by Peter Newell (Tuttle Publishing, 2001; originally published in 1910)
This book hopped back on my radar during my 2014 visit to the NYPL’s exhibit, The ABCs of it: Why Children’s Books Matter. (Check out the second to last picture in that post for cold, hard proof.)
It’s strange and silly and a playful use of the book’s form. Perfect, then, for a picture book.
It takes the shape of a rhomboid–not a rectangle, not a square. Because of that forty-five degree angle, the book itself drives the story.
Where Bobby lives, there is a hill–
A hill so steep and high,
‘Twould fit the bill for Jack and Jill
Their famous act to try
Thanks to that almost-literal twist, Bobby flies away from his poor, unsuspecting Nurse, and their nice walk through the neighborhood turns disastrous in a flash.
Page by page, to spot-on verse, Bobby leaves mayhem in his downhill wake. (And, of course, the story ends before his Nurse has to push him back uphill.)
Clever, unconventional, and a bit bizarre.
For form-lovers and geometry teachers and rhymers. For anyone who adores little weird picture books.
A few favorites from Joanne’s collection: