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Children's LiteratureThe "Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage" series has the admirable mission of republishing "significant out-of-print books that contribute to Minnesota's cultural legacy." How fortunate for lovers of children's literature that Wanda Gag was born in Minnesota! Best known for her award-winning Millions of Cats, Gag (1893-1946) wrote and illustrated three other delightful tales now being reprinted. The Funny Thing, a marvelously expressive creature a bit like a dinosaur with a row of blue points extending from his head to the tip of his long curling tail, loves to eat children's dolls. How Bobo, a bald, bearded little man of the mountains, lures the Thing away from this exotic fare and converts him to "jum-jills" is the plot of this amusing tale rendered in hand-lettered text and illustrated with black-and-white ink drawings distinguished both for their intriguing detail and for their sinuous sense of movement often spilling over two pages. Young readers will enjoy counting the lovingly depicted foods Bobo prepares for birds and animals and relish the winding trip through Bobo's cave, complete with bedroom, study, and old-fashioned kitchen. A recent four-year-old listener was mesmerized by the Thing's ever-changing attitudes and expressions, and enchanted by the final image of the Thing seated at the top of a mountain, his long tail wrapped around it like a terraced road. This beautifully designed little work of art has been out of print too long; children are fortunate to have again this gift from a vibrant artist of the twentieth century. 2003 (orig. 1929), University of Minnesota Press, Ages 3 to 8.
—Barbara L. Talcroft