ON THE DAY PETER STUYVESANT SAILED INTO TOWN
Puffed-up, peg-legged, hawk-nosed Peter Stuyvesant, a feather in his wide-brimmed hat, a buckle on his boot, could be the Captain of the Pinafore the way he self-asserts: he makes a great, grand entrance and Lobel makes it rhyme. "'My friends,' Peter said, 'it is nice to be here/ For my voyage was really a long one./ I will rule this new land with a very firm hand,/ And my government will be a strong one./ Yes, my government will be a strong one.'" For those who don't know about the order he made out of the chaos that was New Amsterdam, Mr. Lobel provides a factual preface, but this Peter Stuyvesant is no textbook governor: no, no textbook governor would sit in the street ("a goat from behind, in a manner unkind,/ Gave Peter a push on his seat"). "'This New World is a mess!' Peter cried in distress-/ 'These animals need gates and fences./ Take these birds to a cage!' Peter shouted in rage./ 'Oh, good Dutchmen, let's come to our senses!'" They do, after hemming and hawing (it's all in the drawing), and then "'Let us have a big Dutch celebration!'" -- at which "Someone asked, 'Will the town stay as small as it is?'" and old Stuyvesant uses his bedtime imagination. He "knew he was dreaming" and what does he dream but Manhattan today (again, pictured); and what indeed could better consummate what is what else but the jauntiest Pilgrim's Progress on record? Droll, too.