cover image It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It

It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It

Robert Fulghum. Villard Books, $18.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58056-2

Fulghum's second book seems destined to follow All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten as a bestseller. Quoting a man rescued from a burning bed, the title is a clue to the merriment in some of the essays collected here, inviting readers to laugh as they empathize with those who put themselves in absurd situations. These stories remind us that there is a clownish facet in everyone's character, one of the traits that makes us human. In other entries, the author describes the joys of climbing trees and of overcoming the hassles that threaten a great Christmas pageant. The selections beguile and educate, whatever the subject, but most moving is Fulghum's short biography of John Pierpont, who died at age 81, and failed at everything despite promising beginnings. Though overlooked, notes the author, the record shows he accomplished much, not the least of which was writing ``Jingle Bells.'' BOMC featured Selection; QPBC alternate; author tour. (Sept.)