The Boy Who Loved Words

Apr 28, 2012

This was my absolute favorite picture book from the time my third-grade teacher read it to our class. It deals with a lonely boy named Selig whose hobby is to collect-- not baseball cards, nor tiny teaspoons, but words. As a boy, he never participated in social activities or sports, and classmates began mocking and teasing and bullying him.

One night, Selig has a dream that a genie visited him, and told him that he had a passion, and what he needed next was a "purpose, a mission". So young Selig packed a knapsack and "took to the road, determined to find his purpose."

But when he had been on the road for many days, his collection of words began to feel to heavy for him.

"In front of Selig stood a large and lovely tree. He removed his jacket, stuffed, like his mama's strudel, with words. Tenderly, he hung each word on its own separate branch, as if putting it to bed for the night."
That night, as Selig slept in the large and lovely tree, a poet was wandering about, trying to find the right words to describe the moon, when Selig's words floated down to him. He read every word, then exclaimed, "My stars! That's it!"

The poet thanked him heartily, and dedicated his new poem to Selig, who now called himself Wordsworth. He had figured out his purpose-- to share his words with others!

But in time, Wordsworth became a man. He was lonely, yet again. But he heard:

"A single, pulsing, marvelous note floated through the air and found its way straight into his heart. "Mellifluous!" he exclaimed."

He followed the note, which led him to a pretty girl of around his age. "What is your name?" he asked. She replied that her name is called Melody, and soon they were married. "Upon my stars!" you may exclaim. "How lucky they are!" And you will know that it's true.