Saturday, September 03, 2011
I have to share a few images from this fantastic edition of "The Three Bears". Published in 1942 by Random House; illustrated by Mary Cameron. It's just about perfect, don't you think?
My favorite part has to be the mapped-out endpapers. Here's the full view ariel view of the county in which Goldilocks and the Bears dwell:
I guess, while I never did before, I can envision Goldilocks living in a 19th century farmhouse with detached garage and barn:
But I have to admit, I never pictured The Three Bears in a gabled colonial with a formal duck pond, beehives, and chicken house.
Very nice, bears.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I'm going to deviate from the usual structure today to talk about some non-shabby books I have. Over the last year or so, I've been coming across a number of picture books from the 1970's published by Scroll Press. I can't recall ever having seen anything by this press in my previous 20+ years of buying, so maybe someone local is trickling a collection out into the market?
If I had to find a common denominator among the books, it would have to be that there's just something more thoughtfully wrought, more conceptual and deliberate about them.
Take for instance, the graphically brilliant, "The Ship in the Fields" by Giulia Niccolai and illustrated by Henny and Luciano Boschini. It's a trip through Holland as told from the perspective of a large ship. The first few pages give the reader a history of the geography of Holland and the rest of the book follows "Augusta" as she travels through the landscape.
The same approach is used in two other books, "Chasing Whales Off Norway" and "A Trip Through Cambodia".
In "The Circle Sarah Drew" and "The Line Sophie Drew" by Peter and Susan Barrett, a simple form is reinterpreted from differing perspectives.
"I Can Be Anything You Can Be!" explores gender equality as a young boy tells his female friend that she can't aspire to his goals and she repeatedly affirms that indeed she can.
All manner of transportation is explored with Horst Lemke's amazing illustrations in "Ride With Me Through ABC".
"A Moment in Time" explores the simple event of a falling apple.
Then there are the unusual stories. "The Un-Terrible Tiger" by Miroslav Zahradka tells the tale of a little tiger who loved birds and flowers much to the chagrin of his own kind. He is chased out of the jungle and after demonstrating his kind disposition to everyone he meets along the way, is made a zoo-keeper in the city.
"Vodnik" by Stepan Zavrel is the story of the horrible Vodnik the Waterman, a creature that lives at the bottom of the lake and comes out dripping at night to capture children's minds in jars and change their bodies into fish.
"Rhymes and Ballads of London" by Carole Tate is an illustrated collection of just that.
I've tried to do a little research on Scroll Press, but can't find any reference to them. There seems to be another press by the same name these days, but I don't think there's any connection.
I'm curious about who was involved and what might have been the philosophy that drove their selections. I'd also like to know just how many titles they published and maybe see a complete list. If any of you readers have access to more information, please let me know.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This tattered ex-library book by Alene Dalton was published by Children's Press in 1951 and illustrated charmingly by Mary Gehr.
It tells the story of twin puppies, Fluffy and Bluffy and their quest for the nicest present in all the world for their mother.
One day the puppies decided to surprise their mother. It wasn't her birthday. It wasn't Christmas. It wasn't even a holiday. It was just a day that Fluffy and Bluffy wanted to to find their mother the nicest present in all the world because they loved her so much. Away they went into the Enchanted Wood.
By and by they heard a rustle. They heard a thump. There stood Peter Rabbit. "Well, twirl my whiskers!" exclaimed Peter Rabbit. "What are you doing in the Enchanted Wood?"
"We are looking for the nicest present in all the world for our mother. Do you know what it is?"
"Certainly," said Peter Rabbit. "It is golden carrots." He gave them a carrot.
When Peter had disappeared back into the woods, Bluffy said, "A carrot does not seem like the nicest present in all the world." "Let's look a little further," said Fluffy.
Fluffy and Bluffy soon came to a little lake. They heard a splash! There, the Three Little Pigs were drinking noisily.
"Good morning!" called Fluffy and Bluffy.
"Well, straighten our curly tails," answered the Three Little Pigs. "What are you doing in the Enchanted Wood?"
"We are looking for the nicest present in all the world for our mother. Do you know what it is?"
"Certainly, " said the good little pig. "It is wolf-proof paint."
While Fluffy went with him to get a can of it, the other two pigs led Bluffy into the thickest part of the wood. They thought they were very clever.
"See that cave over there?" they asked. "That is wehre the Big Bad Wolf lives."
"Are you afraid of him?" inquired Bluffy
"No!" they replied. "If we should see him right now we'd pop him in the jaw and spin him by his tail."
Bluffy and the two pigs laughed and laughed and laughed.
Suddenly they heard a horrible growl. They whirled around! coming toward them was a great big furry beast. "EEEEEEK!" squealed the two little pigs. "It is the big bad wolf."
Before Bluffy knew what had happened, the wolf had chased the two little pigs out of sight.
Bluffy was left alone. He was lost. Where was Fluffy" A big tear slid down his cheek. He cried and cried.
Bluffy started to run. He bumped into a giant toadstool. He heard a tinkle. He heard a little bell. He wondered what it was. A little elf with one wing slid down the toadstool and landed in front of BLuffy.
"Who are you and why are you crying?" he asked.
"I'm Bluffy, and I'm lost."
"How did you get lost?" asked the little elf.
"I didn't stay on the path," sobbed Bluffy.
"Are you always naughty?"
"I guess I am. BUt I don't mean to be."
My name is Fibber-dibberus." said the elf. "They call me Fibber-dibberrus because I...tell...fibs." But I've learned my lesson. Both of my wings slowly disappeared.
"But you have one wing," said Bluffy.
"It grew a little because I was truthful and kind. I'd be glad to help you get unlost." said the elf.
Fibber-dibberus rang his little bell. As if by magic, Bluffy found himself beside Fluffy. Fibber-dibberus was there, too. Bluffy turned him around to see if his second wing had started to sprout.
"Oh, Fibber-dibberus! Your second wing has grown an inch!"
"We have a carrot and a can of wolf-proof paint," said Fluffy.
"That doesn't look like the nicest present in all the world. Let's look further." said Bluffy.
Fluffy and Bluffy soon came to a little house at the edge of the wood. They knocked on the door. Nobody answered. They knocked again. Baby Bear opened the bottom half of the door.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"We are Fluffy and Bluffy, and we are looking for the nicest present in all the world for our mother. Do you know what it is?"
"Certainly," said Baby Bear, "Come inside and we will tell you."
The door to the Three Bears' house opened wide.
There was the middle-sized Mama Bear. And there was the Great Big Papa Bear!
Fluffy and Bluffy forgot what they had come for. They dropped the carrot and the wolf-proof paint and ran for home as fast as they could go.
They jumped into Mother's lap. They threw their arms around her neck.
"What a surprise!" said Mother. "You have brought me the nicest present in all the world."
Fluffy and Bluffy looked at each other. They looked under the chair. They looked under the rug.
Mother laughed and laughed. "You can't see the nicest present in all the world," she said.
"The nicest present is love, especially when it is wrapped up in a big bear hug."
Thursday, July 14, 2011
This is a well-loved Whitman Pillow Book from 1967 illustrated by two of my favorites; Bonnie and Bill Rutherford. It's completely disbound and held together with brittle tape, but I'll make the most of it here.
Whiffles was a small fuzzy brown pony who had the run of a vast farm.
"One sunny morning, nice old Farmer Hayrick came out into the meadow. He began to brush Whiffles. He brushed him until he tickled, until he tingled, until he felt warm and good. He brushed him until he wasn't fuzzy anymore."
"There now, Whiffles, " said Farmer Hayrick. "Now you are as shiny as a new penny."
Whiffles, being a pony, had no notion of what a penny looked like and so went to ask his friend Old Dapple Dobbs. "A penny," he said, "is very shiny. And sometimes it can make a tinkly ringing noise. I saw one once."
"A penny must be a fine thing," decided Whiffles. "I will look for one." And he headed out to find a penny. He encounters a shiny pail of milk in the barn and as it fits the description, he investigates and only succeeds in tipping over the pail, incurring a scolding from Farmer Hayrick.
Mr. Buttons, the goat informs Whiffles that not only is a penny shiny, it is also round, like the full moon. And it is that same beautiful sort-of-orange color.
"Oh," said Whiffles, "a penny must be the most beautiful thing in the whole world. And I would like to have one." He continues his search around the farm and comes upon the duck pond, in which something was shining. It was only the sun making the water sparkle.
Whiffles looked in the tractor shed, in the apple orchard, and in the hayfield. And then in the cornfield, he saw a thing lying on the ground. it was round. It was shiny. It was orange.
"A penny!" thought Whiffles, touching the thing with his nose.
But then Farmer Hayrick came hurrying. "Skedaddle there, Whiffles," he called. "Don't you touch that big, round, ready-to-pick pumpkin!"
As Whiffles was about to give up, around the curve came a motor car. A little girl leaned out the window to get a better look at Whiffles. The car stopped. The little girl hopped out and ran toward Whiffles. Suddenly her father called, "Wait, honey! You have dropped your purse and spilled those pennies of yours!"
Whiffles ears perked up. He trotted over to the little girl and looked down. There lying in the grass were three shiny, round sort-of-orange things. So these were pennies!
Whiffles' head drooped. His ears drooped. Sadly he turned away. "Pennies are nice," he said to himself. "But they aren't as nice or as pretty as I thought they would be. They are not the most beautiful things in the whole world."
Suddenly Whiffles heard the girl's father say something. "Penny," he said, "you must be more careful, or you will lose those pennies."
The little girl laughed. "I'll be more careful, Daddy," she promised.
Whiffles blinked. Was the little girl a penny, too? That was what her father called her.
Whiffles looked carefully at this Penny. Her hair was the color of a big sort-of-orange moon. Her eyes were as shiny as the sky on a sunny summer day. And best of all, when she laughed it was the tinkliest most ringing kind of laught Whiffles had ever heard.
Now that, thought Whiffles, is exactly the kind of penny I would like for my very own! He went up to the little girl and rubbed against her arm.
The little girl put her arms around Whiffles and hugged him.
"Oh Daddy," she said, "this is exactly the kind of pony I would like for my very own!"
And that's exactly what happened!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This is actually the second copy of this book that I have come across. The first one was in respectable condition, so I felt obligated to sell it. This one, however, is decidedly shabby enough that I can add it to my collection without any guilt.
Find the Cat by Elaine Livermore is an early (1973), and in my opinion, a more artistically legitimate, take on the hidden picture phenomenon. Her illustration style makes me think of what Edward Gorey might have created had he suffered from palsy. I love the way Livermore plays fast and loose with perspective and pattern. On every page, the reader is encouraged, along with the dog in the story, to "find the cat". Despite the small size of the page, finding the cat is not as easy as you'd think.
The story begins as the cat and dog argue over possession of a large bone:
The dog wins, but once he takes a nap, the cat steals the bone and hides it away:
This sets the dog on a journey through the house to find the cat:
and he looks:
and he looks some more:
By the time the dog finds the cat, he has become quite aggravated:
Once the cat escapes outside to the yard, the hunt is on once again:
Can you find the cat?:
At long last, the dog finds the cat and chases him through an open window into the house:
And is finally reunited with his beloved bone: