Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ding-Dong, Bing-Bong

Ding-Dong, Bing-Bong
Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler ~ pictures by Richard E. Martin
Follett, 1967

I'm not sure how this three person children's book team came together or who they are, but they are wild in the best possible way. All of their books are filled with quirky drawings and left-field stories, and the best part is, there's always a somewhat unknown and spooky edge. The Hungry Thing is a classic, and here, thick imagination literally oozes from the pages.

There was once a place where cows wore lace,
And ice tasted nice when pickled;
Where bells would ring with a ding-a-dong-ding,
And pigs just loved to be tickled.

One day Mother said to her many small children. "I have to go out and pick potatoes for my apple pie. Don't let anyone in the house but me."

They had me at pickled ice. Seriously though, how much do I love a story where the authority figure leaves with a warning to not let a stranger in the house. Immediately you know it's headed for awesome. Mom sets up a special bell ring so the children will know if it's her at the door. Little does she know the "Upside-Down Man" (who walks on his hands and wears his hat on his shoes, mind you) has a very similar ring. As does the Merry-Go-Round Man and the Balloon Blower. It's the Double-Bubble Man who proves to be the most sinister, but you never actually see him... making his presence terribly intriguing.Any of you screenwriters out there, this one would make a fabulous movie particularly with British accents and a moody set design. Tim Burton perhaps... maybe the people who made Coraline. Endless possibilities.

(If anyone knows anything about the writers and illustrator and why they always worked together and if you have a link to an article or something, come forward, my friend! And if I can rustle up The Hungry Thing from the depths of our paperback stash, I'll give it an update this Friday.)

Also by:
The Hungry Thing


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john & catherine said...

This looks great! We love The Cat Who Wore a Pot on Her Head by this group, but I don't know any more about them. I have to look for some more of these--my son loves their sense of humor. Thanks for sharing!

Burgin Streetman said...

I don't have that one. I'm gonna have to track that down!

Denise said...

You asked about why Slepian, Seidler, and Martin worked together. This is from the Penguin.com Author pages:

"Jan Slepian began her writing career when she and a colleague, Dr. Ann Seidler, wrote a series of articles devoted to common speech problems. "We wrote about ten of these and sent them off to a syndicated newspaper column called "Parents Ask." To our delighted surprise, they were accepted and published. Thereafter, Slepian and Seidler, collaborated on a a series of picture books called The Listen-Hear Books, all dealing with some aspect of speech. The Hungry Thing from this series, and its sequels, The Hungry Thing Returns and The Hungry Thing Goes to a Restaurant remain popular favorites."

B. Streetman said...

Man, Denise, you rock!

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