Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Biquette the White Goat by Francoise (1953)

We really love all the books written by "Francoise" that we've been able to get our hands on (The Jeanne-Marie series; The Big Rain) but this one is far and away our favorite. My wife has even ordered extra vintage copies of it to give away as gifts. It's a simple story about a little girl who can't drink cow's milk, so the town doctor tells her to get a goat, and the goat she gets needs a coat before her long train journey. Here are all but two pages:

At this point, Miss Sophie realizes she has to make the goat a coat so she won't get a cold on her journey.

"Francoise" was the pen name of French-American author Francoise Seignobosc, who wrote and illustrated about forty children's books between the 1930s and the 1960s. She died in 1961.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Busiest Boy in Holland, by Lisl Weil (1959)

It's Tulip Time in Holland. Holland, Michigan. What better week to share one of our favorite books from from our shelf of Americanized Dutch children's stories? (See previously: Kees) The Busiest Boy in Holland tells the story of Toontje, a boy from the Isle of Marken with a pet goldfish named Albert.

Toontje travels with his brothers to Amsterdam to help their Uncle Johannes on his tulip farm as he prepares for a big flower festival.

 I love this vision of an Amsterdam street:

After their work days end, the boys craft a secret float for the festival parade.

Soon, the time of the parade has come:

The boys' big surprise is. . .[prepare to be underwhelmed]

Not only is it just not all that impressive, it leaks:

Thankfully, this allows Toontje to portray the greatest hero in Dutch history, the little boy who stuck his finger in the dike:

The people cheer! Hooray, they cry! His goldfish will survive!