Monday, July 30, 2007

Boston Rocks!

I just got back from a two-week trip to the East Coast, which included my first visit ever to New England. In my vow to keep my blog related to writing for children (and not bore people with things like what I had for lunch today), I’ll bring up two writing-related incidences—both occurring in Boston (a city which totally rocks, by the way).

First, (and shhh, don’t tell my husband this), I was on a secret mission to find the memorial statue of MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, one of my favorite classic children’s books. I love the story and the artwork, how the monotone illustrations capture the essence of all that is “duck.” We had barely gotten off “the T” and strolled over to the Boston Common when we found it. I was delighted in watching others approach the ducks and talk about the story. Children climbed onto the Mrs. Mallard’s back and hugged her as their parents snapped off photos. Kids and adults alike talked about the plight of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard of finding the perfect home for their ducklings. It was so wonderful to have that common bond with complete strangers of a favorite children’s book—a young woman half my age, young children, parents, and grandparents. Isn't that what children's literature is all about?

The second kid-lit related incident occurred in a graveyard, of all places. We were leaving The Granary Burying Ground (where we had seen Paul Revere’s grave), when a tour guide’s voice caught my ear. “So there you have the gravesite of Mother Goose.” Huh? I spun around so hard I almost gave myself whiplash. Mother Goose’s gravesite?

While doing research for the brief history of Mother Goose, which I had to write for my MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES series, I had read about Elizabeth Foster Goose, a Bostonian woman who supposedly wrote rhymes for children. However, my research also pointed out in France in the 1600’s, there were references to "Mere L'Oye", the wife of King Robert II, who also was believed to have created stories for children. Not much later, there were British references to Mother Goose.

Interesting how some people interpret history (such as the tour guide who so solidly deemed the woman in this grave as the definitive Mother Goose). Someone once told me that history is 10% facts and 90% interpretation of those facts. Good observation. Even where dear, old Mother Goose is concerned.

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

Hello, Terry. I loved Boston too, though never managed to visit the ducklings' memorial statue.

And yes, history is often no more than the reinterpretation of past events by people with an agenda they are determined to push. What is scary is that much of the time they win simply because we don't have the time or inclination to seek out other interpretations.