About a week ago, my daughter was going through some boxes from her childhood, deciding what to keep and what to throw away. Out of one of the boxes emerged a copy of “In the Middle of the Trees,” an illustrated book of poems for children by Karla Kuskin.
Instantly my mind and heart filled with memories. I flipped open the cover, and sure enough, there was the inscription — the book had been given to my brother and me in 1958 by our parents. The many hours that were spent reading these simple but evocative poems, and poring over the intricate line drawings that accompanied them, could be inferred from the heavy strip of book-binding tape that kept the covers together. As I read, I remembered. I remembered every poem, their rhythm and their surprises, the flair for the unexpected that always lurked near the end even if they sometimes took the route of settling us children into the beautiful familiar. I could hear each poem as it was read aloud.
So I became a writer, and my brother an artist. Who could say but that “In the Middle of the Trees” had something to do with it? Thanks.