To All the Little Children Who Will Read About Mr. Snake, Mr. Frog, and Lazy Liza Lizard:
I want you to know how these stories happened to be. It is all because two little girls liked to have stories told to them. When my mother was a little girl, her old Negro nurse, Aunt Kiziah Washington, told her stories, and my mother told those stories to me.
Here is one of the verses that Aunt Kiziah used to say to my mother:
Snake baked a hoecake; set the Frog to mind it,
Frog fell asleep, and Lizard came and stole it.
Bring back my hoecake, you long-tailed nanny!
One day I decided that a good story could be made of this little verse, so I wrote the story Mr. Frog Watches the Hoecake. Little children liked it so much that I made another about Mr. Snake, Mr. Frog, and Lazy Liza Lizard. Little children liked this so much that I made this book full of stories about Mr. Snake, Mr. Frog, and Lazy Liza Lizard. But Lazy Liza Lizard got so bad in the stories that I made a story to show that Lazy Liza Lizard wasn't so bad at all but could be Lovely Liza Lizard, and that is how that story got to be.
Now I suppose that to this very day Mr. Snake, Mr. Frog, and Lazy Liza Lizard are having their adventures. It may be that at this very minute Lazy Liza Lizard is peeping through the fence ready to carry off one of Mr. Snake's prize pumpkins. If Old Mr. Frog doesn't look out, she may get it, too.
And now that I have finished these stories and told you how this book got to be a book, I hope very much that you will enjoy it.
Sincerely your friend,