Friday, December 17, 2010

Poetry Friday: Toast, Butter, Kings and 3-Year-Olds.

A.A. Milne, looking a bit fussy
My 3-year-old grandson has been staying with me for the last week while my daughter and her husband take a long-overdue vacation. I've been immersed in Lego's, Lightning McQueen race cars (and tow trucks), tents made of sheets over the dining room table, and gingerbread-cookie-making sessions. There have been rubber ducks in the bathtub and six stories at bedtime just about every night because I can't resist it when he begs, "One more...please?" Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel has been a favorite, ditto Make Way for Ducklings.

Just about all of it has been glorious. I'd forgotten, though, how specific 3-year-olds can be about what they want to eat- I mean, down to the smallest details, the way an egg is scrambled, the amount of milk on cereal, the proper way to cut pizza. the way a piece of toast is buttered ("Nobody /  he whimpered / "Could call me / a fussy man....")   Here's one of my favorite A.A. Milne poems - I've been thinking of it while fixing meals this week:


The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
"Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?"
The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, "Certainly,
I'll go and tell the cow
Before she goes to bed."

The Dairymaid
She curtsied,
And went and told the Alderney:
"Don't forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread."

The Alderney said sleepily:
"You'd better tell
His Majesty
That many people nowadays
Like marmalade

The Dairymaid
Said "Fancy!"
And went to
Her Majesty.
She curtsied to the Queen, and
She turned a little red:
"Excuse me,
Your Majesty,
For taking of
The liberty,
But marmalade is tasty, if
It's very

The Queen said
And went to his Majesty:
"Talking of the butter for
The royal slice of bread,
Many people
Think that
Is nicer.
Would you like to try a little

The King said,
And then he said,
"Oh, deary me!"
The King sobbed, "Oh, deary me!"
And went back to bed.
He whimpered,
"Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!"

The Queen said,
"There, there!"
And went to
The Dairymaid.
The Dairymaid
Said, "There, there!"
And went to the shed.
The cow said,
"There, there!
I didn't really
Mean it;
Here's milk for his porringer
And butter for his bread."

The queen took the butter
And brought it to
His Majesty.
The King said
"Butter, eh?"
And bounced out of bed.
"Nobody," he said,
As he kissed her
"Nobody," he said,
As he slid down
The banisters,
My darling,
Could call me
A fussy man -
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!"

                      A.A. Milne

Poetry Friday this week is being hosted by Amy over at The Poem Farm. Go visit and see what people are posting!


  1. Lucky grandson! There's nothing like some A.A. Milne to whisk back the child in all of us. I'll be reading this one to my own children... Happy Poetry Friday!

  2. I'm with the King, there's nothing like a bit of butter. Simple.

    Enjoy your time with your grandson!

  3. The picture of A.A. Milne is perfect to go with that poem! I have to admit, I'd also rather have butter than marmalade.

  4. Love this post! Great photo of fussy Milne :)

    Owl at Home is one of my favorites, too. :) Have fun with your grandson.

    Now I need some toast with marmalade . . . (don't tell the King).

  5. And the kind of bread used for the sandwich, the amount of cream cheese spead over it, the way the cucumbers are sliced - I must read this poem to my "fussy 14-year old." Thanks for sharing this! Made me smile.

  6. I was raised on Milne's poetry and so have many of them memorized. This one is very jolly and makes me smile. Thanks for putting it out there!

    That portrait of Milne at the top is pretty cool too.

    And yeah, I'm with the king too. I do like some butter with the royal slice of bread myself.

  7. Ah, love A.A. Milne. My favorite line, as in all my Pooh books-- "bother!" Soak up your time with your grandson. I can't believe he's 3!

  8. Oh Julie, only you could think of a poem, this poem while fielding Jackson's fussy complaints...Only you. You are extraordinary.

  9. Julie I adore that poem; when my son was 3 it competed for first place with Bad Sir Brian Botany. Lovely. And your Jackson anecdotes as well. Just the title of this post made me smile.

  10. I'm headed now to look up Bad Sir Brain Botany!!