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It may not be a Caldecott Winner...
on November 16, 2004
...but the Poky Little Puppy is beloved by children of every generation. Early this summer I saw "Poky Little Puppy" t-shirts for adults being sold at a popular national retail chain near NYU. A few weeks later I still couldn't stop thinking about it, so I went back to buy one. They were all sold out. The store manager (who also was in his 30s) told me that all of their stores were sold out, both retail and online. People kept coming in asking if there was a wait list. I asked him if they were all college students, but he surprised me by saying that there were a fair number of adults. We started talking about our favorite books as children, and both had a good laugh over the fact that we'd loved the Poky Little Puppy as much as any of the classics by Sendak or Silverstein, but that as adults, we'd become blind adherents to the ratings, erroneously assuming that the Poky Little Puppy wasn't "real" children's literature because it won no awards or praise from the critics. As I was walking out, I turned and asked him if he remembered the book's refrain whenever the puppies rolled down the hill. He grinned and, in unison, we both said: "And down they went to see, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble, till they came to the green grass; and there they stopped short." Needless to say, this book now has a place on the bookshelf of every child in my family--and they all love it just as much as I did.