• White Facebook Icon
Apr 15, 2018

Where’s Wallace


Where’s Wallace by Hilary Knight ‘43?. Hilary Knight is well-known for his illustrations of Kay Thompson’s Eloise series, but he has written and illustrated many of his own books. This one invites you to find the venturesome orangutan, who slips his cage at the Central park Zoo, to a variety of venues designed to intrigue the young and the old: the circus, the Museum of Natural History, the ball park, among many others. This work predates the Where’s Waldo books, which undoubtedly owe Hilary a debt. Just to give you an idea of the vibrancy of the illustrations, here’s a picture (which doesn’t at all do justice to the original) I took of one double page:

In addition to the little orangutan in each drawing, there are several other characters who follow him around. Each pictures invites an intriguing search for Wallace and his entourage. My favorite is the knitting lady. Hilary Knight at 91 is still writing and drawing!


New Posts
  • xxpaulmartin12345x
    Sep 2

    What’s it For? by Henry Humphrey ’49. I was surprised to find that the urban contraptions explained in this book are still mostly quite familiar even though the book is fifty years old. Manhole covers, standpipes, and grates still look pretty much the same. The gizmo where you put your change when you board the bus Is a thing of the past, and I suspect that night depositories have been rendered obsolete by ATMs. Still, the idea of engaging the curiosity of the young about objects they see every day is charming and timeless. I would still show this book to young children and ask if they wonder about the function of anything else.
  • xxpaulmartin12345x
    Jun 25

    Love and Betrayal, A Catullus Reader ( Expanded Edition ) by Elizabeth Baer late 70’s early 80’s with cowriters Bruce Arnold, Gilbert Lawall and Andrew Aronson. The poetry of Catullus (84-54 B. C.) provides the basis for this Latin textbook for intermediate and advanced students. Most of Catullus’ extant poems appear supported by vocabulary and questions in English, which check for recognition of such poetic matters as imagery, rhythm and sound and for appreciation of such literary matters as irony, sarcasm, and motivation. From the standpoint of Latin, I am ill-equipped to comment on this book. I took two years of Latin in high school in the 1950’s. There is not enough left to understand anything but the occasional “puella” and maybe “puer” if it isn’t in an unrecognizably declined form. Nonetheless, I have boldly gone where anyone so scantily prepared should fear to tread, and as with all the other books on this site, I read Love and Betrayal cover to cover. I did cheat. I found a book of free translations online (really dreadful – I’m sure Catullus is spinning), but I plowed ahead and was rewarded. Catullus, you make me wish I had lived in the first century B.C. (That’s an apostrophe btw). In his short life Catullus wrote of what he experienced: love and betrayal (as the title states) friendship, grief, sympathy, silly social climbers, beauty (and sometimes the lack thereof), and securing a bit of immortality through his poems. My favorite of the poems addressed to his love, Lesbia, is number 3 – fletus passeris Lesbiae. It’s about a dead bird. If you read it, let me know what you think. I have two major take-aways from this book. First, Latin must be an important part of the American curriculum. Without scholars, such as the authors of this text, who are dedicated to showing students the allure of antiquity, we would float unmoored in the waters of the present. And without those scholars who preceded them, who date back to the Middle Ages and recovered and transcribed these poems, we could easily have lost this powerful link to our own roots. Secondly, I am struck by how full-blown literature already was back then over two thousand years ago. And then think of, say, Homer -- even farther back. What are we doing as a species? Still writing about love and all that, I guess. Perhaps we have made progress. To be sure, science, medicine, and technology have leaped ahead, and maybe if Catullus lived in our times he would have been spared a young death. But the level of skill and sophistication in the figures of speech, the prosody, and the wit is as fresh today as it was ages ago. Indeed, the emotions that fuel the poems are the same from time immemorial. I love that the authors include comparable poems of more recent poets; as a Francophile, I was thrilled to see represented Ronsard, one of the great carpe diem seducers of all time. That his sixteenth-century French is not modernized, reminds us of the winding road language has taken from Latin to vulgar Latin to old French to the Renaissance to the present day. Oh, and what about that plumb line from Catullus to Chaucer to T.S. Eliot? Fortunate is the student who learns Latin through this text.
  • xxpaulmartin12345x
    Nov 6, 2018

    The Joy of the Court, Retold by Constance Hieatt ’46? Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. Constance Hieatt, a Medieval scholar, sought to make the tales of King Arthur accessible to the young. The Joy of the Court is filled with the magic, whimsy, adventure, valiance and love that we associate with King Arthur and his knights. This is the tale of Erec and Enid as they try to map a course, balancing knightly valor with domestic love. Young readers will enter an enchanted world of spells and honor where nobody says goodbye. Rather they “bid farewell.” Enid seems to be a most obedient and subservient wife, and certainly this is a world of docile women. In this milieu, her bravery is even more remarkable.