The Allure of the Strange

To me, the very best picture books inevitably seem to connect to
something dark and murky, something really strange. One of my
favorites of these is The Little Fur Family.


The whole thing is filled with small unexpected mysterious digressions, much like, I guess, the mind of a child. The little fur child goes here and there (how old
is he, anyway?) unaccompanied, and where they live is a "wild, wild
wood." He ventures into the darkness, but just before it gets too dark,
his mother finds him.


And in the end, he is in his tiny bed, holding
paws with his parents, and they sing him a song.
What is the tune of this song? Everyone I know sings it to a different
melody. One parent I know sings it differently each time. But we sing
it with a tune that seemed to just come up, as eerie and strange and
sweet as the story. I wonder how she meant it to be?

Sleep, sleep, my little fur child
Out of the windiness, out of the wild
Sleep warm in your fur all night long,
In your little fur family
This is a song.

5 thoughts on “The Allure of the Strange

  1. This is one of my very favorite books. I love the words. I love the illustrations. And my parents sang the song to “Edelweiss” (more or less) and I do too. I absolutely love the part about the “dark and sunny woods” because it’s so simply and perfectly describes something that could seem contradictory. love. And while I’m already rambling, I’m glad I found your blog (thanks to Finslippy Alice) I have a 3 1/2 year old girl and am always on the lookout for books for girls that aren’t your boring, typical “books for girls”. I actually asked for suggestions on my blog a while back and found most of the responses really disappointing and typical. I did however receive an email from a woman who said she worked in the Harvard libraries and pointed me in the direction of some really excellent books. I look forward to following you and hopefully finding more stuff that will be great for us!


  2. Oh my GOD! I’d forgotten about the Little Fur Family!
    They were a cornerstone of my childhood!
    My mom sang me the song too! To the tune of another lullaby, which she also sang. Something like “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow.”
    Emailing this post to my mom Right Now!!!!


  3. I LOVE this book. The copy my family has is from my older sisters, from the 70s. I have been contemplating buying a copy, in case it’s out of print by the time I have children.


  4. one of my favorite all time books! i love the sound the little bug makes when he lets it go and the furry cover and i usually want to cry at the end


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