Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There's an Elephant in the Bathtub

There's an Elephant in the Bathtub
Roger Bradfield ~ Golden Press, 1964

Who doesn't love the Jolly Roger Bradfield? A touchstone to all us children of the 60s and 70s, the old son-of-a-gun happens to be still alive and well and painting in all sorts of surprising locations around the world. It's no wonder that the fantabulous Purple House Press picked up the mantle and reprinted some of his classics, or that this book in particular is talked about all sorts of places online like Fun-All-Around, the much-loved but short-lived blog by illustrator Eric Sturdevant (who has finally started blogging again here, thank goodness). There's a great article here on what Roger's up to now, as well as a smart little Website he put together himself here.

The love is everywhere for this man and his books (and that's not even counting all the Sesame Street tie-ins he illustrated), so if you keep your eyes peeled, you're liable to run into him sooner or later. If you haven't met him yet, let me make the introduction via a certain little boy named...Timothy Wicks was a boy with a wonderful imagination. He could shut his eyes and imagine a Pink Giraffe wearing three neckties and roller skates and when he opened his eyes--there would be the giraffe. Really. A real Pink Giraffe wearing three neck-ties and roller skates standing right there in the living room (or wherever Timothy happened to be at that moment.)

Ah, yes. Little Timmy can imagine just about anything. The only problem is no one can see his creations but him. It's not until an imagined elephant helps start a real fire and then puts it out that... no wait, sorry... no one ever ends up seeing his imagined creatures, but who cares. In the end, Timothy just feels sorry for all the grown-ups who can't see his friends, and I can't say that I blame him. We grown-ups have a tendency of missing out on all the fun.Roger Bradfield was many things back in the day. An ad man, a comic strip guy, but he's most loved for the children's books he created. This was his first, and although the images are a little dated, his sense of wonder is incredible. Throughout the story you'll find that "reality" occurs in flat black lines, while the imagined characters exist in bold, full color. I love it when books have the touch to make a child's inner life so extraordinary.

Plus, don't you just love these sweet chapter starters?

Also by:
The Together Book
Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery


Kathleen said...

I've never seen this book, thanks for posting it. I love the illustration especially the lion and the rooster. We are lucky to own one Roger Bradfield book, but there's room for some more Jolly on our shelves.

Ali said...

We heart Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Tweedlebug Mystery. I'll have to start looking for a copy of this one...it seems wonderful.

Thanks for sharing....

Scott O said...

I LOVED this book as a kid. My very warn copy is still at my mom's house. I read it to my two youngest when we were visiting there recently.

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