Back when our children were small, we picked up two books by Wallace Tripp: Granfa’ Grig Had A Pig and A Great Big Ugly Man came Up And Tied His Horse To Me . These immediately became family favorites, books still remembered as those once-small children advance into their forties.
A Great Big Ugly Man disintegrated long ago, but I did discover the dilapidated remnants of Granfa’ Grig a little while back. The graphics from here on are scans of that particular piece of family culture. And let me just stave off those who would say that our children should have been more careful with these books. No! You do not stop a child from reading; you do not make them wash their hands before opening the cover. These are some of the myriad ways in which people destroy a child’s interest in reading. Little children are messy and heedless of consequence, and so is their love, whether of books or anything else. Would you demand your child wash their hands before hugging you?
Ah well, another day, another rant. That’s done. Here’s the wraparound cover for Granfa’ Grig:
And the double title page:
Is this getting through yet? This is a book of nursery rhymes, some quite obscure, illustrated by a very fine artist.
Wallace Tripp quit his day job and sought to find work illustrating children’s books in the mid-1960s. After a time, he established himself and worked on many books including the Amelia Bedelia series. Soon he discovered his forte: exquisitely rendered anthropomorphic animals. This genre lends to satire, and Tripp embraced a very gentle and humane satire that infuses all his work. Look at this silly rhyme:
Look at the marvelous expression on the bear’s face. And check out the children in these two rhymes:
But it’s not all animals. This rhyme was a family favorite:
“Beat you! Beat you! Beat you!” my kids would joyously shout. God knows what images were swimming in their partly-formed consciousness. And, speaking of family favorites, here is my wife’s:
She really enjoys scenes of pomposity being slapsticked.
Here’s some other Tripp work not in Granfa’ Grig:
Tripp had a company, Pawprints, that distributed his drawings in various formats. Now you should look to eBay for those calendars and greeting cards.
In the 1990s, Tripp began to have physical problems that were diagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. He has been retired for twenty years now.
Here is the rhyme and illustration that ends Granfa’ Grig:
There are numerous collections of Wallace Tripp art reproduced on-line. For instance: