Dr. Marie-Therese Miller
"The Tale of Custard the Dragon"
by Ogden Nash
Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
Nash's poem was one of the first my mother, a poetry lover and professor of public speaking, recited to me. What a gift Nash had for nabbing the attention of young readers and helping them to appreciate the art form! The poem's story about the nature of bravery and protectiveness, its humor, and wordplay sparked my lifelong enthusiasm for verse, the comic, and writing for children.