Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sam and Emma

Sam and Emma.
Donald Nelsen ~ Edward Gorey ~ Parent's Magazine Press, 1971

Who didn't grow up loving the dark and whimsical drawings and stories of Edward Gorey, really? I have a few of his books, but they always seemed more suited to adults than children. However, under the Parent's Magazine Press imprint, this one is most definitely for the young 'uns. Having been a bookseller in New York at the old Doubleday Bookshop, and particularly one in the Fifth Avenue area during the 90s right before high rents and the changing landscape of the city ran them all out of business... I was always down the street at The Gotham Book Mart, browsing its vast Gorey collection and snapping up signed titles whenever I had an extra six bucks to spend. Gorey was truly a great American artist who created a world completely new to all those lucky enough to stumble across a copy of The Unstrung Harp or look on aghast at The Beastly Baby. Growing up in small town America, his books were like a window on a creative world I could only imagine. But anywho, without further yackity...

Sam and Emma lived quite content
in a house
with a garden
where they didn't pay rent.
Sam was a dog, very gentle and kind.
Emma, a cat, seldom troubled her mind
about much of anything -- except herself.

A day trip leads the two on an adventure where beavers share a meal, porcupines offer a good survival lesson, and the moral is you must understand others before you can hope to understand yourself. That and friendship rules! Ten thumbs way up. I couldn't find anything on the author, Mr. Nelsen, so if anyone has any details, let me know.

Also by:
The Dwindling Party


Anonymous said...

This looks enchanting, the illustrations are lovely, I have only known him for his darker more adult stuff.

Nicole said...

Gorey also did a really great version of Red Riding Hood (verse by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, who also wrote the wonderful, Gyo Fujikawa-like "A Little House of Your Own")

Pardon My French said...

Another one to keep an eye out for...thanks.

Anonymous said...

If you want more Gorey for kids, you might seek out the Treehorn trilogy, which is still in print.

Anonymous said...

I am astonished! I picked up my copy of Sam and Emma yesterday and put it my carry upstairs pile.
I have been meaning to post a comment for months - especially after you mentioned Miss Sniff, Tasha Tudor and the little Golden nature books. With a few exceptions, we have the same collections. I truly love your blog. Thank you for your wonderful comments on such wonderful vintage kids books.

Burgin Streetman said...

thanks for the love gang and I will surely be sniffing out some gorey for kids soon. thanks for the recommendations!

Anonymous said...

I love Edward Gorey - I didn't know he had illustrated books for kids, too!

gigi said...

The author is alive and well living in New York.

gigi said...

The book by Don Nelsen was recently reissued.

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