Think you have it hard? Nope. Nothing like the dogs of Paris. Though you may be a “good dog”– intelligent, well-trained, attractive, educated, pensive, philanthropically minded, self-sacrificing– doesn’t matter. If you are a dog at all, you will always be denied entry into the parks of Paris. Even on a leash.
This posting is long overdue. Yet perhaps no time is the right time to pay homage to a man who births brilliance from sadness. Edward Lear, impoverished epileptic, clownish artist, misfit bumbling socialite, endearingly teary-eyed poet, and above all, a man whose name should ring out side by side with Lewis Carroll, but very rarely does.
The Cat and the Devil is an Irish tale explaining the existence of a French bridge across the Loire. The devil builds the bridge for the people of Beaugency under the condition that the first to soul walk across it will be his. And who walks across it first? A cat. Who doesn’t walk. He runs. Because the townspeople pour cold water over him. That’s one way to outwit the devil.
Here’s another little book by a big-name author. Ray Bradbury’s Switch on the Night was published in 1955 and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. There is a little nameless boy who doesn’t like the night. He keeps it away by blazing lights around him at all times until a little moon-girl named Dark introduces him to the night.
If you like literature. If you respect the world of literature. If you respect and maybe even adore authors, those dark figures lurking in the shadows, those puppeteers in the world of words. If all of these ifs, and if you also happen to like picture books, could you think of a more compelling object …