Posts Tagged ‘Childrens’ Literature’

I am pathologically obscure fer sure, so let me clue all a ya’all in who were denied the childhood pleasure of reading the first and foremost cat extinction event story for the young reader, “Millions of Cats”, by Wanda Gag.

There is something weird about this tale of an old man’s quest for a cat to cheer up his wife. That’s probably why I like to check it out every once in a while. It has a kind of German Impressionistic feel to it that seems appropriate to the plot goings on. Hell, it was good enough to win a Newberry Award, and that’s not too shabby. It was first printed in 1928 and is currently the oldest children’s picture book still in print, if we are to believe Wikipedia, and while we are believing, believe this about Wanda Gag: Wanda Hazel Gág (1893–1946) was an American artist, author, translator, and illustrator. She is most noted for writing and illustrating the children’s book Millions of Cats which won a Newbery Honor Award and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. It is the oldest American picture book still in print. The ABC Bunny also received a Newbery Honor Award. Her books Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Nothing at All each won a Caldecott Honor Award. In 1940 a book of edited excerpts from her diaries (covering the years 1908 to 1917) was published as Growing Pains; it received wide acclaim.






There are actually articles about reading to your dog (and I’m not at all surprised). Here is a suggested reading list from “Parents Choice”:

Due to my odyssey to recapture good health which has eaten up many hours with various and sundry tests, office visits, blood-letting, and more, I have fallen behind in my illustration work for Bob Nichols’ “Rosie of the Rialto”. I emailed him today with a pledge to do five more sketches before our next meeting Tuesday morning. Here are the first two.

Dickie and Daisy the Dancing Darlings

Roland Van Montague and His Lady Wife, Portia, Purveyors Of The Bard’s Best


One of the main subplots of the continuing story of life as I know it (as seen on my blog) is the work in progress I share with author, Robert Nichols, to illustrate his story, “Rosie of the Rialto”.  For reasons I described briefly in, we will have to ramp up this process as much as possible. I made my weekly visit to see Bob this past Tuesday, we discussed some of the recent sketches I’ve done and the need to create a mock-up of the design we hope to give the book. As usual I managed to change the subject to talk about his career. We talked about the many other unsung heroes, the character actors he’d worked with over the almost six decades of his life in film, television and theater. We also persuaded his friend, Mikie, to take a picture of us. I hope to use this picture on the flap of the book when we get it published.

Two handsome guys trying to make a book.

I know I shouldn’t try to change the subject during our weekly meetings but let me relate one anecdote Bob recently  shared with me to show why it is so tempting to get him talking about his movie experiences.  While on the set of an episode of the much underrated fifties Disney series, “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca”, Bob and James Coburn (in his first film effort) were on horseback riding toward Arthur Hunnicutt.

Vitamin C Addict?


Director George Sherman had so feared that Hunnicutt’s drinking would impair his performance that he had assigned an aide to monitor his behavior and make sure no bottles or flasks were available to him.

As Bob and Coburn continued to approach Hunnicutt they noticed he was showing signs of instability in the saddle. Just as they reached him for the intended dialogue, he rolled to the side and fell off the horse and onto the ground with a dusty thud. As he remained motionless director Sherman rushed onto the scene yelling  at everyone but mostly at the aide who had been entrusted with keeping an eye on Hunnicutt. “I thought I told you to stop him from drinking. Didn’t you see him in the act?”  The aide responded, “I never saw him with a bottle all day. He was just eating a lot of oranges between shots.” Of course when they examined the orange peels they smelled the subtle scent of vodka. He’d been injecting the fruit with alcohol as I later did in college. See what I mean. Good stories.

Long retired from show business and separated from her family, Lulu finds that a poor helpless kitty can rekindle her maternal instincts and bring meaning to her rather lonesome life.

You can tell she was a knockout when she was a young chimpette.

You may be wondering how my comic self is dealing with all this drawing energy being devoted to my new project (illustrating a childrens’ book). Obviously if I’m drawing kitties and piggies, chimps, rabbits, kangaroos and ducks, not to mention a supporting cast of humans, there will be a lot less time for Grandpa Mongrel and Aldo. I received this graphic statement from my alter-ego late last night, so I feel obligated to publish it to validate my inner weirdness.

Saul Fernau, Moe Leyder

Mulligan is a portly gentleman of fifty, sporting an impressive mustache. He is always in a stew in times of crisis, which is always. He is the impresario of the not so famous Rialto Theatre of Omaha, Nebraska, where Rosie was born.


This is a preliminary sketch of one of the main human characters in the childrens’ book that I am working on with author, actor, playwrite, Mr. Bob Nichols. The working title is “Rosie of the Rialto”.