Friday, January 22, 2010

The Seven Little Elephants

The Seven Little Elephants
William Hall with pictures by Fini ~ Thomas Y. Crowell, 1947


Been so mired in the 60s and 70s, I'd almost forgotten people created books before then. My son was in his room listening to the Fantasia soundtrack on LP, when he plucked this from the shelf and brought it back out into the world for me to read this morning. With the music and the book, it's been far too long since I gave the 40s some love. Sadly, I know nothing about this title. There is no information online about it or seemingly the authors (unless Fini is a "code" name for something else), and I can't even remember where or how it came into our possession. If anyone can help, please chime in.

The roundness of these characters with their soft green, pinks and blues is tremendously charming, and the days of the week theme the story incorporates certainly makes you wish for simpler times. Back before circuses became a cultural taboo in the Western world. Back when we thought animals loved to do nothing more than entertain us in rings of hot lights. So, for a moment, let's just focus on how darn cute these little buggers are.

When Tom the circus man finds that his two show elephants have outgrown their youthful charm, he sends them to his "nice green farm", and gets a heap of new babies who are aptly named Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the days on which they were born. Each calf carries a blanket on its back reminding it of the day it was named after. But the first time the babies hit the ring...

All the boys and girls shouted with glee when they saw the funny seven little elephants all in a line. And then Crash went the cymbals and Boom went the drum. Crash! Crash! Boom! Boom! And the seven little elephants ran out of the tent as fast as they could, for they had never heard so much noise before. They ran so fast that they dropped their blankets and got all out of line.Needless to say, chaos ensues and no one knows which baby is which. A few lessons of the weekly wise, and soon the babes are back on top, celebrating respective birthdays and making children shout with glee. Innocent, sweet and full of smiles and happiness. Gotta love a book jammed packed with this much joy, even if it is only an outdated fantasy.

4 comments:

Daughter Number Three said...

I love books from the era when they were printed in 5 separate solid inks instead of full color process... they look so beautiful and different from everything these days. This is a great example!

GooGooGalleryKids said...

The illustrator's real name is Josephine (Fini) Rudiger. She goes by Fini R. Littlejohn, Littlejohn being her married name. She is an extraordinary illustrator!

There isn't much about her on the internet but you can learn more about her in this article....

"The Olympiad of Animation:
An Interview With Fini Littlejohn"

http://www.awn.com/mag/issue1.4/articles/deneroffini1.4.html

I really couldn't find much on her works as a picture book illustrator or The Seven Little Elephants for that matter. It's really a darling little book though, thanks for sharing.

Swell said...

This place is as wonderful as the books you review. :^)

Scribbler said...

Thanks for the info and the kudos!

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