Sunday, May 20, 2012

Winky the Monkey

A brief addendum to the previous post: the book that Genevieve used to teach me how to read was an old primer from her days as a kindergarten teacher called Winky, which was published by Quinlan in 1939. It's a sort of Dick-and-Jane-esque story, with one important twist: instead of the boring daily lives poor Dick and Jane suffered through, the children in this book go in their backyard one day and find a PET MONKEY IN A BELLHOP UNIFORM.  The monkey's name is Winky, and they spend much of the book marveling at the things Winky can do. "See Winky run!" "See Winky jump!" "See Winky ride!" are frequently repeated phrases, as I recall.

From this decidedly wacky early literary exposure, I went on to be a creative writing major and a professional writer and editor as an adult. Coincidence?

I still have Genevieve's old copy of Winky somewhere, but I haven't turned it up yet, so these photos from an online book dealer will have to suffice. Of them, I think this last one is my favorite. Mother, in her sunny yellow dress, reading a book in an Adirondack chair, listening benevolently while her youngest son asks if the MONKEY IN THE BELLHOP UNIFORM he found in the backyard can go to school. And all the while, Winky staring imploringly into her eyes.

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