02/08/01
Carole King's Birthday: Really Rosie -- A Love Song to Childhood
    by John Cech

It's the birthday tomorrow of Carole King, the Brooklyn-born, singer -songwriter who gave us, with her then husband Gerry Goffin, such hits as "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "Take Good Care of My Baby," " "Up on the Roof," and "One Fine Day." Her 1971 solo album, "Tapestry," with songs like "So Far Away," "It's Too late," and "I Feel the Earth Move," was at the top of the charts for months, and ended up becoming one of the most memorable of the time.

Ms. King has also given us one of the sweetest bunches of valentines to childhood in the songs that she created for Maurice Sendak's animated film, "Really Rosie," which first appeared on national television in 1975. The film is based on two of Sendak's Books, The Sign on Rosie's Door and The Nutshell Library. It's about how kids make it through a long summer day, by creating their own fantasies and converting these into the dramas that they perform on city stoops and streets -- scenes that were familiar to Sendak, too, from his own Brooklyn boyhood. In Sendak's neighborhood, the reigning diva is a little girl, with an indomitable sense of herself and an inexhaustible sense of play: Rosie. Here's Carole King singing a little of Rosie's signature song:

There are other kids on the block -- Johnny who loves to count; Alligator who wears a propellor beanie and can't wait to recite the alphabet; Pierre, "who only could say I don't care," and gets eaten by a visiting lion; and last but not least, a little boy with a curious name, Chicken Soup, who dishes out that tonic for every month of the year. There aren't many better birthday presents than this, served up in a bowl of Ms. King's delicious music:

Copyright 2001 by John Cech

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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:23:39 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for the Study of Children's Literature and Media and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."