Friday, December 27, 2013

Lancelot, the lovely lion

Lancelot is a charming baby lion who is unhappy, as he can't roar and purr. He lives in the zoo of Mr. Zipp. It's a lovely tale by Marjorie Barrows. But the most attractive part of this pocket size squarish book is its illustrations by Jean Tamburine.
Some of the illustrations are in two color whereas the others are in multi color. This book seems to be of circa 1963. It has a simple story where lion cub gets its first roar in an emergency in the zoo. All the animals in the zoo live happily and play with one another. Fusby, the mouse and Lancelot are friends. Lancelot once, while playing with a bone tosses it to fall it into kangaroo's pocket which he refuses to return saying, 'Finders Keepers!'
Fusby with a matchstick sets a fire and soon Lancelot's bed catches it.
It's then Lancelot makes its first roar to wake up Mr. Zipp who rushes to the spot and puts off the fire. He then takes out all the animals to have a picnic till the visitors begin to arrive. Pleased with Lancelot's gesture, Mr. Zipp put a pasteboard crown oh its head.
This is the story in brief.
But the illustrations are great, indeed.
This is the hero of the story. Lancelot.

The zoo of Mr. Zipp where all the animals live in a playful manner.

When there is fire in the zoo, Mr. Zipp rushes on the bicycle with a bucket of water on hearing the roar of Lancelot.

And this is the first ever roar of Lancelot.

Imagine a Lion cub putting on a polka dot bow on its tail. Lancelot is honored with a pasteboard crown.

This end cover is the most attractive part of the book. How colorful and indicative it is! The animals are shown with their babies. They play, they love! 

The curiosity to know regarding the other works of artist Jean Tamburine led to various illustrations made by her. 

MILKMAN BILL, Vintage Rand McNally Junior Elf Book, by Jessica Potter Broderick, illustrated by Jean Tamburine, 1960

And here is the artist herself. 
Jean Tamburine 

(Note: Last 3 images from net.) 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Awesome animals

Just love those NBT (National Book Trust of India) and CBT (Children Book Trust) publications. Many of the children books have been prepared by eminent artists and each in a different manner. The emphasis has been given more to the pictorial part to educate the children in a true manner. However, most of these books are of pre-discovery channel era when many of the children were not knowing most wild animals.
Have a look upon this book 'Animal World' by Aurobindo Kundu. It's in 2 color printing with lovely prints of various animals, 12 to be specific.

The animals have been introduced in a single line with rhyming word. e.g.: The mighty LION Lord of the jungle, And the fleet-footed DEER Hears him rumble.

The one-horn RHINO walks with a thud


The friendly DONKEY Loves to bray.. 

And here is HIPPO! He's in water all day.

This is the cutest one. The brave WILD BOAR Is a fearless one..

How lovely this elephant is! It says, "But now the ELEPHANT Trumpets his mood.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pleasure and Perils of Parenthood:

"We are blessed with a baby boy/girl." Such types of cards were prevalent in the pre-facebook era. Now this message is displayed as a 'status' along with the photo of the new born along with the parents. The proud parents! It's a different issue altogether if the parents are proud or poor. If it's a very first baby, the parents grow up along with the baby. In this way, the age as the parents can be considered same as that of the baby. The problem is a baby grasps things much faster and quicker and hence grows faster.
But why this take on parenthood?
Here is a book that shows 'The Perils of Parenthood.' It's a lovely illustrated and cute book, like a baby. It's illustrated and narrated by Colin Whittock and published by Century, London. The jacket of the book says it all about the book. No matter you are a parent or not, you are going to enjoy it thoroughly.

The book begins with a section 'Why do we have a children?' Just have a glimpse on few of the answers of this question.

Then the baby arrives. This section is named 'Baby Blues'.

The baby starts growing up. It is 'Toddling along.'

Then comes schooling. 'Early schooling'.

And the baby enters teen. What else can be the title other than 'Teenage Terrors?'

Now the teen becomes adult and it's time for 'Leaving the Nest.'

They get engaged with somebody. It's 'Love walked Right In.'

They marry in one way or the other. And after the marriage, the cycle begins once again, as they are going to become parents.

This is the cycle of most of human beings. From children to having children to having children to children. Socially it can be side as the journey from children to become parents to grandparents.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time, there was GDR, the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. This country existed between 1949 to 1990. It’s a well known fact that the Russians ruled this part of the country which was formed by them only after the WW 2.
How did they rule it? What were their goals and achievements? Were the people happy and prosperous during their rule?
The communists were better known for keeping the iron curtain upon their country. They showed their region to the world what they wanted to show. And for this purpose, there were many magazines and journals published to create, maintain and develop their clean and developmental image.
The reality came into limelight after 1990, with the fall of Russian Union.
We do remember many types of magazines published and delivered at our home during ‘70s and ‘80s like ‘Soviet Land’, “Soviet Desh’, ‘Soviet Naari’ etc. Even wonder today how its sales channel would have been organized. These were all the propaganda magazines which were projecting the false picture of the country so as it look real. America, too was in it and it had ‘Span’ magazine. But the Russians were much expert and ahead in it. They had ‘kontakt’ magazine from GDR which was a ‘youth magazine’.
Just have a look upon the pages here which are from various issue of ‘kontakt’ magazine and appreciate the art of lying. Yes, the production, layout and presentation is worth appreciating. 

The cover page of a 1981 issue of Kontakt- a 'feelgood' photograph. 

The index usually contain a quote from a present Russian dignitary. This is from another issue with Prez Brezhnev saying at 26th Congres of the CPSU, "At present there is no more essential international task facing our party, our people and indeed all peoples on our planet than to maintain peace." Ah! Those were the days of cold war.

Surprised? They believed in dialogue, too? This was a regular feature: "In dialogue with our readers".

How would a stamp collector forget those attractive, colorful stamps with 'DDR' written on it? This, too, was regular feature in 'Kontakt'.

See the heading. 'Manipulation or information?' In this article on the role of media, there is a line: 'In order to be deemed noteworthy by the Western media a story must be anticommunist, sensational or at least promosing of a fair profit.' Such features were regular in generally with white letters in black background.

And this was perhaps the key section usually seen in the last pages. After going through the colorful, impressive presentation of the country, any youngster would love to be in touch with the one from the country. Hence this 'Pen pals wanted'.

The heading is self-explanatory. Irrespective of who make the history, it matters more who writes the history, who twists the history. Were the guys or gals featured here real ones who make the history?

'Documentary Survey' was also a regular feature with black back ground. It mostly says something about the weapons. It also carries a saying from the 'Capital (Karl Marx) on the right page. This particular feature is about 'Weapons for China'. Wonder if it is to warn or to frighten or to justify the country's position.

When did the 'kontakt' magazine stop publishing? Surprisingly, the Google doesn't show any information regarding this magazine. But it can be safely presumed that it must have been stopped after the merger of both the Germany i.e. in 1990. And with the merger, the reality must have been in front of the eyes.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Russian art

Many of those who are in their '40s would be familiar with charm of the Russian books. Elegant production, full of attractive drawings and paintings with less text, and bigger types. (The word 'font' was unknown then.)
Just happen to find a book which may not sound much useful now a days due to internet and various TV channels like Discovery, Nat Geo and likewise. But it is always a visual pleasure to flip through the pages of this book named 'How do they live?' Total nine animals have been introduced in brief in this book. Just a basic information has been given in maximum 10 lines. But the most attractive part is the picture of the animal. It's not a photograph. It's a drawing/painting by the author himself. 
First of all, enjoy the superb drawings. 

The Hare 

The Wolf 

The Bear 

The Zebra 

The Camel 

The Lion 

The Tiger 

Cover of the book 

The drawings are made so beautifully mostly with water colors and pen. Never cared to know the name of the author. But as the coves shows, it is Y. Charushin. Heard of him? Probably not. But we should forget that this is the age of Google. A whole wiki page was found on it. There were two more of his drawings available.

   Illustration EI Charushina from his book                      Иллюстрация Е. И. Чарушина из его книги

Especially, this excerpt from the wiki page is more interesting.
"He would be best known for his stories and illustrations of animals. In an essay, he wrote about his work for the magazine, "Children's Literature" in 1935. Charushin stated that "More than anything else, I love to depict young animals touching in their helplessness and interesting, because within them one can already see signs of the full-grown beasts."
More can be read here.

So, it happens sometime that we feel proud for the possession we have not while actually using it, but after years when we just take it up and search for it and know the value of it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hate with humor

When are the jokes born? Do they ever born? Are they eternal? Or do they find new meanings with each age? Who actually creates joke? Why most of the people starts telling a joke, as if s/he is telling it for the first time or as if s/he has created it? Who actually owns a joke? 
Several questions are there. But no answer to these questions is satisfactory. 
Take this joke book named 'The I hate New York Joke Book', edited by Gerald Gardner, published in 1982. In the introduction of this book, the compiler writes about New York: "The city that never sleeps. Because it's afraid someone will steal the TV set." 
This book contains various sections with lovely illustrations in some of the jokes. It has has one liners. The compiler hates the Manhattan, the Transportation, the Central park, the Madison Avenue, the Broadway, the Wall Street, the restaurants, the hospitals and doctors, the call girls, the high rises and what not! 
Here are some reasons to share so that we, too can love to hate New York. In this post, the descriptive jokes are not included. Try to apply this to the city where you reside or you know very well. 

*** *** ***

  • The owner of a Second Avenue restaurant was asked why he didn't provide a parking lot for this customers. "If I had a parking lot," he said, "I wouldn't need a restaurant." (From 'I hate The restaurants') 
  • There is so much executive shuffling at the big banks, they're lettering names on executive doors in chalk. (From 'I hate The stores') 
  • Public Service Television in New York is very stimulating. At 8.00 PM you can watch William F. Buckley, and at 9.00 you can take lessons in a foreign language to find out what he was talking about. (From 'I hate TV business') 
  • Overheard in a Yonkers bar: "My wife is an hour late. She's either been kidnapped, hit by a truck or she's shopping. Gee, I hope she isn't shopping." (From 'I hate The suburbs') 
  • In Little Italy there are seventeen Catholic churches where Bingo is played. It is reported that they call out the numbers in Latin, so the Protestants can't win. (From 'I hate The melting pot') 
  • The New York board of Alcoholic Anonymous had this advice for drinkers: "If you get in your car and can't find the steering wheel, chances are you're in back seat. (From 'I hate drunks & winos') 
  • Pity the poor women's fashion designer. First it was tight pants to make them look like boys. Then it ws see-through blouses to prove they'r not. (From 'I hate The garment center') 
  • A Wall Street broker went to a cardiologist and came away extremely worried. The doctor said his heart was as sound as a dollar. (From 'I hate Wall Street')
  • If they can't clean up the water in the Hudson, they could at least put some scotch in it. (From 'I hate Manhattan') 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Inside the mind of insects

The Far side. A name synonymous to cartoonist Gary Larson. But the subjects of this cartoonist are not so common i.e. that of politics, social etc. He has made some fantastic cartoons that sounds almost surreal in nature. behaviors of birds, animals, e.t.s, extinct animals, devils, monsters, the primitive people are well caught in Larson's work. In a book 'The Far side gallery', Larson says: "As a young boy, I was plagued with an overactive imagination- compounded by the fact that we lived in a house with your standard, monster-infested basement. Occasionally, I would hear my father's command that never failed to horrify me: "Go down to the basement, Gary, and bring up some firewood." Death.
And so down I'd go, certain I was about to become the leading character in a story that would be told around campfires for generations to come.
My task nearly completed, I would begin my quick ascent back to the world of the living. And then, as I had countless times before, it would happen. With an audible click, followed by sinister laughter, the lights would go off.
Engulfed in blackness, I would scramble my way to the top of the stairs only to find the door held firmly shut. From the other side, where the light switch was controlled, I would hear my brother's voice began to chant: "It's coming for you, Gary! It's coming! Do you hear it? Do you hear it breathing, Gary?"
Unbeknownst to my parents the deep grooves in that side of the door were not caused by the dog.
Now, many years later, here I am a cartoonist. And if the cartoons i draw seem a little-well-different, I hope this story has scratched the surface of understanding my childhood: a sort of "Theodore Cleaver Meets the Thing."
In this post, have a look upon some of Larsons works on insects.

"You idiots!...We'll never get that thing down the hole!" 

"Step on it, Arnold! Step on it! " 

"God, I hate walking hrough this place at night." 

"There I was! Asleep in this little cave here, when suddenly
I was attacked by this hideous thing with five heads!" 
It's always a pleasure to observe Gary's work theme wise though the book has it all together. More from this book on another theme very soon.