Monday, January 31, 2011

The Animal Fair

The Animal Fair
Alice and Martin Provensen
Merrigold Press, 1952

Another long overdue shoutout. Criminal, really, that I've never posted on it before, so here goes. We all know the love professed for the Provensen's on this blog and throughout the Internet. Quite possibly the most awesome husband and wife children's book team of all time.

The latter part of their careers have focused on books with historical content, but for me, it's their early work that gets me jazzed. Happy animals and children come utterly alive in their drawings -- with this one especially being a big hit in my animal-loving son's life.

The bird page alone... jeez. Magic.

One day a hummingbird sat all by himself on a pole. A sparrow fluttered down and perched beside him. Then a chickadee, a titmouse, a finch, a pippit and other small birds joined them.

"Is something going to happen?" asked a wren.

A little owl looked wise. "I think there's going to be a parade," he said.

A parade, indeed. An animal parade! When my son was little, I always worried he was underweight, so I'd bribe him to eat by reading to him at mealtimes. Sound great, right? Well, five years later, and now my son still has the annoying habit of (almost) always refusing to eat unless someone is reading to him. Needless to say, this collection of short tales, wordless stories, poems and gags, comes in handy at restaurants, allowing my husband and me to eat our dinners between stories! Sad, I know, and a horrible habit that we've spent years trying to break, but hey, at this point, it's for his future wife to worry about. There are worse things in life that having to read to your son at mealtimes. But anywho, I digress. The Animal Fair is bright and funny and a must-have for all wee libraries. It was reprinted several times, and Golden Gems has full scans of the reprint, here.

Oh, in case you were wondering how to tell a big, bad wolf, from a run of the mill grey one...

Also by:
A Child's Garden of Verses
Roses are Red. Are Violets Blue??
Funny Bunny
Fireside Book of Folk Songs
The Mother Goose Book
My Little Hen
Our Friends at Maple Hill Farm


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy


Zack said...

Holy smokes, this is fabulous! And thanks for the head's up on the full scans, I'm really looking forward to looking through the whole book.

gef said...

in lark's top ten, for sure

vigilceo said...

Oh my gosh, the illustrations are fantastic! I bought a copy immediately :-D

Laura Ottina said...

Wonderful couple, wonderful book!
I have been planning to scan and post my tattered copy of Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, one of my family's favorite books...

MAUMONT said...

What a great website!

Burgin Streetman said...

ha! i was thinking about reading and eating and noticed this big bean and cheese taco stain on the bird scan... the bub has always been so careful with books, never tearing or ripping or coloring in them, but man we've lost more than a few good reads to a PB&J disaster.

vigilceo, you won't be disappointed... and lark is a woman after my own heart!

kathryn durst said...

man, this blog is awesome.

Chandra said...

Just discovered this book today! Phenomenal! That bird page is INSANE!!

Spot said...

Just came across your blog via a google search for 'chickadee bird' and found the birds on the high wires! Man, what a great blog! I can't wait to check it out more!

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