justice_turtle: Robot Jack from Stargate SG-1, captioned "fergit space adventure, we gonna do Shakespeare" (fergit space adventure)
justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2013-09-05 11:51 am

Review: The Funny Thing (Wanda Gág)

Summary: Bobo, an old man, lives on a mountain and feeds the wild animals and birds. One day an "aminal", apparently a dragon-type creature, visits Bobo and demands the stolen dolls of good children to eat. Bobo creates a food called "jum-jills" which makes the dragon's tail grow so long that it cannot move about. Since the dragon is vain of its tail, it is pleased with this development; it sits on a mountaintop and eats jum-jills all day long, and the children's dolls are safe.

Reaction: I think I like this one maybe even a teeny bit better than Millions of Cats, since it doesn't have the slightly gruesome turn of that book, but keeps the Grimm's Fairy Tales feel and the truly glorious pen-and-ink artwork in double-page spreads. Babar artist Jean de Brunhoff pioneered the oversize picture book a child could "climb into", a few years after Millions of Cats and The Funny Thing came out, but I'll definitely argue in favor of Wanda Gág as a precursor of the same trend.

I also really enjoyed Bobo's gentle, genre-savvy sporking of the "sermonizing" type of child's picture book in one place. :D

Conclusion: Five stars. I wouldn't say this book should have won the Newbery over Hitty, but I'd definitely give it a Mock Pre-Caldecott for the year. ;-) (The actual Caldecott medal wouldn't be awarded till 1938.)