Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Skiddycock Pond

Skiddycock Pond
by Bethany Tudor/ published 1965 by J.B. Lippincott

Written and illustrated by one of Tasha's two daughters, apparently Bethany penned a whole series on the little plush ducklings, Samuel and Samantha, back in the 60s. Calling this wee tale "cute" would be an understatement. I mean, it's a book about the misadventures of some cuddly toy ducks for heaven's sake. How much trouble can they get into? Her mother's influence overflows here, with a major difference being a somewhat dark turn that happens toward the end of the story.

So, the ducks and their friends are mildly freaked when a strange toy boat lands on their pond. They come up with a plan to extract the boat and commander it for their own. When some friendly frogs tell them to steer clear of the center of the pond, the warnings go unheeded and near-tragedy ensues.

All at once Samantha saw something moving along through the waterweeds. Gweek grabbed Samuel's telescope and rushed to the side of the boat. "It's an enormous snapping turtle coming right toward us," he squeaked. Everyone was terrified. Samuel didn't know what to do. Samantha was in tears and nobody was helping.

I've always imagined what it must have been like to grow up with Tasha Tudor as your mother ~ throwing lavish birthday parties for dolls and living off the earth. Now having seen this book, I'll bet it was a life spend storytelling and drawing and creating wonderful worlds of imagination, duh. So dear and unique is this family, it is nice to get introduced to some of the extended clan. For those who care to learn a little more about Tasha and her brood, Bethany also authored Tasha's biography Drawn from New England. Too, check out the memorial website the family set up after her passing. The memory book is signed by over 2000 people and has some pretty moving moments.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Me and My Flying Machine

Me and My Flying Machine
Marianna and Mercer Mayer
Parents' Magazine Press, 1971

Yes, it's true. I have a gigantic soft spot for Mercer Mayer, but if you read this blog with any regularity, you already know that. Had never set eyes on this story until last week... and not to be sexist here, but what an awesome book to give to a little boy (or girl... but I'm biased toward the former.) Illustrated by Mercer and written by his first wife, the tale begins...

Last summer I discovered an old barn.
It was full of great things.
There were boxes, pieces of wood.
There were even nails and a hammer.
I could build anything I wanted.
I'll build a flying machine, I thought,
and I started building.
I worked all day.

What follows is a dreamy evening in which the boy imagines all the incredible things he will do and journeys he will take once his machine is up and flying. Imaginative and funny, as in many of Mercer's book the boy has sidekicks (a cardinal and a dog) that share the action with him. Mayer... oh man, I love this guy, partly because he was one of my favorite childhood authors and partly because even though his illustrations are vaguely retro, they are sharp and modern enough to have been scribbled yesterday. I really and truly can't get enough of his stuff. Good thing the boy adores him... but what child (be it HE or SHE) never imagined building some kind of machine they could use to fulfill there wildest dreams? I dare ya to name one.

Also by:
Beauty and the Beast
Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp
Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-A-Zoo
One Monster After Another
A Special Trick
Little Monster at Work
One Frog Too Many
How the Trollusk Got His Hat
Bubble Bubble

Great Monday Give: The Little Red Hen

Yo. Everybody. This week I will be giving away a practically-brand new copy of the Little Golden Book The Little Red Hen. Sure it is from the Chick-fil-A promotion they did all those years ago, and I know you all (like me) would rather have a crusty old copy.... but it looks and feels and tastes just like a real Golden Book except it has the Chick-fil-A logo on the back. Regardless of the chicken slaughter it once promoted, the story inside still rocks. All you have to do to be entered to win this super-duperly cute book is comment on this post by MIDNIGHT ~ Sunday, October 5. A winner will be chosen at random.

Too, the winner of the amazingly-great book Never Talk to Strangers and last week's Great Monday Give is BONNIE... fellow Texan and garden adventurer @ Kiss Of Sun. Way to comment Bonnie! Please send me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com, and I'll mail the book to you in a timely fashion, though I still have two wins worth of books in the backseat of my car packaged and ready to go out tomorrow, I PROMISE!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen
by the Golden staff with pictures by J.P. Miller/ published 1954 by Western Publishing Company

Still jazzed by the Golden posts this week over at Meet Me at Mikes... and influenced by a copy I found for a song (that incidentally will be announced next week as the Great Monday Give), I figured it was time to start hitting the Little Golden books ~ of which the boy has at least a hundred. An all-time favorite in the Golden lexicon for lots of folks, The Little Red Hen is one I remember fondly. The boy loves it because it has a chicken, a duck and a goose, and I love it because the illustrations are so timeless.

J.P. Miller was one of the best-loved illustrators of the classic Golden Book era, and I particularly dig the little touches he adds. On the final page, the single chicken feather on the floor beside the bed. The "baby photo" of an egg on the chicken's bedside table. Or in this picture, the salt shaker that has been knocked to the floor. The pictures come off as so simple and primitive, yet there are so many things going on that add life to the book beyond what is written in the story. And who doesn't love the story?

One summer day the little Red Hen found a grain of wheat. "A grain of wheat!" said the little Red Hen to herself. "I will plant it." She asked the duck: "Will you help me plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I!" said the duck.
She asked the goose: "Will you help me plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I!" said the goose.

Basically it goes on from there... all her lazy friends refusing to help so that she does it all by herself until, at last, she sits down to a delightful dinner of fresh baked bread... all by herself. My mother co-opted this tale a long time ago, and used it against my sisters and me whenever we were uncooperative. A little fairy take can go a long way they say.

Also by:
Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather
Little Peewee
The Around the Year Storybook
Little Galoshes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Day the Cow Sneezed

The Day the Cow Sneezed
James Flora ~ Harcourt, 1957

The Day the Cow Sneezed was most famously reintroduced to the internet world in a blog post by Ward Jenkins... one of my favorite bloggers and the owner of this amazing flickr Mid Century Children's Book collection. (Plus he is a pretty cool illustrator in his own right.) Really... spend a few moments reading his post on the book as he is hugely passionate about this title and his giddy excitement for the subject is infectious.

Like most people who didn't buy this book in the 50s or find it at a library sale, I paid way more for it than I want to admit, but the post-read payback as been huge. If I read it once, I must plan on at least two or three more readings back to back. It is easily one of the boy's favorites ~ incorporating animals, zaniness and sounds effects, three things my son loves. And really, you can find copies online for the price of what two new hardcover children's books would cost anyway. And if your child doesn't tear it apart, you can think of it as an investment.

So, there's this cow, see...

I'll bet your cow never sneezed a hole in the school-house wall. Our cow did. Our old cow Floss sneezed so hard that she tore down city hall, opened up the zoo, and scared the whole city of Sassafras Springs. All with one sneeze.

That sneeze sets off a series of small catastrophes that take Fletcher and his farmyard friends (plus a crop of zoo animals) on a wild ride around town, over a mountain and into the Atlantic Ocean. Spectacular, fireworks infused fun!

Of all the Flora books, The Day the Cow Sneezed seems to be the one that people flock to the most. Ours is (of course) an old library copy, but still highly readable. The first week after I finally broke down and bought it, the boy demanded to sleep with it every night. (So much for that investment.)

UPDATE: Thank goodness it is back in print, so you guys won't have to endure the torture of watching a $50 book get tucked in with your toddler.

Also by:
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Kangaroo for Christmas
Stewed Goose
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Grandpa's Farm
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
The Fabulous Firework Family

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Runaway Flying Horse

The Runaway Flying Horse
by Paul Jacques Bonzon (translated by Susan Kotta) with illustrations by William Pène du Bois/ published 1976 by Parents' Magazine Press

Somewhere I read that this book was either written or translated from the French "Le Petit Cheval de Bois" (published in 1960) as a fundraiser for the merry-go-round in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.... the oldest such contraption in America. I, for one, am a sucker for carousels... but really, who isn't? Ours here in San Antonio isn't as historic, but it is still pretty crusty and cool. Sadly, my son's most memorable romp on an "up-and-down" was his first ~ inside of a mall in Indiana where his grandfather lives. But odds are he remembers hanging with his grandfather and riding the pony more than he does the Auntie Ann's that was across the way.

The story of a carousel horse that wishes it were real, The Runaway Flying Horse follows his magical flight from the 'ole round and round into the harsh real world of stable horse mocking and toy store bigotry. When he finally makes it back from his runaway journey through hell, he finds he's been replaced...

All his wooden horse courage left him. He had come so far and they had forgotten him. Not for the world could he bring himself to take to the road again. He wanted neither to be back in the stable with the real horses, nor in the loft where the Christmas toys lay covered with canvas. What was the good of going on if the carousel had no room for him anymore? All hope now lost, he simply collapsed.

Fear not readers, his despair isn't something a little paint and replacement horse hair can't fix. What I love about this book is it gives life to an inanimate thing that at its heart seems like it should have a majestic inner life. Carousel horses bring so much joy to children everywhere that it is fun to imagine them having minds of their own.

Also by:
Bear Party

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather

Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather
Dorothy Kunhardt ~ J.P. Miller ~ Simon and Schuster, 1935

Had never seen or heard of Mrs. Ticklefeather until I read about her on the Loganberry Books site, and as usual when serendipity strikes, it was only a matter of days before she and I would come face to face. I passed her over for what I thought was a bloated $10 price tag at an antique store in Virginia, only to have second thoughts later and send my mom back to fetch her.

Glad I did as it would have cost way more to meet her online. The story of an old woman and a puffin that doesn't really look like a puffin, it's an old favorite for a ton of people making this little Golden Book highly collectible. Written by the author of Pat the Bunny and famed Little Golden Book illustrator, J.P, I can totally see why people are hooked on or haunted by Ticklefeather's story.

So, there's this old lady (Ticklefeather)....

Mrs. Ticklefeather was a very thin old lady with a good sized feather in her hat, and on her feet she had tall black shoes with plenty of buttons. She lived on the top floor of a terribly high building because the top floor is the best place for getting sunshine, and, Oh, what a good thing sunshine is for thin old ladies.

And she has a pet puffin (Paul) and one day the puffin disappears while trying to make the old woman's dreams come true. Once she realizes the bird is MIA, Ticklefeather dispatches a kindly policeman to fetch her bird and so the story begins. What happens next is a little bizarre and mildly confusing, but hilarious all the same and fetchingly illustrated in that great 30s yet modern style. AWESOME. (Plus bird boy LOVES Puffins... even puffins that look more like parrots.)

(For more Little Golden Book fun, check out Meet Me At Mike's this week!)

Also by:
Little Peewee
The Little Red Hen
The Around the Year Storybook
Little Galoshes

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Good Luck! What Bad Luck!

by Remy Charlip/ published 1969 by Scholastic

Wow... this past week has been a good one for me and books. When you hit a once-a-year library sale or a thrift shop you've never been into before, you enter with so much hopeful excitement because nine out of ten times you are rewarded with something amazing. Let's just say, it was a good week.

One find that I was particularly psyched about was getting hold of this book for 25 cents. It was originally published as Fortunately in 1964... then republished under this title in '69...only to be returned to its original title... still in print today. I had seen this book before, but never owned it. Not familiar with the alternate title, I thought at first that it was a totally new and different book, but after a short inspection it was clear that not only had they changed the title for this version, but a good chunk of the text as well. Whereas in the original they use the terms "fortunately" and "unfortunately", here they use "good luck" and "bad luck"... That said, it's a novelty to find this altered paperback, so with that I will repeat it as is...

What good luck!
Ned got a letter that said,
"Please come to a surprise party."
What bad luck!
The party was in Florida and he was in New York.
What good luck!
A friend lent him an airplane.
What bad luck!
The motor exploded.

The story goes on from there, wrenching poor little Ned from one dizzying high to another terrible low. It's quite brilliant really. The illustrations are wonderful line drawings alternating between color and B&W. The terrible turns the story makes are so far out and drastic, they almost seem as if they'd be too much for a small child. However, the tone is so smart and fun that it never feels real, and its obvious that the stretch between the extremes is meant to challenge a child's imagination. Very much so a classic. You'd have to be dead not to love it.

Also by:
The Dead Bird
Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send For the Doctor Quick Quick Quick

Great Monday Give: Never Talk to Strangers

Check it out! Today is Monday, which means it is time once again for the Great Monday Give. The exciting thing is, I have found so many great books for 50 cents or less in the past few weeks that I am having a hard time deciding which one to give away so I'll pick one that isn't really worth that much money but is still a hugely fun and an awesome read with colors so vibrant and alive that they literally jump off the page and smack you in the butt! Whew.

Everyone, please give it up for this week's give... a very nice, super great, hardback Big Golden Book copy of Never Talk to Strangers by Irma Joyce and George Buckett!!!!!!!!! This book rocks my friend... let the commenting start NOW. One of you lucky people who comments before midnight ~ Sunday, September 28 will be selected at random to receive this book in your mailbox... free of charge and all the ties that bind.

In other news, this week's winner of last week's Great Monday Give ~ Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field is loft2dwell. YEA YOU! Please e-mail me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com and I will get you the book as fast as my car can get to the USPS... or not.


Friday, September 19, 2008

The Rabbits' Wedding

The Rabbits' Wedding
Garth Williams
Harper & Row, 1958

Since starting this blog over a year ago (has it really been a year!?!), many of you have brought up this book as one of your childhood favorites. I never owned it myself, and honestly, I had never really read it all the way through until last week. We checked it out from the library, and even the librarian remarked on the controversy it caused back in the day. According to The Encyclopedia of Censorship via the Wiki...

The Rabbits' Wedding by Garth Williams, was transferred from the open shelves to the reserved shelves at the Montgomery (Alabama) Public Library in 1959 because an illustration shows a black buck rabbit with a white doe rabbit. Such miscegenation, stated an editor in Orlando, was "brainwashing . . . as soon as you pick up the book and open its pages you realize these rabbits are integrated." The Montgomery Home News added that the book was integrationist propaganda obviously aimed at children in their formative years.

How such a sweet little book could cause such a stink I'll never know. It was a different world back them. For me, I'm taken by how obviously titillating the story is. It has more romance in it that a lot of the crappy date movies you see nowadays, and I could actually see giving this as a wedding present. When the two rabbits begin to express their feelings for each other, their wide-eyed expressions say as much (or more) as any kiss or caress.

"What are you always thinking about?"
asked the little white rabbit.
"I'm just thinking about my wish," replied the little black rabbit.
"What is your wish?" asked the little white rabbit.
"I just wish that I could be with you forever and always,"
replied the little black rabbit.
The little white rabbit opened her eyes very wide
and thought very hard.
"Why don't you wish a little harder?"
asked the little white rabbit.

Come on... is that sexy or what!?! The way these two rabbits interact with each other is exactly the way I see my son reacting to ladies he thinks are "cute." Such an honest and lovely story... I'm sorry now I've been missing it all these years.

Also by:
Wait Til the Moon is Full
Do You Know What I'll Do?
The Sky Was BlueThree Bedtime Stories
The Friendly Book

Thursday, September 18, 2008


by Robert Duvoisin/ published 1950 by Alfred A. Knopf

My son's bookshelves are double stacked, so every few weeks I rotate the ones in the back to the front so that everybody is getting a fair read. I've previously written up a couple of other titles featuring Petunia and her friends, but the original has made its way back into frequent rotation of late so I thought I'd give it a shout out.

Petunia is such a joy to read out loud and the pictures are absolutely darling. The lines have a real elegance that make the drawings seem contemporary even though it was sketched over 50 years ago. I'm a big fan of Duvoisin, but this is definitely his Great Gatsby. A would even go so far as to call this a must-have for every child's bookshelf. Plus all you bibliophiles will love the story... You see, there's this goose...

In the meadow, early one morning, Petunia, the silly goose, went strolling. She ate a bug here, clipped off a clover leaf there, and she picked at the dewdrops on the goldenrod leaves... then, suddenly, she saw something she had never seen before in the meadow. What was it? Petunia stole closer and closer and sniffed at it from all sides. "By Goosey Gander," she said, "it does not smell like food for a goose. But I believe I have seen such a thing before... yes, I have seen one under Bill's arm when he came out of school. It's a book. That's it. A BOOK!"

Poor silly goose. By simply having the book in her possession, she thinks it makes her wise and smarter than all her friends. Needless to say, Petunia leaves a path of destruction in her wake of genius, until at last she figures out... "It is not enough to carry wisdom under my wing. I must put it in my mind and in my heart."

Really, the message here is wonderful on so many levels. Still in print and available all over the net, if you don't yet possess this title yourself, get one under your wing ASAP.

Also by:
The Rain Puddle
Veronica and the Birthday Present
Petuna, Beware!
A Child's Garden of Verses
White Snow Bright Snow
Petunia's Christmas
The Old Bullfrog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tim Tomkins Circus Boy

Tim Tomkins Circus Boy
Rose Friedman with pictures by Polly Jackson/ published 1952 by Abingdon-Cokesbury Press

Anytime my son sees a vintage book about a circus, he's immediately turned off. I know many people that get freaked by clowns, and in books of old, the clowns usually play a pretty big part and are especially creepy. The only thing that redeems the circus for my boy is the fact that for every clown there are usually two or three animals. Granted, they are trapped in horribly cramped circus wagons, but still, animals none-the-less.

Soooo, there's this kid Tim, see, and he gets coaxed from his back yard by the alluring beat of the circus drum. Once he gets a load of the big top spread, he decides he might like to be a circus boy himself. He tries walking the tight rope. He clowns around. Then he hits the freak show... Too hungry to be the thin man. Too full to become the fat guy. To weak to match the weight lifter. Until, at last...

"Hi," Tim said. "Can I be the tattooed circus boy?"
The tattooed man looked at Tim. "Hmmm," he said. "There's not much of you to put pictures on."
"But I'll grow," Tim told him. "Then there'll be room for more pictures."
"All right," said the tattooed man, " hold out your arm."
"Will it wash off?" Tim asked.
"Oh, no, it never fades," said the tattooed man.
Tim put his arms behind his back. "I don't think my mother would like that," he said firmly.

Smart boy that Tim.

Tim Tomkins, Circus Boy has so many great illustrations, and this isn't particularly the best of the lot, but it's certainly the most interesting. Some of you might remember the famous Marx Brothers bit, Lydia the Tattooed Lady.... also spoofed on The Muppet Show. Nowadays, tattoos have become as common as baseball hats and you don't have to go to a sideshow circus to get an eyeball full. Your local swimming hole will do.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker

Leopold, the See-Through Crumbpicker
James Flora ~ Harcourt Brace & World, 1961

The second favorite Flora for my son behind Grandpas' Farm, the story follows a see-through creature who...

Leopold always waits for someone to come along who is eating cookies and making crumbs. One day he waited and waited.
A policeman walked down the street.
A man rode by on his horse.
A train whistled past.
But none of them was making crumbs.
Then came Minerva. She had lost her front teeth and she was always eating vanilla cookies. The crumbs were falling like snow on Christmas Day. Leopold followed Minerva.

The coolest thing about this book was watching my son listen to it for the first time and slowly figure out that Leopold is, in fact, invisible. (That's a heavy concept for a kid to fathom.)

Leopold does follow Minerva and causes all kinds of trouble ~ eating up lunches and picking crumbs all over! ~ until, at last, she thinks to paint him so that everyone can have a look-see. Eventually Leopold ends up in the zoo where all the children can bring him crumbs and enjoy the fun. The book ends with that ever important question...

Now, whenever it rains, Minerva goes to the zoo and puts new paint on Leopold. Sometimes she puts polka dots all over him--like this. He likes polka dots better than stripes. I do too. Do you?

Of course! Ten thumbs way up on this rad, rad book.

(I'm not actually gonna show you Leopold, as that would spoil your fun! Here's hoping Enchanted Lion gets to reprinting this soon.)

Also by:
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Kangaroo for Christmas
Stewed Goose
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Grandpa's Farm
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
The Fabulous Firework Family


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Big Orange Thing

The Big Orange Thing
Jerry Juhl ~ pictures by Charles E. Martin
Bradbury Press, 1969

I'm not sure where I first heard about The Big Orange Thing, but it ~ my friends ~ was one of those rare occasions when I learned of a book and specifically searched for it and then ultimately probably paid way too much for it... and (happily) I couldn't be more pleased. I was reminded of its existence recently by the blog Children's Illustration, and thought I too should share. THIS BOOK IS SOOOO GREAT!!!!!Most of you longtime readers know that as a child I was a huge Jim Henson fan and as a young woman worked shortly for his company's publishing division. Though I have grown out of my super-nerd fandom ~ for the most part ~ seeing the name Jerry Juhl on a children's book (A CHILDREN'S BOOK!!!) still sets my heart aflutter. (Not to mention illustrated by the famous New Yorker cover artist and one-time LeSeig/Seuss illustrator who goes by the name Charles E...)

The fact that this title was penned by one of Henson's original and longtime collaborators and the man who co-wrote the screenplay for The Muppet Movie is really neither here nor there. What is important is that behind its big, orange binding is a story that says everything about children and their ability to overcome adversity and make lemonade from lemons...When Charlie came home from school he was feeling terrible. He had drawn a picture of a duck. It was the best duck he had ever drawn. And his teacher had said, "That's a nice cow, Charlie." So Charlie was feeling terrible when he came home from school.

Motivated by this soul-crushing slight, Charlie sets to work building... well... ummm... a big, orange thing. An awesome big orange thing that eats oranges, draws pictures and talks! (And has a plunger for a foot, I might add.)

The book is funny. It is poignant. It is slightly weird (my fave!). And, the drawings are totally awesome. Two thumbs way up... and if you must know, the boy does like it... but come on... do you really think this blog is just about the books my kid loves?And, if anyone has a scan of the original cover, seeing as my book is jacketless, hook me up at webe(at)soon(dot)com... Thanks to stopping off place for this library cover scan!

Also by:
Hooper Humperdink...? Not Him!
For Rent

Great Monday Give: Wynken, Blynken and Nod

I am so psyched to review today's book that I'll get through the Great Monday Give quickly.

This week's free-vintage-book giveaway is...

Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field with illustrations by Barbara Cooney; a hardback, ex-library book in very good condition.

To be entered to win? Just leave a comment on this post before midnight ~ Sunday, September 21. I will select a winner at random and ship the book to them FREE OF CHARGE!

And now....last week's Great Monday Give winner of How the Rabbit Stole the Moon is...

The lovely California girl, Brooke at please hello who is all for bunnies stealing the moon.

Congrats and all that jazzy jazz... please send me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com and I will get the book to you as fast as humanly possible, that is if that human is a 102-year-old woman, confided to a wheelchair, who relies on her irresponsible, 22-year-old home-health care aid to get her to the post office once a month.

Now, for The Big Orange Thing!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Three Little Cats

Three Little Cats
by Anna and Edward Standon/ published 1964 by Delacorte Press

Another title for the Francophiles, if you are looking to teach your wee ones un peu du Français, look no further. Illustrated in simple blue and black, Trois Petits Chats is just as the title page describes "with a few words in FRENCH."

Once upon a time there were three little cats -- one, two, three, un, deux, trois. One was black, noir. One was white, blanc. One was white and black, blanc et noir. The little black cat was le petit chat noir. The little white cat was le petit chat blanc. So... the little white and black cat was? Le petit chat blanc et noir.

I could find out nothing on these two authors except for the small blurb on the flap which reads they met art school and their love of their son inspired them to do kids' books. Oh, and they live in London. The flap also describes the end of the book as an "amusing helter-skelter". WOW. When I first read it, I was expecting one of the cats to turn on his brothers in a Satan-drenched horror replete with pig's blood graffiti and a movie-of-the-week starring Steve Railsback. Sadly, said helter-skelter is merely a mishap involving some coal dust and flour leaving a trio of confused chats.

Anywho.... Lovely drawings. A cute, bilingual story, plus it has a glossary on the last page. Viva la chat!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Red Carpet

The Red Carpet
Rex Parkin ~ MacMillian, 1948

It took a while for the boy to let me read this to him because, of course, if it has no animals in it at first flip-through, he usually isn't interested. (Getting him to read a book without animals as the main characters, is kinda like getting him to eat a food he's never had but I know that he'll like... it takes a little cajoling, but eventually he folds and falls in love.) That said, The Red Carpet is a great book with snappy rhymes, classic illustrations and an utterly original story. Very of the era, the design is sleek and the use of a rainbow of primary colors on some pages and only the red of the carpet on others really makes the flow sing. Fun to look at and fun to read, the prefect combo.

When the folks at the Hotel Bellevue prepare for the arrival of the Duke of Sultana, they roll out the red carpet... and roll it out and roll is out and roll it out... Next thing you know, the carpet has taken on a life of its own, and thus begins a heated motorcycle chase through town involving the mayor, eight cops, cheering townfolk and a road-mending crew. Fast and furious indeed.

Cruising along in their car near St. Clair,
Two cops heard a warning come over the air.
"Attention Car 4!" they heard the voice say.
"Arrest a red carpet! It's coming your way!"
But they dived for the ditch--not a moment too soon--
As the carpet shot over their heads with a zoom!

Don't worry, my son eventually did spot a dog, a horse, a chicken and a cow, and those strategically-placed cameos were enough for him.
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