Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Herman. Crocodile. Likes boysenberry yogurt. Sells things.
Rosie. Deer. Likes toffee that sticks to her teeth. Works in a restaurant.
(Guys, Gus Gordon has a serious way with stories.)
They live in New York, that big bustling noisy wonderful city that can also be a little on the lonely side. While living close to one another Herman and Rosie have never met.
They’re quite different these two. But there are very important things they have in common:
1.) MUSIC. He plays oboe, she sings jazz.
2.) They both watch FILMS ABOUT THE OCEAN.
“Once upon a time in a very busy city, on a very busy street, in two very small apartments, lived Herman Schubert and Rosie Bloom.”
The amazing thing is how these two frequent the same streets and subways and cafes, but never meet (which can happen in a big city).
But once they happen to hear each other’s tunes (oboe, jazz), they get stuck in their heads (“like good tunes do”).
Here’s what I love about this book:
*The Mark Twain quote on the copyright page.
“Ditto the description there: ‘a groovy little jazz number’ brings together a lonely crocodile and deer.’”
*The beauty of finally meeting someone with a shared passion after the dark night of loneliness.
*The oboe looks real (and actually may be collage) in the picture below.
*The little Jacques Cousteau bits you’ll find if you search the illustrations for them.
To me, the obvious choice to pair with Herman and Rosie is a book about Jacques Cousteau, that crucial minor character in their story.
What better way to dive into some Jacques Cousteau than with the picture book Manfish! I so admire Jennifer Berne‘s bio books. And this one is a must-read.
“As he grew, Jacques fell in love with the sea. He dreamed of breathing beneath the waves and swimming as gracefully as a fish. In fact, he longed to become a manfish.”
And of course, as you know, he did. The boy who loved water grew into the man who loved the oceans of the world.
Jennifer Berne’s author’s note explains Cousteau’s mantra was: “We must go and see for ourselves.” So, let’s go! Let’s listen! Let’s start with these two lovely books.