Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gaston and Josephine in America

The story, "Gaston and Josephine in America" by Georges Duplaix, reminds me a lot of the kind of stories my grandmother would tell me at bedtime.
She'd say, "Once there was a little girl who lived in the country and liked picking apples off the trees, and one day she decided to take a train ride to the city where she had fun with her cousin and they saw a movie and then went to the park, etc.."

This type of story rambles on and on implausibly and switches gears without warning, but the illustrations in Gaston and Josephine are worth the trip.

I won't even begin to try to describe every single thing that Gaston and Josephine get into, but I'll show you a few highlights.

To begin with, the two pigs are from France and have presumably come to America to visit their cousins,who live on a ranch in Arizona. They arrive in New York, but immediately become separated from their family and their adventure to become reunited in Arizona starts when they take jobs in a diner. Gaston flips pancakes while Josephine is the best waitress ever:

They get big tips, save their money and hit the road, going by foot to be thrifty, but quickly realize that their progress is way too slow. In one town they encounter three bad men and then in their haste to get away, they grab onto the back of a car.

When they realize that the car is being driven by the robbers, Josephine squeals and the robbers are frightened off, leaving a grateful old millionare in the car, who rewards them with loads of cash as well as the car (who knows how he got back home to his plantation in Louisiana).

They tootle on to Hollywood, where they meet Charlie Chaplin who impulsively invites them to make a movie of their adventures. They film the movie and then head on to their uncle's ranch in Arizona.

They become champion cattle ropers and bronco riders in no time and quickly settle into their southwestern lifestyle:

Eventually their movie hits the local theater and the whole family goes to view it, first crying then laughing. Their uncle asks if they are glad their adventures are over and they declare that they hope there are many many more! Whew!


Belle said...

I just love your collection. These books brought back such sweet memories. I used to read The Fourteen Bears to my girls.

Anonymous said...

God bless hand-rendered art (as opposed to computer generated) particularly as found in vintage children's books. We'll never see fairytale art like it again. Thanks for sharing your stash. I am currently haunting a huge find at a nearby antique store. I'll be going back for a third time this week. But like you, I love library finds and church thrift shop finds too. Bless you for being a keeper and sharer of old art and literature. The old books were much gentler and more respectful of children and home it seems, and missed. Betty

Anonymous said...

Wow! My kids grew up on the original "Gaston and Josephine", where they come across France to Paris and from there to America. I didn't even know there was a sequel! Very cool. Was it ever published in the US? My copy of the first story is from Golden Books. --Geraldine

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a song about Gaston and Josephine which tells how their uncle wrote a letter saying ' come and visit me in A merica and you'll sail on a great big boat'.... We had this little 'golden record' when we were children and I would like to have the words to this song!

Anonymous said...

For many years, I have been attempting to remember a favorite book, one of the 100's my mother read to me. There were 2 pigs and I thought they went to France. Josephine was one. Recently Gaston
came to mind. What a wonderful rendition you give of the story, took me right back laughing on my mother's lap (circa 1951) 2 brothers (one more to come) at her side. Thank you for providing me with such a wonderful memory.

Anonymous said...

I would love to be able to find a book I had when I was a child. The only thing I remember about it is that it had a picture of a cat who flipped a pancake which landed on its head. After over 60 years I still remember the expression on the cat's face as he held the empty frying pan.
Does anyone remember it?