11 August 2004

Happy Birthday, Don Freeman!

"Corduroy is a bear who once lived in the toy department of a big store. Day after day he waited with all the other animals and dolls for somebody to come along and take him home..." (from Corduroy by Don Freeman)

When I was in junior high, my English teacher, Mr. Wisowaty, read this book to our class, believing (as I do) that you are never too old for picture books. I remember being captivated.

Later, when I was in high school and my cousin Paul was a baby, I must have read this book about a thousand times. I think it is the only children's book I know straight through by heart.

Today would have been the 96th birthday of Don Freeman, the creator of this magical book. He also played jazz trumpet. I seem to remember reading that he wasn't sure which path to pursue, jazz or art, until he left his trumpet on the subway and the decision was made. I don;t know if that story is true, but I am grateful he chose to create so many beautiful picture books all the same.

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