Sunday, December 12, 2021

Puff, and William Wondriska

The other day, a friend reminded me of the Curious Pages blog, which I wrote about back in 2009 in a post about Munro Leaf. Its creators, Lane Smith and Bob, only continued through 2010, but they featured lots of cool books before they stopped, including this one with photo compositions to illustrate the Wizard of Oz, and one about brave potatoes.

But the one I'm most glad I discovered after my friend's email reminder was Puff by William Wondriska

Published in 1960, I like it because it's both part of cartoon modern and an excellent example of (as Lane and Bob say) the use of graphics in storytelling. 

I've never heard of the book or its author/creator, who was 29 when it was published. It sounds as though that's quite an omission in my graphic design knowledge.

All of the pages are printed in black and red ink, and the design of each spread is completely different, though the little train graphic is a unifying element throughout.

In addition to the cover, Lane and Bob include nine spreads, plus the end papers, but it's not enough. I have no idea what happens in the story — they leave us hanging just when the action gets going!

What about those circus animals in the snow? What does Puff do to save them? I may have to track down a copy, which I hear was reprinted somewhat recently.

In the meantime, here's another link to a post about one of Wondriska's other books, The Tomato Patch, from a blog called The Art Room Plant. In it, two all-black-and-white, militarized kingdoms become peaceful after their rulers meet a girl who grows tomatoes.

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