How Trollusk Got His Hat
Mercer Mayer ~ Merrigold Press, 1979
Did someone request an unredeeming monster book? It's Friday, so I figured it's an OK day to scale back the class and go silly. Featuring some of the characters from Mayer's magnum opus One Monster After Another, here we learn how that curious little Stamp-Collecting Trollusk got his super swanky top hat. Told in Mayer's busy-busy style, it's another book that you can spend hours simply studying the background drama... luscious mini illustration subplot after subplot. A fun end to the seventies, the decade that saw Mayer at his most awesome. And so... when Reggie McLeod sets off for a walk to town one day (looking very dapper indeed), he's shocked when a strong gust of wind blows his hat off and carries it away...
The wind carried Reggie's hat miles and miles across the sky to the Edge of Nowhere and blew it through an open window and into a pot of tango soup which a Stamp-Collecting Trollusk was making for dinner.
Well, while Reggie is driving himself mad trying to locate his lost chapeau, the Trollusk is trying his darndest to return it. That's basically it in a nutshell. The Trollusk wants to be a nice guy, but every where he turns, people think he's a freak and run the other way. (I mean, he is a monster, after all.)
Reggie, in the meantime, tries to take his mind off his lost treasure (always just missing the Trollusk), and finally resigns himself to buying a new hat. It's only then that the main characters run into each other, hats are exchanged and the two become the best of friends.
Sadly, it's around this time that Mercer's imagination for silly kids' books seems to have "jumped the shark." From here on out he focuses mainly on building brands rather than creating new, original characters. He did continue to do some gorgeous high-art fairy tale renderings (similar to Beauty and the Beast), but for me, they just aren't the same as monsters making friends and little boys with frogs and crazy magicians and made up machines... But I can't say that I blame him. I guess we all have to grow up sometime.
Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp
One Monster After Another
Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-A-Zoo
Me and My Flying Machine
Beauty and the Beast
A Special Trick
One Frog Too Many
Little Monster at Work