Monday, March 1, 2010

book pile: alligator pie by dennis lee and frank newfeld

alligator pie,
poems by dennis lee
pictures by frank newfeld
macmillan, 1974

isn't it fantastic when you find a friend who just gets your taste? it makes this cold and lonely world just that little bit smaller when you find a kindred spirit like that, and i'm lucky to have a few friends who get me. thats how i came to own a copy of 'alligator pie'. the most definitely awesome peta pledger came to visit bearing thrifted gifts of amazing vintage children's books and i knew i just had to share them with you.

detail from the title page

i had never heard of 'alligator pie', but its apparently big in japan canada and for all i know it could be the national anthem (hello canadian readers, i like your turtle chocolates. feel free to send me many and in exchange i'll learn your national anthem and more about your culture - but mostly about other chocolates i can get there).

illustration accompanying 'bouncing song'

most of all i was taken by the fantastic illustrations by frank newfeld. as you'll see from the pictures, his style is just so much fun and paired with the nonsense poems it all makes perfect (non)sense!

illustration accompanying 'in kamloops'

a poem thats mostly just threats at cannibalism. but y'know, rhyming. hence all the body parts in that very attractive neoclassical cabinet.

illustration accompanying 'billy batter'

pictured we see the authors father being taken away by a dragon. unfortunately in the second verse his mother is taken away by a monster as well, so really no happy endings here.

illustration accompanying 'like a giant in a towel'

an ode to that delicious bed warmth...

and when the giants realize
that no one's scared of their disguise,
they go to bed and close their eyes-
they're glad their beds are warm;
they're glad their beds are warm.

illustration accompanying 'i found a silver dollar'

isn't the lettering for 'zoo' just fantastic? it may not surprise you that frank newfeld is the co founder and president of the society of graphic designers of canada. yesiree, it takes a society founder to wield a type that fancy!

i hope you've enjoyed the peek into this amusing book. if you're interested in getting a copy for yourself click this link. i would have adored this book as a kid. so much color and type, and the poems are so fun, but its pretty enjoyable as an adult too and that has to be the secret to an enduring kid's book!

1 comment:

Dora said...

I grew up reading everything Dennis Lee (that may be a reason behind my strange tastes) and can still recite most of the poems. My parents even took me to a stage performance of Alligator Pie. "Jelly Belly" has great and strange poems too.The drawings aren't the 70's stylised ones like in "Alligator Pie" but, I may like them even better.

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