James Flora ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965
Everybody loves this guy. King of 50s jazz album art and a highly collectible children's book author. Like most of his titles, this one seems so modern and vibrant, you're shocked to find that it was published decades ago. The humor is titillatingly subversive and the storytelling so completely hip, if you have just one of his books you find yourself doing anything to get the others.
Thus, I didn't have this one and was delighted to find it at a monster library sale. My son wags his tail for Grandpa's Farm in particular because... well, it has the word farm in it and all the animals that go hand in hand with that term. The storyline is delightfully kooky, a old codger spinning tall tales for his excited grandson.
When I sit on Grandpa's lap, his beard tickles the top of my head. Only he says it isn't really his beard. It's his eyebrows.
"Years ago I didn't have any hair on my chin," Grandpa said. "I just had big bushy eyebrows. Then along came the Big Wind of '34. That wind was so strong that it blew my eyebrows all the way down my chin."
Flora had such an eye for design and irony, and a wonderfully wicked spirit that just bounces off the page. His books are real treasures.
(If you like this one, the Grandpa who comes back into play here and here, and there's a chicken that turns back up here.)
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Kangaroo for Christmas
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
The Fabulous Firework Family