New York Fables
. Verba . Chotomów, Poland
PG7162.Z357 N413 1990 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a strange, weird, captivating book. I read it all the way through. It is a cartoon parody-history of New York City. The cartoons are full-page landscape black-and-white illustrations; these are large, since the book is 12 x 9. Paul Davis' foreword rightly speaks of a slyly surreal, overwhelmingly humane imagination. The first chapter, Indian Summer, presents the first two inhabitants. They built the Hut of Man, and ever since then this island has been known as Manhattan. Where Are You From? is a favorite chapter of mine. Its first illustration uses maps as the background design from which the chests and heads of two people are formed. I find it very clever! Czeczot gives a delightful chapter to the birth of the subway. Here one can see a shark using the subway going through the East River. Uptown is another favorite. Do not miss the cartoon of the new Adam and Eve in their penthouse. Eve, older but in a bikini, is about to accept the apple from the serpent. These are not fables, but they are fun! This copy includes a small yellow pamphlet with the original Polish texts for each of the chapters.