Bruno Munari's Zoo
Bruno Munari/ published 1963 by The World Publishing Company
The copy I have of Italian design guru Bruno Munari's Zoo is the reissue from a few years back, but the bold color and illustrations hold up so well, it might as well have been published yesterday. So much of that design sense from the 50s and 60s is right in line with the look of today. Bruno's zoo tour begins with a series of signs, the first of which is pretty tickling.
Don't feed the animals:
don't give the birds to the fox,
the fox to the lion,
the parrot to the tiger.
Don't annoy the butterflies.
Leave the signs where they are.
The lion will be offended if you pull his tail.
It is forbidden to sit on the tortoise
or play with the bears.
Applaud the seals.
If I pull this one off the shelf, I am definitely looking at four or five reads before my son lets me tuck it out of sight. Ah well, it is short and sweet with large eye-popping illustrations so who can fault the boy for wanting to hear it again and again? Funny to notice the two little butterflies Bruno puts on each page. Lots of people do that sort of thing now, but it is funny to wonder just what he was thinking. Like an old time master painting himself into his pictures... are the wee flutterbugs the narrators?
You know, sometimes I wonder if the well will ever run dry on these books, and when I do... about 20 always pop up. It seems each vintage kids book I find to is a million times more incredible than the last. I suppose at some point I'll have to do a top 20 pick.... Maybe for the 1 year anniversary!
From Afar It Is An Island