Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's fall, it's fall. Come one, come all!

The Fredericton fall fair opens this weekend, FREX as it's known around town. I'll be there-- with wet wipes for cotton candy fingers and a camera to capture that perfect wide-eyed merry-go-round moment. Before you head out to your local fall fair, I recommend hitting the library first to find a copy of Merry-Go-Day written by Fredericton native Sheree Fitch and illustrated by long-time Fredericton artist Molly Lamb Bobak (Doubleday, 1991; no longer in print).

The inspiration for the book comes from FREX, specifically, but it is suited to any old fair-going experience. Laid out as a series of poems that walks the reader through the sights and sounds of a day at the fair, the book is as crisp as a McIntosh apple. If you've never read Fitch's tongue tantalizing verse out-loud, Merry-Go-Day is a must for this Labour Day weekend. Here's an excerpt:

"Sam Sam
The hammer slammer
Always rings the bell
When Sam
The hammer-slammer
Everybody yells:

Slam that hammer
Sam the slammer
Hammer-slamming Sam
Sam the hammer-slamming

Merry-Go-Day is a perfectly indulgent day out. Fitch takes us on the bumper cars, a roller coaster, and the Ferris Wheel; she feeds us hot dogs, ice cream and cotton candy; we get just a little spooked in the Haunted House; and we play a game of chance. The question is, will we win that purple parrot our heart's desire? You'll have to check the book out to know.


  1. We have a local fair - I thnk my kids would love that book.
    I'm surprised by how many parents I know find the idea of reading poetry to their children off-putting. Poetry and kids is a very natural fit.

  2. Poetry & kids is a PERFECT fit. We still recite random snatches of Fitch, particularly from Mabel Murple, especially when slurping maple syrple. Snatches of poems seem to linger in the imagination and sneak into the language of childhood as easily as a pebble into a pocket.


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