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


Christine said...

Well, the title all on its own is pretty good, but what really gets me is the look on poor Charlie's face in that illustration. So priceless! Too bad his books seem hard to track down (I came here from your more recent post about "For Rent" which also looks lovely!). I will keep an eye out for them when next I haunt my local used book shops though.

(You are not alone in Jim Henson fandom!)

ahoi! said...

My copy is a rebound library copy, so not quite the real cover, but close, I think...

Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves said...

Thanks ahoi! I posted with a link back!.... as always, you are awesome.

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