Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CHEF'S HOLIDAY by Idwal Jones with Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin

I picked up CHEF'S HOLIDAY (published by Longmans, Green and Co., 1952) in Otter Brook Books, a tiny used bookstore by the Maine/New Hampshire border. It's not on the Web and its free bookmark advises "call for exact location."

CHEF'S HOLIDAY by Idwal Jones is about Mr. Jones, a chef, going on a holiday. Well, duh.

On the cover, the color painting is of Mr. Jones and wine-bearing friend who are fishing for eels. This leads to eel cooking, of course. The cover and interior ink drawings are by Roger Duvoisin (1904-1980), who may be best known for his children's books. He had won his first Caldecott Medal 4 years earlier for his illustrations for WHITE SNOW BRIGHT SNOW, which was written by Alvin Tresselt. (Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves has more about WHITE SNOW BRIGHT SNOW here.) I knew Mr. Duvoisin's work from his children's book PETUNIA.

Florian, the friend and guide for the book. As you can see, he loves food.

I love Duvoisin' thick and thin lines. Even non-living things have character, you know?

Above: some of the supporting cast.

A small, half page illustration. Again: simple, almost cartoony -- but the precise, spare drawing evokes a place and a mood succinctly.

Above is the picture that made me buy the book. Those little eels, poking their heads out to check Mssrs. DuPart and Jones were great to see (and, according to Mr. Jones, they really did poke their heads out, looking "like walking sticks"). Why the cover painting excludes the curious eels, I don't know.

These are just a few of the drawings.

This first edition was autographed by Mr. Jones, in French, to Mlle. Dorothy Friedman (sp?), on September 6, 1956.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry that originally appeared June 9, 2011.

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