August 24, 2007

DT Cute-Out: Munro Leaf's Safety Can Be Fun Can Be Beautiful

I found out about The Story of Ferdinand author Munro Leaf's other book[1] last summer during the DT Bizzare Book Contest. DT reader Chris had submitted the 1938 classic, Safety Can Be Fun for its awesome combination of clean graphic design and wildly inappropriate content. [Leaf's own deliberately childish stick figures depict the various kinds of stupid, sissy Nit-Wits you absolutely didn't want to be, kids. Like the "No Brains, No Breath Nit-Wit. It is going to put that plastic bag over its head." I always make sure that the photo of the Wrong End Of The Gun Nit-Wit ends up on a few of my DT moo cards.]

safetyp3233.jpg

Anyway, at the library this afternoon, the kid and I stumbled across SCBF. In person. Right there on the shelf. It is gorgeous, I had no idea. Printed only in red and black, I swear, the thing looks like it's letterpressed. So tactile and well-laid out. The library copy is pristine, too; In 35 years, I guess not many people in Northwest DC care to read to their kids about guns and fingers in toasters. I'm not sure what the other editions are like, but the New, Revised Edition, Seventh Printing, copyright renewed in 1961, is really beautiful. [Don't worry, I already asked the librarian if it's ever going to be deaccessioned, so if we "forget" to return it, she'll know I swiped it. Anyway, old copies are cheap enough online.]

Pick up a vintage copy of Safety Can Be Fun on Amazon [amazon]
[1] yeah, I know, Leaf wrote at least 20 other books, including at least eight more "____ Can Be Fun titles. Anyone got a book report on any of those?

1 Comment

My mother has this book which is combined in one volume with Manners Can Be Fun.

I loved them as a child, and she's been reading them to our 5-year-old twins. They love them too.

The only drawback is that they also love *re-enacting* them. They think it's hilarious. They are also inventing new ones. I came into their room one night a few weeks ago, and found them laughing hysterically while twisted around and through the bunkbed ladder.

"We're 'Tangled Up In The Ladder Nitwits!" they shouted in delight.

Great.

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