I don’t know who to attribute this quote to, but isn’t it wonderful! Children’s books aren’t just for children, we all know that. There are times, remembering a favorite childhood book, we decide we have to hold it in our hands once again. Thus began my search for the poems of James Whitcomb Riley.
A card from a bookseller in June 1989 reads…We can provide you with JWR’s Riley’s Child-Rhymes, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill (1905), 188 pages, green cloth with a nice pictorial cover. Very good condition; former owner’s name in ink on front free endpaper: Belle Baggs August 1, 1910. Includes Little Orphant Annie, The Raggedy Man, Old Aunt Mary’s and 36 other poems, copiously illustrated by Will Vawter (Bookseller, Andrews & Rose, Niles Michigan.) The other piece of ephemera is my book is a bill of sale for $12.50.
Imagine my pleasure when this slim volume arrived and I could read once again, Little Orphant Annie. Here is the first verse.
Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, and brush the crumbs away,
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth. an’ sweep.
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board an’-keep.
An’ all us other children, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you Ef you Don’t Watch Out!