Today there was a box in the teachers' lounge labeled "free, take what you like" and filled with discarded books. There were a couple of gems; I managed to score slightly battered copies of Fox in Socks and There's a Wocket in my Pocket! by Dr. Seuss, which I promptly read aloud. However, most had a very good reason to have been tossed: they were awful.
One was so bad that I had to take it with me. Peter Gets the Chickenpox by Marguerite Rush Lerner, M.D. and illustrated by George Overlie. The three color illustrations were done in that style that just screams 1950's. The best worst part, however, was the text--a wonderful poem, parts of which I shall include here:
Dr. Babson said, "It's chickenpox for sure.
But I'll come over--we'll feel more secure.
The doctor cam and took one look.
"Peter, you have chickenpox from head to foot.
This illness is caused by a virus so small
you need a microscope to see it at all.
The virus invades the body's cells,
and for about one week there it dwells.
Yesterdat, before the rash came out,
th germ was already in you, waiting to sprout.
You're infectious one day before the rash is spied
and will continue to be so till the pox have dried.
If new spots come, that's nothing to fear.
It's customary for repeated crops to appear.
For three to five days you may keep getting pox.
While new blisters form,
the old ones crust their tops.
Stay in bed till the fever has gone
even though the time seems long.
When the pox dry and have crusts for covers,
you may go back to school and play with others."
And, of course, don't forget:
Dogs catch cats.
Cats catch mice.
Chickenpox catches you once
Truly a classic of children's literature, that one.