Nothing like a week’s worth of posts about grammar and punctuation to make you feel like you’re in school again. So it seems only appropriate to feature Jene Barr’s Good Morning, Teacher (note the comma!) for this week’s archive. Published in 1957, with illustrations by Lucy and John Hawkinson, Good Morning, Teacher makes us remember a time in our lives when we were just learning to master words and learn the rules of all those tidy little sentences. Sometimes we all could stand to have an encouraging voice like Miss Bell’s in our heads.
Barr, whose papers are in the De Grummond Children’s Literature Archive, was a teacher herself for many years, and her books for Whitman, with titles like Mr. Zip and the US Mail and Paul the Policeman, are the quintessence of 1950s children’s books. There’s something strangely poignant about the simple text of these stories. The moment conveyed in the spread below, for instance, feels almost Raymond Carveresque, except that it’s as quietly hopeful as those little plants on the windowsill.