Friday, December 19, 2014

Great Holiday Give Day 1 - Beast of Monsieur Racine

My all time favorite Tomi Ungerer book was reissued by Phaidon this past summer. 

The Beast of Monsieur Racine.


So it's only fitting that this would be my first pick for the Great Holiday Give! 
 (You know, that week before Christmas where I give away new reprints of insanely awesome vintage children's books?)

My original post on the book from 2010 is here. The new book is here. My interview with Tomi is here. And it's still not too late to order it in time for Christmas here.

Sooooo without further yadda yadda yadda, I will be giving away one copy of this magically creepy and fabulously wonderful book. To be entered to win a copy, simply comment on this post by 11:59 PM CT Tuesday, December 23. The winner will be announced (along with all the other winners from the week) on Christmas Eve!!!! 
This book was sent to me by the publisher to giveaway, but I don't think I need to tell you that this in no way educated my opinion of Phaidon, this book and/or the level of pure swank of either. 

The Great Holiday Give will last four more days, so be sure and check back each day to find out about a new vintage reprint and enter to win a different book. Good luck!


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Great Holiday Give 2014

My! Have I been asleep at the wheel. I just realized we are a week out from Christmas and I haven't posted the Great Holiday Give yet. Whew. Forgive me.

If there is still anyone out there listening, I'll be running five days of giveaways starting today with the winners announced on Christmas Eve. Stand by!


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Knee-High Nina

Knee-High Nina
Jack Kent ~ Doubleday, 1980

Not the most inspired Jack Kent of the bunch, but I am still on a mission to chronicle every last one of his books. The sweetest part of this little ditty is that it follows the classic Kent formula of a wee one wishing she/he was something other than wee. And I love love love the blue and yellow!

Nina was only knee-high. Mostly what she saw was the bottom of things. If she wanted to see anything up high, someone had to lift her up. If she wanted anything from a shelf, someone had to reach it down for her.

Life's rough when grownups are always telling you "You're wearing me out!" and you always have to study the bottom of things. Ah yes, there's always a wish, and in a Jack Kent book, wishes always come true, even if it does seem like the grass is always greener. In a freaky Friday twist of fate, everything gets flipped upside down and comedy ensues.

If you've never read the bit I did on Kent a while back in our local alternative press, check it out. (The post by his son, too)  And if you are a newcomer to his stuff, run don't walk to your nearest used book shop and try to get yourself a copy of Dooly and the SnortsnootMr. MeeblesJust Only John or any one of his fabulous fables.

Also by:
Jack Kent's Twelve Days of Christmas
I Was Walking Down the Road
The Grown-Up Day
The Fox and the Crow
The Biggest Shadow in the Zoo
The Animobile Book
Jack Kent's Book of Nursery Tales
Dooly and the Snortsnoot
Mr. Meebles
Cindy Lou and the Witch's Dog
The Blah
Jack Kent's Valentine Sticker Book
The Bremen-town Musicians
Round Robin
Just Only John
Fly Away Home
Fat Cat
Piggy Bank Gonzales
Socks for Supper


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let's Eat

Bill Martin Jr. ~ Larry NicholsonHolt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967

I'm doing a twofer this weekend for two reasons. Children's photography books from the 60s and 70s! Yay! And apparently the photographers of that era made great parents. The photos in this book were taken mostly by Larry Nicholson, who has at least one super loving son who's a pretty sweet photog himself. No words here just a kid getting a milk mustache, more kids eating ice cream, slurping spaghetti, candy, cake, strawberries, hotdogs.... all the things even kids today love. (Some of the food images are courtesy of General Foods and Birds Eye as you know how important children's nutrition is to those corporate giants.) The concept for this book is credited to Bill Martin Jr., author of the Eric Carle illustrated classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, giving it yet another layer of awesomeness. 

Anyway, happy Sunday and behold the magic of children with food long since gone. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Walk

The Walk
Bill Binzen ~ Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1972

One of the things I've loved most about this blog is finding out the forgotten stories and people behind old books. The library where I work has a pretty dated children's book section WHICH I LOVE, and I often go down and check out the selection. The other day I came across this one from my birth year. I have a soft spot for photographic children's books of this era, most notably ones like Why I Built the Boogle House, Do you know what I'm going to do next Saturday?, A Very Young Dancer and The Little Lamb. I could go on and on about all the things I love about these books, but mainly it's just fun to time machine back to a different place. I was particularly taken with this one because of its vintage photos of the streets of New York City, and a story line that reminds me of adventures from my own childhood that could never happen in my own son's overprotective suburban existence.

Charlie had waved good-bye to his friend Frank as the bus pulled away from the Boys' Club. Frank was off for two weeks at the Boys' Club camp in the country. I wonder what it's like at that camp? Charlie had thought as he walked home.

Shortly, Charlie gets a postcard from his friend telling him how awesome camp is so he and his other friend, Tony, decide to walk to the camp to see for themselves. Thus begins a journey that takes them over trash piles on Spring Street, a traffic jam on Grand, over the "Commerce Street Bridge" (not sure what that is), across the expressway to meet up with Charlie's Uncle Jack who lives in the Bronx and happens to drive his vegetable truck by the camp everyday.

Though simple in theory, this is a pretty awesome quest for these two young boys to embark on, as evidenced when Uncle Jack drops the boys on a random highway near the camp... "It was a strange feeling to watch the truck disappear down the road."

Woven within is an implicit conservation theme frequently found in books with this early-era Sesame Street feel.

I Googled around for some info on the author. Ends up he passed away in 2010 but his family maintains a website in his honor with a fabulous life history that includes fighter pilot, 1960s Ogilvy Benson & Mather ad-man, Life photographer and patriarch to a family with six granddaughters. His bio references his first photographic book for children, Miguel's Mountain, about a large pile of dirt in Tompkins Square Park NYC that became a makeshift playground for all the children in the neighborhood.

A cool but quiet legacy for a dude who could take a pretty good shot.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Magic Bubble Trip

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert ~ Kane/Miller 1985

An early book by a husband and wife team who are two of the most famous children's book authors in the Netherlands, its cover haunted me for a while before I actually picked it up and read it. The fantastical realism inside, didn't disappoint.

Meet James. He lives in a tall apartment building, but loves to visit the pond in the woods behind his place. His folks are always getting on him about bringing frogs back to the apartment, and one day, sad and dejected missing his frog friends, James begins blowing bubbles and something strange happens.

One of the soap bubbles began to grow bigger and bigger and bigger. When it had grown so large that it completely surrounded James, it started to float out of the window, carrying him along in it! 

It's not until his bubble finally lands that things get freaky. He meets a mess of grass frogs that eventually take him to Mr. Odd-and-Ends, a guy that lives by an enormous junkyard in a house made of junk, grass, rabbit hutches, and other, ahem, odds and ends.

The mysterious man makes all sorts of things... like toys made out of shoes and match boxes, button snakes, but even better, a Heli-plane; one that is missing a part that James just happens to have in his pocket.

Not really sure how the story arrives at the ending, but let's just say, James' parents don't have much of a problem with frogs anymore.

Wild, weird, and wonderful.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

one, two, where's my shoe

one, two, where's my shoe
Tomi Ungerer ~ Harper & Row, 1964
new edition from Phaidon, out in September

I finally got around to watching the Tomi Ungerer biopic, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, and it has totally inspired me to see if I can make my Ungerer collection run a little deeper. Been seeking out titles on eBay and the like and came across this sweet little semi-wordless book that only has two lines of text, one on the first page and one on the last.

 I was delighted to see that Phaidon is reissuing it next month.

Each spread has the image of a shoe hidden creatively within it.

Brilliant but simple images and colors for the earliest Tomi readers.

If you haven't already, check out my interview with Tomi last year.


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