Friday, September 5, 2008

Two Sisters and Some Hornets

Two Sisters and Some Hornets
Beryl Epstein & Dorrit Davis with pictures by Rosemary Wells/ published 1972 by Holiday House

Falling into the before-they-were-famous category, Two Sisters and Some Hornets is a bizarre little tale about two old spinster sisters remembering an incident with vicious hornets in their youth... But of course, neither remembers it in the same way and comic banter ensues.

"I wasn't thinking of the outhouse, Gertrude. I was remembering how I was almost stung to death by hornets in there. I was covered with stings. Aunt Hattie had to cut off all my hair to get the hornets out of it."

"What nonsense, Agnes! You were stung a few times that day. We both were, but you never had your hair cut off!"

On each page, the present day sisters battle it out while below, there are framed versions of each sister's side of the story. The interpretations grow farther and farther apart, until the conversation is reduced to a "she did not"/ "she did so" volley. You can see echoes of Ms. Wells signature illustration style in this book, though these drawings are a little crude comparatively. You might see glimpses of the little doggie that would eventually become McDuff and the body types and faces of her animal characters to come. A fun way to see the beginning of a great illustrator's career, plus you can still get copies for under a dollar online.

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