Where in the World is little Holly Healthy!?

Politicians have joined movie stars and rock icons in the ranks of aspiring children’s book authors.  Years before Karen Pence published  A Day in the Life of the Vice President (the book that inspired Marlon Bundo) Catherine Pugh, the mayor of Baltimore and fitness fanatic, created the “Healthy Holly” series to inspire children to improve the physical and mental well-being of themselves, their friends and families. Persuading couch potatoes of any age that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly will make them better, more beautiful people is a hard sell.

One indirect approach to changing eating habits is to write a cookbook for kids, full of easy recipes for dishes that taste good and are good for you.  So nutritious and delicious that everyone will compliment the cook by asking for seconds.  Weave a conversion narrative around the recipes and you get…

Jules Bass. Cooking with Herb the Vegetarian Dragon: A Cookbook for Kids. Illustrated by Debbie Harter. (New York: Barefoot Books, 1999). Cotsen in process.

Herb is relentlessly upbeat about changing eating styles, but he gets it  when aspiring vegetarians fall off the wagon once in a while on their journey.   And if a ragon in chef’s whites can push a wheelbarrow brimming with fresh produce around the Kingdom of Nogard, anyone can!  But it’s his recipes that work magic on people who never thought they could give up m–t.

Herb’s no-meat patties with their dynamite secret ingredient puts the King of Nogard off his favorite wild boar burgers forever.  For his service to the arteries of the kingdom, Herb is knighted. 

Herb’s spicy chili full of textured vegetable protein, kidney beans, and grated cheese makes a believer of his buddy Meathook.  When Meathook has his friends over for dinner, no one can get enough of Herb’s veggie pasta.   Maybe Meathook will pass along Herb’s name to Drogon, Rhaego, and Viserion for the wrap party of Game of Thrones, season eight….

Not all anthropomorphized animals pressed into service as role models are perfect like Herb.  There’s Tiffany Dino, who gorges on pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter sandwiches and loves every bite, even though the chair is groaning from the strain.  When her shirts ride up over her belly button, she decides it is time to turn over a new leaf.  Maybe Tiffany can get her act together.  Tiffany Dino belongs to the fallible but loveable category of animal stand-ins for children.  She eats healthy and works out for a week, but when she weighs herself, not one ounce less than six hundred pounds.  She decides to accept her big green self just as she is after making a new, very large friend who likes Tiffany  because there is so much to hug.

So how does Holly Healthy compare with Herb and Tiffany as role models? For a review, see the one Carlos Lozada ran in the Washington Post. At the time of writing this post, it was not possible to obtain a copy of any of the four titles: “Healthy Holly: Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow;” “Healthy Holly” Exercising is Fun!;” “Healthy Holly: Not all Vegetables are Green;” and “Healthy Holly: Walking with My Family.”  There is some confusion as to their whereabouts–if indeed they were ever written, published, and distributed.   Perhaps putting out this call to the readers of the Cotsen Curatorial Blog may produce the results which will solve the mystery of the picture-book writing major of Baltimore.  Any or all of the titles would be welcome additions to  Cotsen’s collection of children’s books by politicians or their wives…

How to Make a Flying Monkey

With the polar vortex fast approaching, time for something heartwarming!  There is something new in Bookscape to look for when you next visit.

Here’s the story.   There was a small disaster shortly after we moved back into Cotsen this April.  Without any warning, the mast and sails of the pirate ship sailing across the Kite Wall collapsed and fell to the floor.  No one was hurt, thank heavens… The bad news was that our Jolly Roger was past repair.  The good news was that we would have to work with our good friends at Straight Line Designs in Vancouver, Washington to create a new figure.

It would be a monkey flying on a magic book.   We talked and Judson sketched. The wind-blown hair was Minjie’s inspired idea.  Dana’s suggestion that the monkey would  ride cross-legged so he wouldn’t fall off taking sharp turns in mid-air was adopted as work progressed.

Pattern pieces for all the parts…

Danielle hard at work carving the monkey out of a special kind of Styrofoam that is light but strong and can be painted.Several color schemes for us to consider, none of which seemed quite right.

 Danielle convinced us that the monkey really wanted to be purple.  Andrea talked her into a rosy pink for the fly book’s boards.

A special crate was built to ship the monkey to Princeton and he arrived safe and sound exactly twenty-four hours behind schedule.  But It takes more than that to stop Judson and Danielle from installing a purple monkey on time.  Danielle got on her hands and knees to make a tracing so that monkey would be placed perfectly on the wall, right where the pirate ship had been.

Attaching him to the wall wasn’t as easy as Danielle is making it look here. This was taken before she discovered that it was going to be necessary to drill through metal to secure the figure so it wouldn’t fall down. 

Here he is, floating between the dragon and the fox.