Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I just read a fun post by Irene over at Our Little Piece of the World which talked about sneaky methods for getting your kids to do what you want. The post really tickled my funny bone because I do the same things with Csilla all the time. She is already a very competitive kid (I wonder where she gets that from?) and I exploit it mercilessly. If I ask her to brush her teeth it's a no-go, but if I tell her that I'm going to brush my teeth faster than her... well then Csilla is all over a toothbrush before I can say rubber-baby-buggy-bumper.

The same goes with food. As I've mentioned before, Csilla is an extremely picky eater. I have a terribly hard time getting food into her that is more exciting than a plain spaghetti noodle with no sauce. You may even recall that I sneak vegetables into her meals?? Occasionally I'll convince Csilla to try something new by suggesting that she can't do it - that she is physically unable to eat a piece of broccoli. Csilla will almost always rise to the challenge, even if she spits it out two seconds later.

Which leads me to the reason for this post...

I told Irene that while I was reading her post Sneaky Methods I was reminded of a wonderful poem by the amazing Canadian author Dennis Lee. If you're Canadian, you probably don't remember a childhood without Alligator Pie or Garbage Delight. Certainly I don't. Dennis Lee's childish poems are silly and irreverent and quintessentially Canadian with many references to Canadian locales and Canadian past times (specifically hockey, eh!) If you've never read one of Dennis Lee's books to your kids, I couldn't recommend it more highly. Csilla is just getting to the age where she can really appreciate Dennis Lee's ridiculous rhymes and the wonderful illustrations by Frank Newfeld (in my 35-year old copies of Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight). The books are delightful, whimsical and perfect. They recently released an anniversary edition of Alligator Pie with the original illustrations, but unfortunately the new editions of Garbage Delight feature illustrations by a different artist. Grrrr. I'm currently tracking down a used copy of Garbage Delight so that when my brother has a child we won't be fighting over who gets to keep our jointly-owned-Frank-Newfeld-illustrated copy at their house.

(Which, interestingly enough, is also signed by the author because when I was about three or four Dennis Lee came to our local library for a reading. It's one of my earliest memories!)

Anyway, without further ado, I'd like to share with you one of my all-time favourite childhood poems called Tricking, by Dennis Lee:


When they bring me a plate
Full of stuff that I hate,
Like spinach and turnips and guck,
I sit very straight
And I look at the plate
And I quietly say to it: “YUCK!”

Little kids bawl
Cause I used to be small,
And I threw it all over the tray.
But now I am three
And I’m much from like me –
I yuck till they take it away.

But sometimes my dad
Gets terriffickly mad,
And he says, “Don’t you drink from that cup!”
But he can’t say it right
Cause he’s not very bright –
So I trick him and drink it all up!

Then he gets up and roars;
He stomps on the floor
And he hollers, “I warn you, don’t eat!”
He counts up to ten
And I trick him again:
I practically finish the meat.

Then I start on the guck
And my daddy goes “Yuck!”
And he scrunches his eyes till they hurt,
So I shovel it in
And he grins a big grin.

And then we have dessert.

Note - I've posted this poem with no permission from the publisher but I'm going to assume it's okay because I'm encouraging the purchase of the books, right?? Buy them here and here.

Also - For some reason I remember how, as a child, I always loved that they italicised part of terriffically just to emphasise the word. Funny the things you remember from your childhood, eh?

So, tell me... are you familiar with Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight? And if so, which were your favourite poems? Aside from Tricking, I also loved On Tuesdays I Polish My Uncle and of course, Alligator Pie.

(BTW - be sure to check out Irene's blog because she's an amazing photographer too! Double bonus.)


CrazyCath said...

Oh I am laughing! I have never seen these books of course, not being Canadian, but that poem is wonderful. Please post more! I am sure since you give credit it will be fine. You are not plagiarising. I loved it so much I had to read it out to hubby, who thought I had gone quite mad but never mind. (Actually I went quite mad a few years ago.)

david mcmahon said...

Definitely my sort of literature!

Irene said...

First off, thanks so much for the mention in your post...very sweet of you!

Second - great poem! I love it! My sneaky methods may work fabulously for many things, but getting my youngest to eat veggies and other unmentionables is not one of them. I can use those tactics to get her to eat something she usually likes but is just being stubborn about, but if it is something she won't touch ever, no method is successful. Except maybe starving her to the point where she will eat anything, and I haven't had the guts to try that yet. Maybe someday....or maybe not (LOL!)

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

I love it, but sadly have never heard of him...although I'm not Canadian either. I grew up with Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess. :)

Kimberly said...

Hee hee...that definitely gave me a giggle!

Jan said...

That is so funny. I have never heard of either of them. Now it's too late. Oh but the grandkiddo's. Maybe then. Good to hear from you and glad you are home safely.

Jen said...

How cute! I'm not at all familiar with this author or the poems, but from what I read here, they are AWESOME!

Corey~living and loving said...

I love me some Irene. :)

but I have never heard of these books, but this poem reminds me of Shel Silverstein. :) good stuff.

softinthehead said...

i had never read that author but I like him already. Sounds like Csilla would love Roald Dahl so make sure you add him to your collection! My kids favourite when they were a little older than Csilla was The BFG - you cannot help laughing as you read along :)

katherine. said...

great blog...I've come by way of david