Poetry Friday: Mother Earth and Her Children


The illustrations in this rhyming picture book won an unusual award:  Best in Show at the 2006 International Quilt Festival in Houston.  They began as a single quilt inspired by quilt artist Sieglinde Schoen Smith's favorite children's book, Etwas von den Wurzelkindern ("Something About the Root Children"). Written by Sibylle von Olfers, it was originally published in Germany in 1906.  Mother Earth and Her Children:  A Quilted Fairy Tale (Breckling Press, 2007) is the English translation of that book, illustrated entirely with details from Smith's award-winning quilt.  Yes, that cover image is from the quilt.

Renowned fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes translated von Olfers's short text about the changing seasons into English rhyming verse for the first time.  Here are the Root Children getting ready for spring:

"All are quick and ever ready
To sew spring clothes. Their hands are steady.
With needles, scissors, spools of thread,
They measure and cut, full steam ahead.

And when the children's clothes are done,
Kind Mother Earth admires each one."

I like the way these lines now recall Smith's work "with needles, scissors, spools of thread" as well as the Root Children's.

story%20of%20the%20root%20children.jpg[This is the English edition with the original art by von Olfers (Floris Books, 1980) that inspired Smith; plus an article about copyright responsibility re: Mother Earth and her Children.  In case you're inspired to recreate your favorite picture book in some other medium.]