Tuesday 10 July 2007

"That's what I call a whoppin' big rabbit!"

F or some time we thought we had lost this, but I came across it yesterday while looking for something else. Bill Peet was a an author of twenty-eight Kids' books whom I had never heard of until I had kids of my own. He was Disney's top story man for many years and the Jungle Book (1967) was the last thing he worked on there (greatest Disney movie ever in my humble. They're still discussing it as of yesterday at imdb). Peet is another one of those people who has died since i last went looking for him, in 2002. There's a website dedicated to him and on it you'll find a bunch of interesting things including his drawing of himself as a young chap presenting a storyboard to Disney himself. There are a couple of good photos on that page too.
Huge Harold was first published in 1964. Harold is a rabbit who grows too big to be a rabbit and has to leave home and find his way in the world. Like many of Peet's books it's written in this rhyming couplet thing he had going:

Harold was spotted by Orville B. Croft,
Who heard some loud snoring way up in his loft.
"Well now," he said, "Doggone and dagnabit!
That's what I call a whoppin' big rabbit!"
Then all at once he heard someone shout
And he opened a window and poked his head out.

Peet's style was jaunty and loose. There's a page on the right with Harold hiding in a tree;
Harold ends up pulling buggies in those races they have in the US.

They looked up the rules but they couldn't find one
That said, "It's not fair for a rabbit to run."
So he ran in the race and won going away
And became a champion trotter that day.

Here is a page about the book including Peet's comments and preparatory sketches.

We have a couple of Peet's other books here but our money was always on the rabbit.

I don't think this article tells us anything we can't figure out for ourselves, but it's covering ground I have occasionally trod upon here (see 'new books' in the sidebar):
Young writers with alternative storytelling techniques are quickly becoming today's literary . . . Transformers-By Brandon Griggs -The Salt lake Tribune- 07/09/2007
Such experimentation in content and form is showing up increasingly in recent fiction by authors in their 20s and 30s. This new breed of writers, looking for fresh ways to construct narratives, think nothing of breaking up prose with graphics, maps and comic strips. They vary their font sizes, add extensive footnotes, format their text into strange shapes on the page. Sometimes they even run the text upside down.
(link via Tom Spurgeon)



Blogger syferium said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10 July 2007 at 01:03:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"randy's dandy lions" was the peet book we read to pieces in my house.

10 July 2007 at 02:45:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

since I was asked, I deleted the first comment because it was some unwelcome advertising shite.

10 July 2007 at 19:42:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you got your hands on Bill Peet's autobiography? I was surprised to enjoy that even more than his storybooks, and that's saying something. His way of telling behind-the-scenes stories reminds me of your manner, Mr. C., which makes the fictional creation read even richer and truer. (The opposite of learning too much about how sausage is made.)

11 July 2007 at 17:33:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

no, I haven't read that.
will seek it out
thanks for letting me know.

11 July 2007 at 17:51:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

I want me Bill Peet books now.

Ah, I remember when I was eleven and already too big to be a ballerina. Standing in the dance shop having just been told they don't make pointe shoes for Amazons, The Mammy larfed and said 'HUGE HAROLD!' She would repeat this hilarious! and witty! quip time and time again.

I still think of her red giggling chevy when I'm in a shoe shop, clothes shop, hat shop...

Huge Fukkin' Harold indeed.

13 July 2007 at 03:39:00 GMT-5  

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