The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel, pictures by Blair Lent. (1972)
This Caldecott winner is a funny one indeed. Bizarrely so, but ultimately entertaining and mysterious.
(Be warned that the underground monsters, called oni, are pretty scary looking.)
My favorite bits are: 1.) the hilarity of the funny little woman’s laugh, “Tee-he-he-he”; 2.) the parallel story told through illustrations of the woman’s house through the seasons and its new visitors while she’s away from it.
Strega Nona, an old tale retold and illustrated by Tomie de Paola. (1975)
A familiar classic that stands the test of time. Full of interest and suspense and charming illustrations.
And check out that illustration spread before the title page that also concludes the book! Beautiful colors and mise en scene. I also love the page with the townspeople and their forks twirled with pasta, mouths open and ready to eat.
But Names Will Never Hurt Me by Bernard Waber. (1976)
Told in the second person, Alison Wonderland hears the story of her name. Her name that sounds a lot like the title of a very famous book. (Alis-on Wonderland!)
There are years of history that led to that name, years of conversations between grandparents and parents that are pretty endearing.
Alison has no idea she has a troublesome name until she goes to school. Then she finds out pretty quick. But not to worry! In the end, she grows up and embraces her name, no longer minding its association with white rabbits.
Not to mention that title page illustration that alludes to the problem with Alison’s name. Very clever!
The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. (1977)
My very very favorite from this decade! After a seagull drops a bucket of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean’s house, things will never be the same on that same same neat neat street!
That big orange splot inspires Mr. Plumbean to paint his house to resemble “a rainbow,” “a jungle,” “and explosion.” One by one, he inspires all the neighbors too.
This book kind of embodies the 70s. Not only that, it’s hilarious for kids and adults. The grownup language and figures of speech Pinkwater uses throughout are a hoot.
And two more 70s faves I’ve talked about on This Picture Book Life before:
Everybody Needs a Rock (1974)
William’s Doll (1972)
Okay, now you! Any picture books from the 70s to add?