I noticed that Sandra Boynton is now ‘Twittering,’ and seeing her (funny – of course) Tweets made me think about the staying power of certain books from my daughter’s long-ago toddlerhood.

‘LitKid,’ my blogging partner here, is now 10, and sadly, we don’t skip down memory lane and read our old standbys from those days nearly often enough. When we do pull a few off the shelf every once in a while, it always makes us silly and a little sad and nostalgic for those old read-aloud days.

Sandra Boynton’s Snoozers, a board book “anthology” (and why not use that lofty term for such quality stories, even if they just span two pages?) was my ‘LitKid’s’ very first book gift – an excellent baby shower gift from my friend Stephanie while LitKid was still a work in progress.

It also proved to be … well, if not prophetic then certainly appropriate. In her early weeks, LitKid was not fond of sleeping during the day – apparently that “all they do is sleep and eat in the early days” myth I heard from all quarters was another bit of propaganda designed to sugarcoat first-time motherhood for the uninitiated. (Thank God for Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions.)

I remember so well rocking my girl and reading Snoozers to her over and over, illogically hoping all the talk of sleep would seep subliminally into the alert little brain in that gargantuan head of hers. While I can’t say it worked, I can say that that little book and its humor kept me a little more sane than I would have been otherwise, and it will always be a sentimental favorite.

Our dog-eared, high-mileage Sandra Boynton collection

Then we moved on to Pajama Time, Moo Baa La, Hey! Wake Up, and The Going to Bed Book, among others, and this is when the poetry of Sandra Boynton and a few other ‘little kid lit’ geniuses took hold in my brain. At 47, I sometimes find myself foggy on what I walked downstairs to get in the 2 minutes it takes me to get downstairs, but I can still walk into my girl’s room in the morning and rouse her with the words of Hey! Wake Up!

Hey, big guys 

Open your eyes

What you do say?

It’s a brand-new day!

Yawn, stretch, touch your toes … shimmy, shimmy, shimmy (and of course, one must shimmy 3 times at this point) … wiggle your nose (yep, you have to wiggle your nose, too)

And it goes on from there … I could type out the rest from memory, too, but you should really go and buy your own copy.

All in all, it’s an excellent way to be greeted in the morning.

As for nighttime, I remember fondly the Pajama Time ‘lyrics’ and my choreography.

Pajammy to the left  (accompanied by square dance-ish side-stepping to the left)

Pajammy to the right (ditto, to the right)

Jama, jama, jama … P J! (free-form, wild-and-woolly throwing down at this cue)

Everybody’s wearing them for dancing tonight! 

Jamma, jamma, jamma … P! J! (and more throwing down before collapsing)

Oh, yes, Sandra Boynton, you brought much joy and silliness into our mornings and our evenings, and I will never forget that, either.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another rollicking favorite that I can also call up from that long-ago set of memories: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. I admit that I had to revisit this book for a minute or two to jog my memory, but once I had a glance, it all flooded back … the inflections I used at certain junctures, the goofy expressions and histrionics we tried to match to the words.

A told B, and B told C, “I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.”

“Whee!” said D to E F G, “I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.”

Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

Here comes H up the coconut tree

and I and J and tag-along K, all on their way up the coconut tree

Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

Look who’s coming! L M N O P! (read VERY fast)

And Q R S! And T U V! Still more – W! And X Y Z!

The whole alphabet up the – Oh no! Chicka chicka … BOOM! BOOM!

Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee. Everybody running to the coconut tree.

That’s not all the fun, but again, you would do well to buy or check out a copy so you can revel in the rest of this unforgettable romp.

With any luck, the author/illustrators who etch themselves into the memories of both parents and kids this way realize the power and reach of their wit and whimsy.

With deep appreciation~

AKid@Heart (the mom half of the ‘Lost in a Book’ duo)