Monday, October 4, 2010

Who Wants a Pop Can Park?

My earliest memories include my mom and dad reading Dr. Seuss and Golden books to me in bed or at the library.  One of my favorite books (not exactly sure why) was Who Wants a Pop Can Park?   I was browsing Will’s shelves (which hold all of my childhood books, too) to find something we haven’t read a million times and came across it today.  Thumbing through the pages, I was astounded.
The upper left corner reveals a price of $.49.  The lower right corner reads: This start-right elf book is EDUCATIONALLY SOUND.  See statement opposite title page.

So, obviously, I opened to the title page (where I found out the book was published in MCMLXXII which I think is 1972...never was very good at Roman numerals).  Opposite the title page, it reads:
In this series of inexpensive books for children, Rand McNally is presenting carefully selected, good literature for the very young child.  Books in this series are factual, fanciful, humorous, questioning and adventurous.  It is hoped that the series will provide for the masses of children whose parents might be unaware of the availability of good literature at such nominal cost.  We firmly believe that the love and appreciation of literature must begin when the child is very young.
Help little children learn about pollution.  Do it so that they will learn and remember.  How difficult it is to avoid creating a scolding, complaining type of educational experience.  There is little evidence to support that that style of  “teaching” to youngsters produces results.
Here is a rib-tickling, catchy poem matched with some of the most outlandish illustrations you’ve ever seen.
The message is clear.  It is a serious problem to clean up pollution.  But, this way of presenting it may be clever enough to really make an impact on boys and girls.
Evanston, Illinois
No wonder our kids are so much smarter than we are!  This was cutting edge education?  Will has hundreds of regular books, books on DVD, and books on CD.  We go to the library at least once a week.  We play educational games with flash cards and game boards.  Will probably has ten toys that help him learn how to read and write through some sort of technology.  My favorite part is the comforting “How difficult it is to avoid creating a scolding, complaining type of educational experience.”  Yes, it’s so difficult to make things fun for kids.

Here are some examples of the “rib-tickling” poetry included in the book:
Sara Sue always threw
All her sucker sticks down
On the lawns, that were grassy and green.
She cared not one bit
If the lawns looked unfit--
If they never looked trim, neat, or clean.
“One stick, I would guess,
Wouldn’t make a big mess,”
She’d say with a face that looked drawn.
But if folks all around 
Threw their sucker sticks down,
We’d soon have a sucker stick lawn.
(Apparently, children of color do not pollute. )

The book ends with all of the characters playing ring-around-the-rosy together, and finishes with the gentle admonition of “So let’s keep our lovely world neat!”
I am motivated more now than ever to publish some children’s books.  I just need to write something “clever enough to really make an impact on boys and girls.”  Crazy.


  1. I can't remember where you got the book, but I do remember you requesting the story a few times. How bizarre? How bizarre? and true!

  2. At first I thought this said, who wants a poptart and I was all "Me me me me me!"

  3. Because before 1972 there were no catchy rhymes for children that taught a moral lesson...

  4. WOW

    I never read this book but now I'm curious to see if any of my childhood favorites have something like this. I doubt it though. My favorite book was The Penguin That Hated The Cold.