 PM
I adore Mr. Putter and Tabby and love that they inspired you to write about Mrs. Teaberry.
Posted by: Molly Hogan | August 27, 2021 at 08:30 PM
Molly, they’re the best, aren’t they!
Posted by: Susan T. | August 27, 2021 at 09:21 PM
One of my all-time favorite series, EVER! I love that you focused on Mrs. Teaberry. Thanks so much for this delightful post today. :0)
Posted by: Robyn Hood Black | August 27, 2021 at 10:26 PM
You’re so welcome, Robyn. I also have a soft spot for the Fluffy the guinea pig books, too. Hmmm.
Posted by: Susan | August 27, 2021 at 10:35 PM
Cynthia Rylant's "Mr. Putter & Tabby" books are favorites of mine, and I love that you focused in on Mrs. Teaberry–who I remember. And the art works so wonderfully with the stories too, thanks Susan!
Posted by: Michelle Kogan | August 28, 2021 at 01:40 AM
Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! I was really happy to capture a bit of Arthur Howard's witty art in the picture.
Posted by: Susan T. | August 28, 2021 at 08:53 AM
Susan, what a sweet poem! I love Mr. Putter and Tabby, and I haven't read them for so many years because I went from teaching second grade, when we all loved them along with other Rylant series, to moving up to middle school way back in 2006. I will need some reacquainting! Your poem was a lovely reminder.
Posted by: Denise Krebs | August 28, 2021 at 12:12 PM
This is lovely! I cozy portrait of two characters that brings a smile as I read it.
Posted by: Elisabeth | August 28, 2021 at 12:48 PM
That's a big jump, Denise! But, then again, I think of second graders as the college students of the early primary grades, so much more mature than first graders. (I'm a volunteer reader for a 2nd grade class.) Thanks for the kind words.
Elisabeth, thank you! Those books are really cozy and reassuring, and I really did enjoy spending time with the cast of characters again, including Mrs. Teaberry's "dream dog" Zeke. (He is so not a dream dog, but they don't tell Mrs. Teaberry that.)
Posted by: Susan T. | August 28, 2021 at 01:14 PM
I am charmed--by the poem, by the consideration of secondary characters, by the cento. Thanks for slowing us way down for this appreciation. Clearly I and my Mrs. Peachbottom character need to spend some time with Mr. P and Mrs. T!
Posted by: Heidi Mordhorst | August 29, 2021 at 07:43 AM
Thanks so much, Heidi. These books and characters really do have a lot of charm. I read Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish to second graders this spring, and was reminded of how much I like the series. (Love the name Mrs. Peachbottom!)
Posted by: Susan T. | August 29, 2021 at 08:46 AM
Thanks for reminding me of these fabulous characters/books. :)
Posted by: Bridget Magee | August 29, 2021 at 02:07 PM
Any time, Bridget! Our son is grown, but we kept these books. I'm glad that we did.
Posted by: Susan T. | August 29, 2021 at 02:56 PM
Fun! And now I want to try writing a cento. Do you just pick favorite lines and go from there, or do you start with an idea and then search for lines to support it?
Posted by: Mary Lee | August 30, 2021 at 09:34 PM