Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Mouse and the Potato by Thomas Berger and Carla Grillis

The Mouse and the Potato, which is now out of print, was translated from German by Polly Lawson and was printed in Belgium in 1990 by Floris Books. This is a book about a potato, obviously and it makes for an unusual protagonist. It starts out with a little girl called Maggie deciding to plant a rather large potato with the mindset that is will produce more potatoes.  A plant appears and it grows prolifically, the problem is, when it comes to harvest time the gigantic plant won't budge. Maggie's father, a farmer, tries to uproot the plant, is shortly joined by his wife, then a farmhand, a milking maid and then Maggie; all to no avail. Then it's time for canine, felines and rodents to partake in the what is now proving to be a very challenging harvest. Well, I wonder  what could possibly happen? The farm horse even ends up with a job. A straightforward little plot with gentle water colour illustrations by Belgium illustrator Carla Grillis.   It is certainly a beautiful addition to my children book collection.

The harvest

The Dutch version

The German version

Monday, April 18, 2016

Daddy Lost His Head by Quentin Blake & Andre Bouchard

Loved this book, Daddy Lost His Head, before I even read the first page. What kid wouldn't pluck this one right off the shelf?  I found the book very amusing.  If your Dad lost his head you would fashion him a new one of course. Newspaper, paint and a potato for a nose and voilĂ ...there it is a new functioning head with many advantages. You see, he doesn't snore or shout, he readily agrees with you and is quite happy to do the vacuuming. Even better, take him shopping and he will buy anything you ask for. But...will Daddy ever find his real head and just how did he lose it in the first place? This is certainly a very absurd story but also very inventive and funny.