Today I have for you another image heavy post, this time about the joys and hazards of outdoor living.

Giant Jam Sandwich cover

The Giant Jam Sandwich came to me via the library book sale, it’s another book from the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club. This book is from 1972 and I particularly like the sort of trippy illustration style. And the silly, silly story.

Giant Jam Sandwich 1

First all these wasps hit town.

Giant Jam Sandwich 2

Ruining everybody’s fun.

Giant Jam Sandwich 3

So the people have a meeting to discuss what to do.

Giant Jam Sandwich 4

They devise a silly plan involving . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 5

a giant loaf of bread . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 6

and a vast quantity of strawberry jam.

Giant Jam Sandwich 7

which attracts and traps the wasps.

Giant Jam Sandwich 8

Problem Solved! So they have a party.

Notice that in the upper right corner some birds are carrying away the giant jam/wasp sandwich wrapped in it’s giant picnic cloth for their dinner.

stand back sneeze cover

This book seemed like an appropriate choice for today. Don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve been sneezing up a storm ever since the green things started growing. I’ve heard all the science; the spring arriving late made the plants and trees all go overboard to catch up, but that doesn’t exactly make the sneezing stop. Or even slow down a bit, I mean, seriously!

stand back sneeze 1

So I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who can sort of identify with the poor old elephant. And empathize with everyone else who has to live through the onslaught.

stand back sneeze 2

like these monkeys,

stand back sneeze 3

and the panicked parrot,

and check out the way elly is strangling that little tree trying to suppress his sneeze.

stand back sneeze 4

and the scaredy-bear.

Hope you all got a chuckle out of this vintage children’s book

That’s right, my friend Forest Rogers wins GOLD in dimensional illustration at Spectrum Live.

Go over to Muddy Colors and scroll down to see the list of winners. Go to Forest’s blog to see her amazing Venetian Harpy, she also has wip photos for this piece over to the right of the window under Current Work II.

Please join me in a joyous Happy Dance in honor of a great artist and a much deserved win!

and to always be open to little silliness.

one day when we went walking

Trust yourself, believe in faeries, and remember that the bah-humbugs can all go jump in the lake.

Have some fun over this long overdue three day weekend!

It seems like forever since it was warm here. But the violets have popped up and while it will take a few days of bright sun for them to go purple — it’s officially Spring. Yay!

frog ice cream stand

Please enjoy these happy little creatures celebrating the return of pleasant weather.

. . . Reinstall Universe And Reboot.

I thought I was handling this just fine, after all we all knew it was coming. I heard the news on Thursday and while I’ve been sad, I thought I was mostly OK. Then I walked into the library to exchange my books and there was a big pile of books along with his picture. I started to cry. The librarian who put them there started to tear up. We talked for a few minutes and then we laughed. Proper fitting memorial.

I got home (with my new books) and found the invisible wombat wobbling around in circles muttering (wally, wally . . . Crivens!) This is not a good sign. The ground under my feet doesn’t feel quite real, I feel distinctly off balance, nothing is quite right. (There is however the distinct possibility that this surrealness is due not entirely to my grief but instead to a recent (brief) severe illness and hospitalization.) FYI — the invisible wombat is not a Terry Prachett invention. The invisible wombat is mine and he’s been with me practically forever. For a better idea of the dynamics of this relationship watch the movie Lilo and Stitch — I’m both of them.

If you’ve no idea whatsoever who I’m talking about . . . well I pity you. You’ve been missing out on something entirely wonderful.


Here are a few things you should google: Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Discworld quotes, Hex (explains the heading of this post). Don’t forget to click for images. Google has helpfully put up a list of his books — click on it. Then go read them.

Meanwhile I’ll be trying to pull things together. So far the best I’ve managed is a momentary state of “out of cheese”. Which is dire enough to be going on with.

GNU Terry Pratchett

Another childhood treasure recovered via the local library sale, Yay!

21 balloons cover

The 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois was published in 1947 and won the Newbery Award in 1948. Which it totally deserved. I borrowed this from the library as a child and was enchanted by the rollicking adventure story therein. I spotted the spine at the library sale and yoink, it was mine! Rereading it reaffirmed my memory of it being fast-paced, wild, and just chock full of bizarre inventions and architectural wonders.

21 balloons title page

It is the story of a retired schoolteacher who resolves to spend a year aloft in a specially constructed airborne house. The house/balloon is where you start to see some definite steampunk influences.

21 balloons house cross section

Of course his trip does not go to plan, he ends up crashing in the ocean and shipwrecked on Krakatoa. Yes, Krakatoa, and not at all long before it exploded. Wow! The book is all about his adventures in ballooning and his interactions with the rather bizarre inhabitants of a secret colony on the isolated island.

21 balloons electric house

The island is where steampunk meets surrealism in earnest. The above image is from the “electric house” with a living room full of bumper-car chairs and a couch that holds four children and goes the fastest of all the furniture. What a scream.

At night they sleep in elevator beds. And every single house has a different and often highly imaginative architectural style. What Fun!

21 balloons merry go round diagram

Even their leisure activities are different. Check out the Balloon Merry Go Round. I just love the way this is depicted in a technical sort of diagram showing how it works.

21 balloons merry go round in air

And then as an illustration showing the children in it in mid air. The way in which this book is written is kind of unique. It’s a fascinating mixture of actual history and fantasy inventions. It has a dry wit that I found highly entertaining. My favorite line is a newspaper headline after the teacher is found in floating in his escape vehicle: “PROFESSOR SHERMAN IN WRONG OCEAN WITH TOO MANY BALLOONS, and the subheading: Refuses to Explain How or Why“.

21 balloons vegetable stall

Even the illustration style is perfect for this story. The above image is a vegetable stall decorated for the professor’s homecoming celebration. Love that watermelon and banana zeppelin.

From the many, many reasons to find this book worth reading I highly recommend that you choose one and seek out a copy. It’s still in print which I think is just dandy, and there are plenty of vintage copies available is you prefer that sort of thing.


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