We have embarked, in our acquisitions of the past year or so, upon the easily underestimated powers of Americana graphics. Here we want to dip into inventory we’ve held and loved for years, graphics that likewise trade in discovery that carnally intensive lives, presented with wit and warmth, can open doors for us.
The texts of the French children’s books series, Pere Castor (Daddy Beaver), unearth charms that gain even more scope by comparison with the work of their more flashy cousins, within a seldom considered Franco-American constellation. The volume Quipic (the hedgehog–in French, herisson) begins with the roots and underground insects of a garden and then looks upward to surface and flying animals.
The narrator runs through an array of garden animals and then exclaims, “And I understand their (hedgehogs’) language… It’s a bit hard to grasp, but in letting it reach your heart you can come to understand it.” After this we see a family of hedgehogs and how one of them, Quipic, kills a snake, for which the gardeners are grateful. In a remarkably touching denouement, the narrator, an elderly lady, comes across Quipic near the end of his life, much slower than when we first met him and sleeping on a busy pathway. She lifts him lovingly, enduring the painful little nips he had given her all along, and puts him in a safe place to enjoy his sunbath.

“The coo coo flies under the branches. The coo coo flies under the thickets. The coo coo sings.”

The coo coo also invades the nests of other birds, and leaves the mother birds to feed its offspring. The caption here, reads, “He’s so big! And what an appetite!”

A boy who loves to make music on his recorder observes this other musician with fascination and affection.  And that’s the heart  of the wonderful little book, Coucou.

Share Button
Like this:Like
1 People Liked this
This entry was posted in Illustration Art, Illustrators and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Hello !!
    This post is so great !
    I am working for the association : “Les Amis du Père Castor” (Daddy beaver’s friends) and we are printing again Pere Castor old books like Coucou, Quipic etc.

    A library specialized about the Pere Castor’s collection exists in France.

    • Jim Clark says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. In fact, very timely, as we prepare a baby gift for our friends expecting their first baby–and it is one of our vintage Pere Castor books. We realized several years ago when we discovered these gems in France that they were not to be ignored. Merci, Valerie et Jim

    • Jim Clark says:

      I realized perhaps you may not have seen all 4 of Jim’s blogs on our Pere Castor books:http://www.idesirevintageposters.com/blogs/?s=pere+castor. Feel free to link this with your Pere Castor website..Let us know if in fact you do and we will also promote your site.

  2. Thank you so much for theses publications about Pere Castor’s books. I haven’t seen your comments, I am happy to read them. We can communicate about Pere Castor as much as you want and I will to add your website on my own website : http://www.amisduperecastor.fr


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(Spamcheck Enabled)