Kind Little Joe
Vera Cerutti ~ Dick Bruna ~ Hart Publishing, 1959
I came to Dick Bruna too late for my son to really fully enjoy his books, but I know he has somewhat of a cult following for his Nordic roots and bold visual sensibilities. Miffy is loved the world over by everyone from Japanese school children to West Coast graphic designers. Jane Foster sings his praises. Drawn gives kudos for the book-cover work he did for his father's publishing house. People like to study how he creates such unforgettable characters with simple lines and primary colors. Still culling through my friend's collection, she offered up this early work written by Vera Cerutti but illustrated by the master at hand. And so...
Here is a boy whose name is Joe.
The kindest boy you'll ever know.
And here's his house, all shiny-new.
Its roof is red, its windows blue.
A great big cupboard, wide and tall,
Stands in Joe's room against the wall.
And when the doors are open wide,
You'll see Joe's toys stacks up inside.
Now, when Joe comes across a bevy of underprivileged children, the kind boy knows just what to do. Gifting each toy to each child by name in a wonderfully selfless act of goodwill. A powerful statement for children to hear leading up to the holidays. From this early on, it's clear Dick's style was already fully-formed, with the bright, alternating-color backgrounds and use of black lines to frame each shape perfectly. So iconic and wonderful.
Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy