THE ROSE IN MY GARDEN
A horticultural House That Jack Built--with the infectiousness of a nursery rhyme, an abundance of child-wise visual detail, a rousing return-to-square-one climax. The first stanza is picture-book genius: "This is the rose in my garden/ This is the bee/ That sleeps on the rose in my garden." There is the garden, flora and fauna; there, in abeyance, is "the plot"--for what sleeps must awaken. Successively, other flowers join the rose: "Hollyhocks high above ground," "marigolds orange and round," "zinnias straight in a row," "daisies white as the snow"--and, lastly, "tulips sturdy and tall," "sunflowers tallest of all." (Gardeners will regret--but mostly forgive--seeing spring tulips alongside summer's-end sunflowers.) Meanwhile one or another garden denizen--snail, butterfly, beetle, hummingbird, ladybug, ant--makes its way (often, from literally outside the picture) into the scene, to go about its customary business unnoted except by any and every child. Then, a disruption: "This is the fieldmouse shaking in fear"--who'll be chased by "the cat with the tattered ear," tearing through the flower-border, waking the bee. . . who (wordlessly) stings the cat, leaving "the rose in my garden." An old English floral design, in effect, come to exuberant life.