Friday, January 4, 2013

Object of the Day: "Punch and Toby," a Children's Book

I received this beautiful book from my parents for Christmas. Since English books before 1970 often didn’t list a copyright date, it’s difficult to say when the book was published, but it’s the work of London’s Juvenile Productions, Ltd., and likely was written and illustrated in the 1940s. Neither the author nor illustrator is named.

The illustrations are truly stunning. I wish I could have reproduced all of them for you, but I didn’t want to risk damaging the book by opening it wide enough to scan all of the pages.

Entitled, “Punch and Toby,” the story explains that Mr. Punch lives in a steam-lined caravan and travels to seaside towns to entertain children. Along the way, he meets a stray dog and decides to call him, “Toby.” After being given a bath (which Punch calls the worst part) and dinner (which Punch calls the best part), Dog Toby is Punch’s friend for life and they travel about together, riding on roundabouts, visiting the marketplaces, and putting on their show.

I’m especially tickled that Punch greets Toby initially with, “Hullo, Chum”—just like our Mr. Punch/the Duke of Fallbridge from “Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.”

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