Hillary Knight ~ Harper & Row, 1964
Seriously, I might be this man's biggest fan. Eloise was one of my favorite books as a child, and it was only when I began collecting books for my son that I came to know some of his other titles. All total eye candy. I found this one in a junk shop for 49 cents, and a few days later, a reader mentioned it. A far more imaginative and brilliant precursor to the popular Where's Waldo series, the panoramic spreads are marvels, and they invite the reader to find a rascal of an orangutan hidden within their details. I LOVE this one of a natural history museum. It knocks the socks off my son as well. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
These scans don't do justice to the illustrations, so be sure and click to enlarge to get a better view of the awesomeness. Knight's sense of style and space and typography and costume really deserves heaps of praise. I still get a huge thrill whenever I find his drawings in a Vanity Fair. The only way to describe them is that they are complete. Totally full of life and looking. A real wonder. If I could wish to draw like anyone it would be him. Anyways, before I wax so poetic that somebody slips and breaks their neck, on with the story...
Wallace is a monkey. A monkey in a zoo who is loved by everyone and who happens to be a lover of life and a roamer. His kindhearted zookeeper makes a habit of turning the other cheek to allow Wallace his adventures, and the rushing off (eventually) to find him is all part of the fun.
One late afternoon when the crowds had gone and Wallace was alone, he heard a plane overhead and looked up. His keeper saw it too and knew he would have a busy evening ahead of him.
Great story with lots of action and funny and silly business, and my son, for one, could spend hours flipping through these pages trying to find Wallace on the beach or at the department store or at the circus. There are reasonably priced copies all over the Web so do yourself a favor and get one. I promise it will be in high rotation for years to come.
The Circus is Coming