Monday, June 14, 2010

Now all around the room in one big line.

In the comments to "Beware the boy with one shoe" (June 11) Kathi Taylor sent this link to a great YouTube video made by the wondrous writer and illustrator Sandra Boynton, featuring national treasure B.B.King. I urge it on everyone.

Sandra Boynton has been big in our house. At one point, I had her complete works (the post title comes from Pajama Time), but I fear advancing age -- the boys' not mine -- has slowed down our acquisition. In fact, I love her line so much that in our humble two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, I copied some of her illustrations to make murals for Primus's bedroom. One wall had the characters from the immortal Barnyard Dance in two-feet high figures:

  . . . while on the opposite wall, her A to Z alphabet book trickled down and around the changing table:

When Secundus arrived, we yielded the bigger bedroom to the boys and their plastic undergrowth, and so Sandra Boynton's pictures now became the decoration for the master bedroom. Which was fine by me. They stayed until we moved out of Manhattan -- Tertius may have had a month to admire them from his cradle. But to get the apartment suitable for buyers, all the paintings disappeared under a coat of Benjamin Moore's Linen White, and these hastily grabbed pre-digital prints are the only record I have.

Also under the off-white roller went the wall-to-wall mural I'd painted in the boys' new room (Leonardo had the same problems), a collage of Primus's favorite books in an English landscape, with two of the Reverend Mr. Audry's engines anchoring the composition -- they happen to share Primus's first and second names.

I'm fond of the distant chessboard landscape from Through the Looking Glass, but I take most pride in the curving fence to the left of Thomas. I worked for ages to get the perspective and shadows right. Again, I could only snatch some shots with a 35-mm camera with on-camera flash before the painters obliterated my weeks of work. Maybe one day I'll put in the time with Photoshop to get a better record of my efforts -- clearly starting with some color correction.

Ah well, another lost masterpiece. History's littered with 'em. As Alexander the Pope once said, "In human works, tho'  labored on with pain/a thousand movements scarce one purpose gain."


  1. My boys were too old for Boynton, and the Grands have mostly outgrown her too (they now live in Beibertown, unfortunately). But we spent many a Grandma/Grandgirl day singing *jamma jamma jamma PJ
    !* and going berserk with the hippos. Good times.

  2. Pajammy to the left, pajammy to the right! I was always proud that I found the right rhythm for that book. Same with Chick-a-chick-a-boom-boom.

  3. My favorite was Chloe and Maude. Good times.