Nothing Ever Happens on My Block
Ellen Raskin ~ Macmillan, 1966
Feels good to be back, though I have to admit this is the first moment I've had to myself in two days. My son's birthday is a mere week and a half away, and there is planning aplenty afoot. You all should know by now that the only time I buy new books or new hardcovers of classics for the most part is to celebrate the random birthday/holiday. I'd mentioned before that I want my son to have at least a few books in his collection that don't have the words "To Billy from Aunt Marge, Christmas 1974" written on the inside cover. That said, in case you were wondering, I stopped by The Red Balloon today and plopped down the dough for a shiny new copy of Birds (for obvious reasons) by Kevin Henkes with illustrations by his wife Laura Dronzek. The boy is a bird nut. What can I say.
And, I did promise a return to daily reviews sooooo... here is a book that is so totally rad in its execution that it is easy to see why the vintage hardcover version sells for a pretty penny. Ellen certainly had the eye of a designer, blending color, modern typeface and sharp lines (not to mention a clever story) to create a book that is massively fun to look at. The UW Web site states... "Raskin always selected the typeface and designed the title page and each other page, as well, for each of her books. She designed the jacket and did the necessary color separations." That attention to detail is reflected on every page of this book in such a neat way, that you can't help but feel good looking at it. Anywho...
So there's this kid, see.
My name is Chester Filbert.
I live at 5264 West One Hundred and seventy-seventh Street.
Some places have marching bands
or haunted houses,
courageous hunters hunting,
ferocious lions and tigers,
pirates and buried treasure...
It goes on like this until we realize that Chester is complaining about how boring his street is... that when he grows up he'll move to escape the tedium, yet, all the while, behind him chaos ensues in a huge way. A thief lurks. A fire rages. Kids pull stunts. A hapless postmen is dowsed in water. A parachute lands. An ambulance is called. Money is blown. All while Chester sits like a toad on a log lamenting his block's lameness. Too cute. The dedication page ~ especially ~ gives me an extra tickle.
This book is dedicated to Susan, Patty, Steve and Larry, Mike and Helene, Nelle, Gina and children everywhere, except Chester Filbert. He's just too dull.