wrote about books I dug up recently because I remembered them from my childhood. I ended by saying "Maybe next time I will talk about childhood favorites I bought my daughter when she was a kid." But instead I talked about my non-conversation with a taxi driver. So here we go.
If you are familiar with Crockett Johnson it is probably because of his wonderful books about Harold and the Purple Crayon
which have inspired children's imagination (and the occasional
wall-scribble spanking) for many years. Bill Watterson, the creator of the marvelous Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, also said that Harold was all he knew of Johnson.
like best about Johnson's stories is that the imaginary friend, so to
speak, is the realist in the pair. When Ellen asks the Lion about his
life before they met she wants to hear about steaming hot jungles, but all
he remembers is a department store.
By the way, Johnson also created one of the most brilliant comic strips of all time. Barnaby
ran during the early forties and featured another preschooler who, in
the first episode, wishes for a fairy godmother. Due to wartime
shortages he was instead assigned Jackeen J. O'Malley, a three-foot-tall
fairy godfather with a grubby raincoat, magenta wings, and a
malfunctioning magic cigar. Mr. O'Malley introduces Barnaby to such
characters as Atlas, a three-foot-tall giant (he's a mental giant), some Republican ghosts, and a talking dog who will not shut up.
The other book I hunted down for my kiddo has nothing to do with Crockett Johnson but does mention Atlas. The original one.
d'Auliares' Book of Greek Myths,
written and illustrated by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, started me
on my lifelong love of mythology. Not only are the pictures
unforgettable but the writing is very well done.
But Queen Pasiphaë was so
taken by the beauty of the white bull that she persuaded the king to
let it live. She admired the bull so much that she ordered Daedalus to
construct a hollow wooden cow, so she could hide inside it and enjoy the
beauty of the bull at close range....
To punish the king and queen, Poseidon caused Pasiphaë to give birth to a monster, the Minotaur. He was half man, half bull…
adult, I imagine, understands exactly what the dAulaires said that the
Greeks were saying about Pasiphaë, but it goes right over a kid's head. (Did mine,
The book is still in print. Unfortunately the
binding is not as long-lasting as the text and pictures. I have had to
replace it about once a decade.
Ah well, no mysteries
this week, unless you count the mystery religions. Or Mr. O'Malley's
encounter with the fur coat thieves...