This early reader by Rita Golden Gelman has been a favorite in our family. More Spaghetti, I Say! (1993) is a silly, laugh out-loud story, with superb rhyme and with fun, positively exuberant illustrations.
“Play with me, Minnie.
Play with me, please.
We can stand on our heads.
We can hang by our knees.”
I can’t play.
I can’t play with you, Freddy.
Can’t you see?
I am eating spaghetti.”
I did a double take when I came across this earlier edition from 1987 which notes an original copyright from 1977. Same story, but…
pictures by Jack Kent! The Kent of Just Only John, Joey Runs Away, There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon? I love his books. But…well…take a look and compare a page from both editions.
Here’s the first page by Kent:
And here’s Gerberg’s.
Gerberg expands the image to a double spread and shows Minnie with her back to us. There’s only a hint of what’s in the bowl in her lap, saving the big surprise for the next page. The last image in his edition beautifully harks back to this one.
There are subtle improvements on every page, with the text layout and image variation. Really, it’s a night and day improvement. I guess even the greats have their disappointments.
The Gelman and Gerberg pairing is awesome. Check out another of theirs, Stop Those Painters! (1989).
Painters painting grass and trees.
Painters painting birds and bees.
Stop those painters.
Please! Please! Please!
Similarly silly and fantastic.
Now just who is Mort Gerberg? Well, turns out he’s been a contributor to the The New Yorker since 1965! Wow, I even remember some of these cartoons. Ha, maybe I just couldn’t read his signature! I love this guy.
And Rita Golden Gelman? What an unusual life. Since 1987 she’s had no permanent home, travelling the world as a “modern day nomad.” She also sponsors an organization called Let’s Get Global that encourages graduating high school kids to explore other countries before going off to college.