Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins; illustrated by Eric Gurney (1969)

The mystery of Al Perkins.  He apparently wrote some of the best selling children's books of all time,then vanished.  Perhaps not into the Bermuda Triangle, but there's nothing about him on the internet other than some rudimentary bookflap flap - and not existing on the world wide web is essentially the same as vanishing, right?

I mean everyone has heard of Al Perkins,even if they haven't heard his name.  We were all in second grade at one time, stumbling over "Monkeys drum... and monkeys hum.  Hum drum.  Hum drum.  Hum drum hum."

As poetry goes, it ain't Shakespeare.  I don't know about you though, but I've never forgotten "Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum."  I'm not sure I can name as much from Wordsworth or Keats or Shelley.

Eric Gurney, the illustrator, has  Wikipedia that's three times as large as Al Perkins.

Note:  isn't this how Planet of the Apes began?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It ain't Shakespeare, but 35 years or so later after first reading this, I can still hear "Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum" which is more than I can say for Keats or Shelley.  The question remains: who the hell was Al Perkins?  The man has sold a bazillion "bright and early books for beginning readers" but his Wikipedia is two sentences long.  It doesn't even say if he's dead or alive!  He also wrote Hugh Lofting's Travels of Doctor Dolittle which I totally dug as a kid too.  

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