Long Shot-Children's ABC book from 60s-70s?
August 1, 2007 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me the title (or author, ISBN #, any other info) of a children's alphabet book-probably published late-1960s or early 1970s, featuring fantastical creatures chasing other fantastical creatures?

Unfortunately, my memory is too hazy to allow me to find this book using google (or it simply doesn't exist anymore). I think it was printed on sepia toned paper, and had simple line drawings for illustrations.

Each page featured a mythological creature (some were "real" mythological creatures, but some may have been "made up for the book" mythological creatures) and a little bit of doggerel, like this:

"The lepus is leaping, as well he might! He is being chased by a..."

And then you would turn the page, and find "A Manticore," or something, who was performing some verb beginning in "M", as well he might!, for he was being chased by whatever "N" creature was on the next page.

I have tried searching on "lepus is leaping" because that is a phrase that sticks in my head. That being said, it may not have actually been a phrase in the book.

posted by MsElaineous to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Animalia by Graeme Base?
posted by ads at 2:02 PM on August 1, 2007

(It was originally published in 1986.)
posted by ads at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2007

Animalia is about the opposite of simple line drawings on sepia paper. Good book, though.
posted by MadamM at 2:08 PM on August 1, 2007

about the opposite of simple line drawings on sepia paper

Good call. I thought the same thing myself when I finally read the whole question.
posted by ads at 2:09 PM on August 1, 2007

I believe I remember this too. It's not Edward Gorey's alphabet, and it's not Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein (Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book) ...

Manticores show up in a lot of bestiary alphabets, it seems. (Bestiary alphabets are a traditional thing, there's always one around it seems.)
* Kory Bingaman's Bestiary Alphabet
* Cicely Combs' Medieval Bestiary Alphabet
* Alicia Smith's Wonderful Things
* Jonathon Hunt's Bestiary: An Illuminated Alphabet of Medieval Beasts

Here's a list of "recommended" alphabet books., and one from the School Library Journal. To jog your memory, or someone's.
posted by dhartung at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2007

Just to throw some more titles out there:
* Alligators All Around (Maurice Sendak)
* Absolutely Awful Alphabet
* There's a Monster in the Alphabet
* HUngry Monster ABC
* An Animated Alphabet (Marie Angel)
* Lettered Creatures

There's a wonderful exhibit of book illustration at the Smithsonian site, too. A 1970s example is the Alphabeast Book, but it's nothing like your description. I was also led to this exhibit of unusual alphabet books: Abecedarium.

But I'm not finding what you remember (let alone anything clicking for me).
posted by dhartung at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2007

This isn't an alphabet book, but this reminded me of one of my favorite lost books, the Ice Cream Cone Coot. It describes such things as the shuttercluck, the milkbottle midge, the waterglass goose, and the highbutton bobolink.
posted by FreezBoy at 3:20 PM on August 1, 2007

Edward Gorey has created several alphabet books besides the Gashleycrumb Tinies (linked above). His Utter Zoo features line drawings on sepia paper of whimsical creatures, with rhymes like "The Boggerslosh conceals itself / in back of bottles on a shelf," and "The Fidknop is devoid of feeling. / It drifts about beneath the ceiling."

The animals are not chasing one another, however.

The Utter Zoo is collected in Amphigorey Also. Click that link and use "Search Inside" to view some sample pages.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2007

Title: ABC Bestiary
Publisher: Merrick, NY/USA Cross-Cultural Communications 1990
ISBN Number: 0-89304-353-2
Illustrator: Alfred Van Loen

Alfred Van Loen's endless-line drawings of beasts from alligator to zebra, complemented by poems by various poets is a delightful viewing/reading for grown-up children.

posted by misha at 4:38 PM on August 1, 2007

This page has a cover pic, though this copy of the book isn't in English. line drawing cover
posted by misha at 4:48 PM on August 1, 2007

Best answer: A search on WorldCat for juvenile literature with "bestiary" as a subject only turns up two books in the 1960-1980 range. A Beastly Alphabet? Published in 1969. Or Two by Two/Dos por Dos? I can't find any cover images, but it was a mix of English and Spanish, which you probably would remember. Published in 1974.
posted by donnagirl at 11:52 PM on August 1, 2007

Response by poster: My goodness, I think donnagirl has it. It isn't sepia-toned, is it (I was 3! What can I say?)? Thank you all for your efforts, there's some interesting books mentioned in this thread that I may check out for the soon-to-be-born kid of a friend.

Is it silly that my heart lept a little when I saw the cover of the book? The stuff that we carry with us from childhood is bizarre and unpredictable.
posted by MsElaineous at 5:28 AM on August 2, 2007

Do I at least get an E for Effort? </obligatory pun>

That cover stirs memories for me as well, I do believe you and I read the same book.
posted by dhartung at 7:35 AM on August 2, 2007

« Older songs for my baby   |   Remote wifi troubleshooting Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.