Before we commence, let's agree to a deal: when you review a book by your Mother, I'll not hold you to an overly elevated standard of impartiality,
and, in exchange, now that our Mother has written one, don't expect me to be too dispassionate. That's
right, the Mother Judd has at last made good on a threat of some years standing and put together a handy compendium of the funniest things she heard
from her own three kids and from the successive generations of schoolkids she taught, mostly in East and South Orange, NJ. For my money, the
result is as funny as anything you'll find from a commercial publisher or you'll hear in several hours with Art Linkletter or Bill Cosby. (Then again, I
got mine for free and probably said fully a fifth of the things in here.)
The entries range from the silly:
A three-year-old, served green beans
for the first time,
looked at his plate and said,
"I'm not eating those long peas!"
to the touching:
"Tommy, would you like a part in the play?"
the teacher asked the shy student.
"Yes. I'd like to be in the audience."
to the diabolical:
[P]ostcard from a teen-aged son at camp,
addressed "To whom it may concern".
"Hi. One girl broke her shin bone,
another sprained her wrist,
and two kids sprained fingers.
I'm dictating this letter. Your son.
to the rather profound:
"When I dream, I see myself,
instead of seeing from myself."
But they all have in common the sense of just how complicated a thing communication is in any case, but especially where youngsters are involved.
They instill a certain wonder in the way the commonplace can seem mystical when cycled through the brain of a child. They remind us that our kids
teach us just as surely as we teach them. That's no small achievement.