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(Photo by mnartists.org)
The Sugar-Plum Tree
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)
Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
‘T is a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.
When you ‘ve got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below—
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:
You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground—
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!
There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I ‘ll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.
Don’t forget to get the book “Whisper and Shout“
From John Updike’s “Player Piano” to Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing,” from Lucille Clifton’s “the earth is a living thing” to Gelett Burgess’s “The Purple Cow,” these poems tumble from children’s tongues and dance with their tapping toes. Whether joyous, rhythmic, solemn, or simple silly fun, poetry learned by heart has a lasting claim on children’s affections and a permanent home in their hearts. The introduction includes tips for teaching kids how to memorize poems. Vecchione presents a selection of verses with rhythms, themes, and wordplay that especially appeal to middle graders.