Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tiffky Doofky

Tiffky Doofky
William Steig ~ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978

I happily paid $7 to a local bookstore recently to bring my William Steig collection closer to completion. And the investment did not disappoint. Seriously, if you want to raise a child who thinks outside of the box, start reading Steig's books to them early and often. My son's first Steig love was Spinky Sulks, and he never turns down a reread of Rotten Island, Zabajaba Jungle or Gorky Flies. They are among his favorites (and mine) because the stories never go in the direction you think they will. There's always a titillating, spooky element giving off an aura of certain doom, but in the end, those pure of heart always win. Steig's worldview was off just enough to make it wildly different, while still staying mired in the emotional threads that draw us all together. Such a fabulous storyteller. Completely genuine.

That said, meet Tiffky, a garbage-collecting dog with a romantic side.

At Madam Tarsal's place, adding her trash to her truck, he made up his mind to get his fortune told. On such a day, something out of the ordinary was bound to happen, and he had to know what it was going to be.

When the Madam foretells that on this very day, before the sun goes down, Tiffky shall meet the woman he is going to marry (ala Shrek!), it sets off a series of events both magical and completely unhinged. In pure Steig style, there's a witch who's out to cause some trouble as well as time-altering mind trickery that takes the reader on the wild ride of never knowing what's real and what's not. SUCH A GREAT BOOK. Really, Steig's one of those people that you'd want to invite to a dream dinner party with people like Gandhi and Cleopatra and John Lennon.

I positively love this man.

Also by:
The Amazing Bone
Amos & Boris
Rotten Island
Yellow & Pink
The Zabajaba Jungle
Gorky Rises
Father Palmer's Wagon Ride
Solomon the Rusty Nail


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Katie said...

Steig is brilliant! Abel's Island is our family favorite.

Claire said...

I don't think we have any Steig books, but your description is so intriguing that I guess I need some.

Nan said...

A new mineral category should be created for Steig's gems.

I too buy anything Steig, most recently, When Everybody Wore a Hat. Our first, The Toy Brother.

Some day you and I will meet shoulder-to-shoulder reaching for the same book. I hope I recognize you before initiating my cough-grab-and-run maneuver.

Burgin Streetman said...

Ha! I'm the only one you ever see sprawled out on the floor with a child... that's how you'll know me!

Xavier Salomó said...

What a beautiful book! Thank you

Tor Freeman said...

He's my absolute favourite too! Really hard to choose between them, but Sylvester and the Magic Pebble can still make me feel quite teary!

Nan said...


ahoi! said...

One of our favourites around here. Similar to Zabajaba Jungle in its dreamlike tangents, but even more crazed. I often wonder if a publisher would touch a book like this these days.

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