Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire ~ Doubleday, 1948
The dynamic duo of the d'Aulaires created countless classics and two children, Ola and Nils, and (I'm assuming) each child, in turn, received a book named as such.
Or was it the other way around? Hmmmmmmm.
No matter. With illustrations lithographed directly on stone and printed in four colors, I can never turn down one of their books so lush in tone and rich in personality. Here, we have a strangely-timely tale of bullying, 1940s-style.
There once was a boy and his name was Nils.
He was longlegged and gay and his schoolmates called him a regular fellow.
He had a pony all his own.
He was going to be a cowboy when he grew up.
From Norwegian blood, the young Nils loved to ride his horse and tell tall tales. But when he's given a pair of woolen stockings from his grandmother in the old country, he's teased mercilessly and throws them away, fearing he'll never be a tough cowboy in long stockings.
That is until he meditates of the story of Peer Gynt, riding his reindeer and generally being manly, and decides he can be a Norwegian cowboy no matter what anyone thinks of his long, knitted stockings.
My copy is an ex-library book from the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana Public Library with possibly the prettiest end papers and card pocket I've ever seen.
Not to mention I've never noticed the delightfully romantic and intertwined signature at the bottom of some of their illustrations. Ola and Nils were lucky kids to have parents so talented and full of color. Love it when couples create together.
Ten thumbs up!
D'Aulaire's Book of Animals
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
The Terrible Troll-Bird
Don't Count Your Chicks
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