Yet Another Forgotten Book From Childhood Question
March 16, 2010 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Yet Another Forgotten Book From Childhood Filter: Yeah, here we go again. Subjects? (1) Koalas and locusts, and (2) weird poems, somewhat grotesque line drawings and optical illusions.

I will get the time periods out of the way first: I was born in 1965, so the majority of kid's books would have likely been from 1970 onward (since, in my mind, I correlate reading books and being able to read with a house we moved into around 1969-1970).

First was a book about a circus made up of koala bears. It is actually a rather strange book in that there is a plague of locusts that eat their food and the put on the circus to make money to help each other buy food. Or something like that. There were koalas and there was DEFINITELY a swam of locust that ate their food (the trees).

Second was a very odd book. I remember it being maybe not so much a kid's book as a young adult book, but it had some particularly distinct things. First were the drawings. They were almost grotesque in a manner (not like Plop or Basil Wolverton, though) and the only thing I can think of to compare them to is the animation *** in The Beatles' Yellow Submarine (there were some things in the book that particularly reminded me of the Blue Meanies (the noses and eyes). They were all black and white line/ink drawings. They were often optical illusions or, in some cases, brain tricks of some sort (like the putting two fingers together and letting your eyes cross a little to make it look like there is one strange finger between them) and they were illustrated and there were some standard "What's different between these two pictures?" things in it. There were also very odd poems in it (I think). I look at this book endlessly as a kid because of the weirdness factor.

Any ideas mind-o-the-hive?
posted by smallerdemon to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bear Circus
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:29 PM on March 16, 2010

May thank, turgid.
posted by smallerdemon at 8:31 PM on March 16, 2010

Er, MANY thanks, turgid.
posted by smallerdemon at 8:35 PM on March 16, 2010

The art you describe in the second book brings to mind the sort of stuff that would have appeared in Punch in the 70s. The magazine also released a lot of books and compilations and best-ofs, so it could possibly have been on of those. You could have a look through this gallery to see if any of the art styles jump out at you.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:37 PM on March 16, 2010

Ah HA! That is a much better comparison. I haven't even looked at the link yet but your mention of it immediately conjured up the type of art I have seen in the past that is/was associated with Punch.

I will see if they every put out such a thing as a compilation that would have had a 60/70s release.
posted by smallerdemon at 8:49 PM on March 16, 2010

Well, if it was a Punch collection I believe it is unlikely I will fully discover it exactly since there were many Punch yearly books and they are, of course, all out of print and probably long gone. But they were still hardback in 1970 so that might have been it.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:47 PM on March 16, 2010

Your second mystery book reminded me quite a bit of Ed Emberley's "The Wizard of Op," a delightfully odd B&W line-drawing book of optical illusions. I remember checking this one out of the library often because the optical illusions were so much fun.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:49 AM on March 17, 2010

Thank you for sharing that one, Monkey Toes. Sadly, not the book from my childhood, but I am going to look for a copy of The Wizard Of Op for my daughter.
posted by smallerdemon at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2010

Sadly, no best answer for the second one. After recently seeing a giant hardback collection of PUNCH I determined that if the one thing WAS a PUNCH collection it was an usual one or a yearly collection of some sort that is probably impossible to find at this point. Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:01 PM on March 26, 2010

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