Peter Yarrow and Puff the Magic Dragon: Full Circle - Page 7
Today, Peter has brought back an old friend… Well our dear old friend has never really gone away. However, he is back with a new twist.
November 15th, Puff the Magic Dragon re-entered the marketplace with an exciting new pop-up book from Sterling Publishing, and an iPad app that is sure to get the attention of the little ones.
“It’s amazing that these kids know all the words to a 50 year old song.” Peter delighted in the children’s appreciation of Puff who himself has become an institution.
Jeffrey Schechter, co-founder PadWorx who developed the iPad app, commented on the awesome opportunity to work with Peter Yarrow on bringing a legendary song and story into the 21st century.
“Peter is a very passionate person, which informs everything he does. He also is more keenly aware than anyone of the legacy of Puff. Working with him on the app was a very smooth process, as most of the artwork and design heavy-lifting was previously done for the traditionally published book. The animated elements that we created were all prototyped and shown to Peter for his input and approvals. The wonderful thing about working with Peter is that, as an artist himself, he is very respectful of the artistic process. His comments were consistently helpful and insightful, while also being very collaborative.”
Peter and I had the opportunity to discuss the idiotic urban myth that exists about the song.
“It’s stupid. It was written in 1959 before anyone here knew what a joint was. Ten years later, I could’ve written the song about it.”
It is evident that this is a reflection of how jaded and cynical our society has become when we have nothing better to do than to question an innocent children’s song.
In closing, Peter answered the rhetorical question that he himself asked. (I wanted to ask this too, the guy is psychic!) If his final curtain call were to come soon, what is the last thing he would want to do… Here it is, my friends;
“One thing I want to accomplish in my life before I cash it in. I would say the most important thing I could do is to restore the place of music in the lives of kids as communal form that elicits from them the kind of honesty and openness and vulnerability that allows the spiritual transformation that was inherent in my life’s trajectory. Whether it was in front of a quarter million people in 1963, Dr. King, whether it was tonight in this group of people, or any single moment that I simply believe that all the other things that I might contribute are not as much to the point as my sense that there is a language that can be shared that opens us to the dimensions of a kind of caring that is essential for the survival of our world, of our humanity, of our decency. That is a best practice, not in terms of trying to inculcate it into the culture of adult society and make it available to kids. Therefore, if you go to Operationrespect.org, you see what we have done, and you catch the spirit and joy of it, then you’ll understand why every time I get on that stage and sing these songs that reconfirm that hypothesis. That is why the creation of these books is important to me. It is very transformational. It’s just the singing that happened tonight. One thing I think I can do is to inculcate into the development of children the social and emotional dimensions of caring that are foundation of living a life of compassion, caring, generosity, and fairness. That’s essentially what I want to do. That’s a pragmatic assessment of what I can do best.”Continued on the next page