Sylvia Plath’s Children’s Stories

By January 19, 2011Uncategorized

My intrepid editor, Tara, introduced me to Sylvia Plath’s story “Mrs Cherry’s Kitchen” shortly after I submitted Spork for publication. (We were likely on the topic of anthropomorphized utensils…Crazy. Imagine!)

Here are a few lines to give you a taste: ‘It’s not that I don’t like whipping eggs,’ explained Egg-Beater. ‘It’s just that Iron turns out such frilly white ruffled blouses for Mrs Cherry. I’m sure I could make lovely white ruffles on Mrs Cherry’s blouses too, if I were given the chance.’

“Mrs Cherry’s Kitchen” is one of three short pieces compiled by Faber Children’s Classics—a collection I highly recommend if you like the pleasure of smartly surreal read aloud books… There’s a funny poem titled “The Bed Book” (written for Plath’s own children, Frieda and Nicholas), in which she uses a simple rhyming structure to conjure a jet-propelled bed, bird-watching bed, pocket-size bed, and elephant bed. (“You go where you please. You pick bananas/ Right out of the trees.”)

I’m slowly discovering that there are a number of famous writers of adult fiction and poetry who are considerably less known for their children’s books. Some of them are quite unexpected (i.e. Graham Greene, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin). I think 2011 may be the year to start scouting them out…