THE PUP GREW UP! by Samuel Marshak


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A brief story, or joke, about a lady with six items that she checks on a train journey (""a pan/A divan/A basin/A box/With three locks/A valise/And a tiny Pekingese"")--only to arrive at her journey's end and find that she now has a Great Dane in place of the Pekingese. Marshak, who died in 1964, was a well-known Russian author and publisher for children; Pevear's: unusually felicitous translation (it has cadence, humor, and some deft play with sound) places the lady and the train in Britain (London to Bowling Green), the Russian-born illustrator puts them in the early 30's, when the book was first published. His sharply defined figures are imposed on a stark-white ground for an almost surreal, timeless effect; there is sophisticated humor here, and a strong sense of design. The denouement, or punch line, will either fall flat or strike readers as hilarious (try it and see): another passenger suggests that ""Maybe/During the trip/Your little pup/Grew up!"" An offbeat possibility for picture-book hour.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1989
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Henry Holt