Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Nose Book

The Nose Book
Al Perkins ~ Roy McKie
Random House, 1970

I mean who doesn't love Random House's Bright and Early books? We grew up with them. They have their own section in most big-box book chains. They are still pretty rockin' today. But what I don't understand is why RH feels it must constantly muck with a good thing.

As I pointed out in my review of Summer (where some key pages were axed to make the book more friendly), a nose -- even by the same name -- is not the same. Then, last week, I was over at a friend's house and saw that she has a new copy of The Nose Book that looks very different from the one I own.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the illustrator Joe Mathieu. He's old school Sesame Street and a very whimsical and enjoyable artist, but what was wrong with the drawings of Roy McKie? I mean, if they wanted an updated nose book, could they not have just written another nose book? Why did they have to use Al Perkins' words? And this isn't just a mere re-imagining of the book. They obviously asked Joe to redraw the pictures to make them more contemporary... so essentially they are the same pictures, just updated. I happen to think Mr. McKie's drawings are still pretty rad and hysterical, and my son has certainly enjoyed his vintage copy time and time again. I mean, I am biased because I sort of have a crush on Roy (for unknown reasons), and lament that I'll never get a chance to meet the guy.... but still.

Everybody grows a nose.
I see a nose on every face.
I see noses every place!
A nose between each pair of eyes.
Noses! Noses! Every size.

Maybe there is something political at play here that as a collector of old kids' books I am not privy to... copyright law... who knows? That said -- not to rain on Joe's parade (I STILL LOVE YOU MAN!) -- if you have a chance to get hold of an original, it's worth it. (Hey, there are copies on Amazon now for only a penny!)

Also by:
Travels of Doctor Dolittle
Bennett Cerf's Book of Animal Riddles


  1. On behalf of my dad, Roy McKie - who is hale and hearty in the state of New Jersey - thanks for the nice comments on his drawings.

  2. Oh my god! Please tell him my son loves him. Summer was one of the first vintage books I bought for him, and at 2 years old, when he saw fireworks for the first time he exclaimed, "Look just like Summer!" Your dad's drawings are just so full of life and joy. Tanks for the comment, and glad to hear he is well!