If you were a child of the 70′s, you would no doubt know Barbapapa and his many colorful friends. We were introduced to this character a few years back when Lorena brought back a giant box of her childhood goods all the way from Argentina. You can’t imagine how excited we were to root through this box of vintage toys and books!
Originally written in French in the 1970s by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor, the Barbapapa (literally “cotton candy” in French) series has been translated into over 30 languages and published all over the world!
While our library holds so many of these colorful stories, it felt only fitting to start with the first in the series, simply titled “Barbapapa”.
While Barbapapa’s story is simple (trying to fit into a town when he’s so different from others), the illustrations are so delightful to look at. Future books from the Barbapapa series feature more zany characters and LOTS of bright colors, you can almost see how much this series helped influenced Lorena and her work.
Today’s vintage pick, “De Natuur” (Casterman, 1971) comes from the talented French illustrator Alain Grée. This particular translation appears to be in Dutch, which makes for some much more interesting bird names (see below). Explore nature with his bobble-headed characters as they learn about animals, plants, mountains, and oceans. You may also learn a few sailor knots and fishing tips! We love a classic encyclopedia-type children’s book, and this is certainly one of the coolest. Grée educates in style!
We love this winter classic, “The Mitten” by Alvin Tresselt. Illustrations by Yaroslava. This is the story of a lost mitten which turns into a shelter for a number of successively larger forest creatures dressed in traditional Urkrainian clothes. You will not be surprised that not everyone fits! Yaroslava’s use of the spare white page, minimal use of colors, and delicate line work, brilliantly evoke the quiet magic of a woodland winter-scape.
Today’s pick is Buscando El Bichito de Luz published by Editorial Latina in 1974. Illustrations are by Kitty Lorefice de Passalia. These bright images tell the tale of a ladybug and his entourage of insect friends as they search for an elusive firefly. The lady bug is made all the more charming by the apparently unnecessary umbrella he carries under his wing. We love the bold geometric insect shapes in combination with the loose, textured flora.
If you’ve ever been to our studio, you would have seen the tremendous library of beautiful vintage and modern children’s books we have on our book shelves. All thanks to Lorena’s incredible shopping skills, no less. Many have been collected in thrift stores and vintage shops while vacationing in other parts of the world. That would explain how quite a few of them aren’t even in English!
We’ve been wanting to display them for some time and thought our blog would be the perfect venue for it.
Today’s pick is Je Découvre Les Couleurs/ Je Compte J’ Énumére published by Les Presses D’or in 1697. This book teaches colors one side; flip it over and it’s a book about numbers on the other! Illustrations are by J.P. Miller; you might actually know him from his art in Little Golden Books.