Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Wing on a Flea

The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes
Ed Emberley ~ Little Brown, 1961

Ed Emberley has taught thousands of children how to draw over the years, including my high school boyfriend who painted this dragon on a rock for me on my 16th birthday. (Romantic, no?) And let's not the Drummer Hoff who fired it off. But in this, his first book, he takes kids on the journey of shapes, finding them in all sorts of random places, that in sum make up the whole, wide world.

A triangle is
The wing on a flea,
And the beak on a bird,
If you'll just look and see.
A triangle is
A finny fish-tail
An ice-cream cone,
A harpoon for a whale,
A bandit's bandanna,
An admiral's hat
And, in case you
don't know it,
The nose on a cat.

And on through rectangles and circles in a romp of super fun color and rhythm. Everywhere you look, shapes make up each person, place or thing providing a visual challenge and surprise for any age. Plus, any book that employs blue and green in conjunction with a pink end-papers and an orange dust-jacket is OK by me. The Wing on a Flea was reprinted in 2001, but from what I can tell it is back out of print again. Yes? No? Oh well, can't win them all. I suppose that's what the Library of Congress if for. Wait, let me look that up... NOOOOOOO!

According to the Wiki "Nearly 22,000 new items published in the U.S. arrive every business day at the Library. Contrary to popular belief, however, the Library does not retain all of these works in its permanent collection, although it does add an average of 10,000 items per day. Rejected items are used in trades with other libraries around the world, distributed to federal agencies, or donated to schools, communities, and other organizations within the United States." Wow... I wonder who the folks are that weed out the stinkers?

(Dust-jacket image from here.)

Also by:
Klippity Klop
Story of Paul Bunyan


ahoi! said...

That binding illustration is awesome. I'm a little jealous.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog. What a gift. I too collect old children's books, esp. ones w/ color plates but lots of others too - garage sales, library sales, etc. I love the old illustrations and finding books from my childhood too that I can share w/ my boys. Thanks so much for sharing yours. You have a ton of my favorites plus ones I've never seen. Felt great nostalgic stirrings at Fletcher and Old Black Witch.

Jil Casey said...

Great illustrations!

Caroline Thomson said...

Hi there, thanks for introducing me to Eveline Ness' Pavo and the Princess as well as Ed Emberley's work and Art Seiden's, I love the limited colour palettes and line quality that they use, very inspiring. Good drawing is so good to see.
Keep up the good blogging,
All the best,
Caroline Thomson

Nicole said...

Have you seen this?!?

Laura Ottina said...

I love the colors, the illustrations, everything... Ed Emberley is wonderful!

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