Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Don't Put Mustard in The Custard

Above is Michael Rosen reading Don't Put Mustard in the Custard
Here is the link

This poem tells the story of a father telling his son what not to do. The words say one thing, however Quentin Blake's illustrations depict the complete opposite. This is not only nonsense poetry, it is also subversive. The words are representing something different to the visual imagery which would suggest that even though the words are what should be followed, the pictures tell us that the child is going to ignore the demands just like the child in the poem. The "don'ts" that are being put in place are all very comical. The title, "don't put mustard in the custard" seems like an obvious thing as an adult, however Michael Rosen again has cleverly defined the line between childhood and adulthood as it seems that children have no realisation between what is right and wrong.

The last stanza of the poem says,
"Don't throw fruit at the computer
don't throw fruit at the computer.
Don't what?
Don't throw fruit at the computer.
Don't what?
Don't throw fruit at the computer.
Who do you think I am?
Some kind of fool?"

This final part of the poem highlights that whilst children behave as if they have no concept between what is right or wrong, they do in fact understand what is precious to them. Whilst children are innocent and easily influenced, they are also very stubborn and to an extent selfish in comparison to an adult. This is simply due to the fact that as suggested they have no concept of certain things. The food has no relevance when the young boy is being told to not put toffee in the coffee or to not pour gravy on the baby however, when the computer becomes part of the situation he considers that as more important than the food.
The moral figure in this poem is most simply the food itself. It has no importance throughout the poem, until it becomes aligned with something which is more important to the child. Only then does the child understand the importance of what his father is saying to him.

Works Cited: Rosen, M. and Blake, Q. 1996. Don't put mustard in the custard. London: Scholastic.

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