Text and images By Gabrielle.

Can we talk beloved books from our youngest memories? Pictured here is Granfa’ Grig Had a Pig. I get nostalgic just typing that.

I have been hunting down this book for years! I could remember details of practically every image on it’s pages, but couldn’t remember the title for the life of me. Then, early in December, my brothers and sisters were having a Facebook chat about books in our home (do your families make private Facebook groups too?) and I described some of the illustrations, and Jared (he’s married to the lovely Liz) knew exactly what the book was and what the title was immediately. I was so excited. Even better, he sent me a copy!

Oh. I got so teary eyed when I opened the package! Every single page was a wave of nostalgia. I remembered many of the words, but the images, oh my. They are fantastic. An unorderly mix of humans and human-like animals. Tiny details to discover. Lots of humor. The image of the giant ram with curled horns and a rope ladder coming off it’s back has been part of my brain forever. To see it again in all its glory is such a treat!

Granfa’ Grig is just a fantastic collection. Some of the rhymes are familiar, but most are not the usual suspects you’ll find in a Mother Goose compilation, and they’re delightful. Wallace Tripp compiled the poems and made the illustrations, too. He’s clearly a genius.

I have a very vivid memory of being 5-years-old and home sick from school. I was sitting next to my mom in her bed and she was reading to me from this book. It was a new book in ourhome and we were reading it for the first time. We were going page by page and my mom would read each nursery rhyme while I studied the illustrations. On page 29 she read:

Slug-a-bed,
Slug-a-bed,
Barley butt,

And then, she couldn’t even say the next line because we started laughing so hard! My eyes went as wide as can be and then I just started cracking up. My mom has a very clean mouth and I had never heard her say a bad word — not even butt! I think it even caught her off guard because she wasn’t expecting to find one of her no-go words in a nursery rhyme book. (I realize butt is not on most people’s bad word lists, not sure how or when it made it on my mom’s. : )

The shock! We about died of laughter. Because we would fall into another fit of giggles every time she said butt, it took another 10 tries to finish the tiny poem, but it goes like this:

Slug-a-bed,
Slug-a-bed,
Barley butt,
Your bum is so heavy,
you can’t get up.

Friends, that humor is basically solid gold to a kindergartener.

The book is currently out of-print. (The copy my brother sent used to belong to the Schenectady County Public Library. It’s in excellent condition.) But you can find copies from used book stores here.

Receiving this book got our family talking about other nostalgic favorites. Ben Blair says he remembers Andy and the School Bus (also out of print) and The Fire Cat (this one has been re-issued). I’d love to hear: Do you have a particular favorite book from your early childhood? Any out of print titles? Have you tracked them down and made them part of your collection?