The Bear's Toothache ¦ Where Can an Elephant Hide?
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On our cover this month we feature an illustration from The Swineherd, a picture book version of the Andersen fairy tale by artist Lisbeth Zwerger. (Neugebauer Press, 0 907234 127, £3.95 from A. and C. Black). We are grateful to A. and C. Black for help in using this illustration. The roundel used on the Hans Andersen pages is from the wood engraving by Gwen Raverat for Four Tales, translated by R. P. Keigwin, C.U.P. (1935). It and the Punch cartoon on page 16 appear in Brian Alderson's pamphlet Hans Christian Andersen and his Eventyr in England.
In an easy-to-read story, the dream and fantasy world of an small boy seemingly becomes reality when he finds a bear with toothache outside his bedroom window. His effort to effect a cure reduce the kitchen and bedroom to a shambles but the troublesome tooth is finally extracted and hidden safely under the pillow.
There are shades of Sendak in the shadowy pictures whose colours heighten the mood and impact of the nocturnal adventure.
In Where Can an Elephant Hide? Morris's size is a problem whenever he tries to play his favourite game, hide and seek: there's just nowhere he cannot be seen. Various animals offer advice but whilst appropriate for the adviser none is effective for an elephant, till his sub-aquatic resting place and an untimely sneeze save him from the hunters. And that calls for a celebration - hide and seek of course!
An enjoyable diversion but not a story with a lasting impact.