Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers. Illustrated by Luke Flowers. 2019. [March] Quirk. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: 
Won't You Be My Neighbor
It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Premise/plot: Quirk is publishing the poetry of Mister Rogers. I'll give you a moment or two to squeal. Most of the pieces are by Fred Rogers. But quite a few are by Josie Carey with the music being by Fred Rogers. These poems--or lyrics if you prefer--are noted as such. The book contains pieces that you'd expect: "Won't You Be My Neighbor," "Everything Grows Together," "Many Ways To Say I Love You," "You Are Special," "I'm Proud of You," "It's You I Like," and "What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel." But it also contains pieces that you've likely unfamiliar with. The songs that I did not know sometimes offered the most poetic food for thought.

I do not believe the book contains every poem--or song--by Mister Rogers. I can think of a handful it doesn't seem to include. (For example, "I'm Taking Care of You," "Look and Listen," "Peace and Quiet," "One and One are Two," "Everybody's Fancy."

This site seems to have a thorough listing of all the songs--including the ones from the operas

My thoughts: I LOVED this one. I especially loved the illustrations that were connected with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. For example, the illustration that goes with "It's You I Like" shows Mr. Rogers singing with a boy in a wheel chair. Adults most likely will make the connection to a very memorable episode. I'm not sure if children will be as familiar with the show. But whether your little one knows the shows or not--the words have a way of speaking for themselves. Some of them are timeless and WONDERFUL.

Excerpts from some of my favorites.
It's Good To Talk
People weren't born to be silent
Our tongues make wonderful sounds.
Just try a few phrases for practice
You'll see there are very few bounds.
Things Are Different
You never know the story
By the cover of the book.
You can't tell what a dinner's like
By simply looking at the cook.
Sometimes Isn't Always
Sometimes I DON'T feel like combing my hair.
I DON'T feel like washing my face sometimes.
Sometimes I DON'T feel like saying okay.
But sometimes isn't always.
Are You Brave?
Are you brave and don't know it?
Are you brave and can't tell?
Are you brave and just don't show it?
While others know it very well?
Are you brave and you wonder?
Are you brave and you doubt?
Then Your Heart Is Full of Love
Love is fragile as your tears.
Love is stronger than your fears.
When your heart can sing another's gladness
Then your heart is full of love.
When your heart can cry another's sadness
Then your heart is full of love.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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