Mommy Daddy Evan Sage


It’s probably no surprise that I’m a person who is content to browse in a bookstore for hours.  It’s my idea of a perfect lazy afternoon or date night.  Browsing, I think, is like treasure-hunting; I scan and skim and scour until — eureka! — I discover that I am holding a veritable treasure chest in my hands and look around, astonished that the sea of gold coins spilling out of its pages is not attracting a crowd of eye-patched peg-legs glaring predatorily at me.

As a mom and student with less time these days to pore over physical books in bookstores, I now rely heavily on the Internet.  Unfortunately, for as many reviews and descriptions you can dig up about a book online, you never quite know if it will contain the spoils you’re seeking.  As a result, I often don’t purchase books online until I can check them out from a library to make sure my dollars are being spent wisely, but sometimes, I have a hunch and take a gamble and then wait impatiently for a book to arrive at my doorstep.

Eric McHenry’s book of children’s poetry, Mommy Daddy Evan Sage, with illustrations by Nicholas Garland, is one I took a chance on, and I was blissfully right to do so.  This book is a surprising, delightful collection of short poems that spring from McHenry’s experience parenting two kids.  Inspired by the absurd and enchanting world that children inhabit, McHenry pens kid- and parent-friendly verse full of clever twists and turns that simultaneously stretch brains and entertain.  Take, for instance, my daughters’ favorite:

Sage pretty much knows
where everything goes.
She’s got enough info to go on:
dresses in dressers,
books in the bookcase,
toys in the toilet, and so on.

Or this one, that shows a child’s brain hard at work over language’s nuances:

“Rats!” said Sage, whose magic marker
refused to color any darker.
“Uh-oh. I think I hear them comin’,”
I said. “Be careful what you summon.
Rats are responsive. If you call
too loudly you might get them all.
Are you prepared to deal with that?”
She scratched her head. “I guess not. Rat.”

We have owned this book for no more than a week, and yet we’ve already been through it cover to cover over a dozen times, and both of my daughters have quoted bits and pieces of the poems.  In fact, I am grateful that it is not actually buried or sunken treasure because I’m frankly not confident that I would be so good at sharing.  As it is, this figurative treasure trove of children’s poems is well worth countless readings by countless readers and will be a lifelong part of our library for certain.


McHenry, Eric.  Mommy Daddy Evan Sage.  Illus. Nicholas Garland.  Baltimore:  The Waywiser Press, 2011.  Print.