July 12, 2006

DTBBC: Go Go Go Grabote

gogograbote.jpgTitle: Go Go Go Grabote
Author/Illustrator: Nicole Claveloux (A Harlin Quist Book 1973)
Reviewer: Geoff

I was looking around my kid's overwhelming book collection, thinking about which ones might be deemed Bizarre. The first to come to mind are the 1950s Austrian books some friends gave us. They weren't bizarre, just old fashioned. Then, I found this book from that my wacky NYC Aunt sent me back in the early 1980s (she was 1980s wacky) and I must have read over and over and never understood it. I still don't.

"Go, Go, Go, Grabote" is the story of a small imp named Grabote who pops off the illustrator's Escher-esque eyeball and takes part in a psychedelic adventure involving a weepy corporate jungle-dwelling lion, a belligerent television and evil Roman architecture. She has her nonsensical adventure which takes an odd turn when she argues with an angel and takes off all of her clothes. She then gets a call from a prissy librarian who tells her she can't go taking off all her clothes because this is a children's book. She sulks off and then becomes the corporate lion's secretary. Still naked. The book ends abruptly with her knitting the border of the image surrounding her.

I pretty sure this lady was tripping, and figure this could only get published in the early 1970s. I'm not really sure I'll ever read this to my kids -- I might just pop it in their bookcase for them to discover someday when they are five.

[ed. note: gotta say, that cover is pretty sweet, though. Scrolling through other books Quist published, I definitely recognized/remembered some. He seems to be something of a nexus of early 70's trippy-sophisticated children's publishing.

I mean, Edward Gorey? Three children's books by Eugene Ionesco?? And check out this description of what's called a Quist classic, also with illustrations by Claveloux, The Teletrips of Alala:

A psychedelic children's story about a girl who climbs inside of her television and ventures into a strange and disturbing world.

[And from abebooks] At one point, Alala gives some sad Black people magic candy and it turns them different colors. 'The bad white people - embarassed certainly for their general meanness - turned red and purple.' A typically bizarre book from Quist.

I am officially intrigued. Two points to the wacky aunt.]

1 Comment

Alala was one of my favorite books during my childhood, growing up hippy in San Francisco and Marin County, CA. I think it was a gift on my 5th birthday, and I remembered it for all those years. I particularly liked the way that Alala (who is biracial to begin with, I think) marries this cool Dashiki-clad African man and has a "rainbow of children" - a little asian girl, plus purple and green and blue children.

I gave it to myself for my 35th birthday, and it is still a wacky treasure!

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