CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY OF CANADIAN STORIES (1965)–ILLUSTRATED  CHILDREN’S BOOK

Cover;12″ x 8 3/4″; 15pp. Original Printer’s Copy

Far from good (and too dull to be naughty), our Christmas vintage graphic design blog is not without collateral interest. The writer, John F. Hayes, claims to be putting into print what began as his original improv bedtime stories for his children. But he has obviously rejigged the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer material (without attribution, as if Gene Autry stole his genius), with catastrophic results. The author shows a misfit effecting the supposed urgency to cover the globe with pretty snow for a supposed world-wide keening about freezing, and from this non-starter he disappears, as if caught up in a tar-baby, babbling with verbose and dry lostness. (“A few minutes later, Jumpet was brought from his room. Snowscatter reached out and patted his little head. ‘You are not here to be scolded again, Jumpet. But you are the only elf who can [joy-] ride a reindeer, and we want you to lead the Snowmakers tonight!’ “)

 

Fortunately, the illustrator, Susanne Dolesch, is as delightfully brilliant as the writer is inept. She has a firm grasp of the exigency of poetry, whereas the text is terminally prosaic. Was that how it pretty much was in Toronto, in 1965? (Ms Dolesch was from Hungary.) Ernest  preaching, elsewhere in the compendium, about the virtues of reading to one’s children, and showing various nooks and crannies across a pious globe, amount to an Ice Age.

Though this vehicle might have seemed acceptable when it was produced, it appears particularly abortive in light of those truly vivid and challenging Caldecott Medal contenders which we have been amazed by, thanks to our dear friend, Sam Juliano and his blogsite, Wonders in the Dark. ( https://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/page/2/?s=caldecott

 

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