Saturday, January 4, 2014

Herman and Rosie

Herman and Rosie
by Gus Gordon
Roaring Book Press, 2013.  Unpaged. Picture Book.

     "I have at last, after several months' experience made up my mind that [New York] is a splendid desert--a domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is LONELY in the midst of a million of his race."  -Mark Twain-  Herman Schubert, a crocodile, lives alone in New York City. He works in a cube farm "selling things," but when he gets home he likes to play his oboe.  He also likes wild boysenberry yogurt, the smell of hot dogs in winter, and films about the ocean.  Rosie Bloom, a deer, also lives by herself. She works in a restaurant washing dishes, but after work she takes voice lessons, and at night she sings in a small jazz club. One her own time, Rosie listens to old jazz recordings (Dizzy Holiday, Louis Basie, and various other mashups). She also likes toffee, singing on the fire escape . . . and watching films about the ocean. By and by Herman gets fired for talking too much about creatures of the sea and not selling enough things, and Rosie's little jazz club goes out of business. Herman and Rosie are lonesome and sad,  until the night Herman plays his oboe on the roof of his apartment building and Rosie finds him.  The rest is cheerful history, and Herman and Rosie become two people in New York who are lonely no more.  Gordon's story and pictures are a pure delight (don't miss the two anteaters playing cards).  One of my favorite picture books of the year.

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