Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Peter and the Wolf and The Weird Coincidence

Well, it's happened again. Blog about a series of coincidences often enough, and surely there'll be more coincidences. (And don't call me Shirley.)

A week ago, one set of metal shelves, from a forgotten corner of the school library, collapsed, spilling their contents of bulky, excess, to-be-deleted teacher reference materials all over the floor! I immediately put in a request for our general assistant to re-bolt the shelving to the wall, and they were repaired with great efficiency. However, the piles of scattered resources had to wait a few days for my undivided attention.

On Thursday, my school has a troupe of puppeteers visiting, to perform Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" for the students. Last Friday, one of the teachers said she'd scoured her own book collection, wanting to find a text version of the classic story. (She'd been playing numerous variations on the spoken-word-with-musical-accompaniment version.) On Monday morning, a different teacher mentioned that she wanted a text version, too. I typed "Peter and the Wolf" into OASIS Enquiry, but... "Computer says 'No'!"

Now, my last time in a school library was a decade ago, but I often find myself remembering the collection of my last school library. There, we had a set of about a dozen picture books based on famous musical works: "Coppelia", "Swan Lake", "The Carnival of the Animals", "Peter and the Wolf" and many others. Published in the early 70s, the internal artwork was of a Japanese inspiration, often using collage. In fact, when I mentioned this series to my current colleagues, they were sure that this library used to have them, too.

A search of classroom collections uncovered first one, then three more, books in the series. They'd been deleted, and moved out of the library years ago, due to lack of their circulation in the system but, today, as I finally got to those unwanted piles on the library floor, I found nine more books - including the elusive "Peter and the Wolf"!

You know, if that shelving hadn't collapsed on cue, I would not have gotten to that dusty, to-be-deleted shelf until the visiting puppeteers were a very distant memory.

And again: doo doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo...

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