In November and December of 1999 I had the second of two full color book assignments for Instructional Fair. I had been doing mostly black and white cartoon work for this client for a couple years, and these two books were a chance to really stretch out and try something a bit more ambitious.
This book was the 2nd of the two, and consisted of two unrelated stories. One about a mystery man who arrives in a vaguely European town and proceeds to pull a number of inexplicable objects from his satchel, and then put them back in. The second story was about a boy who imagines a group of small creatures living in the pipes under his kitchen sink. I got the impression that the main purpose of these books were in introducing specific words to a young reader’s vocabulary, and the stories were sort of cobbled together around this laundry list of words.
I tried to tie the two stories together by including the ‘under the sink creatures’ as a decorative motif at the base of the fountain. Not sure if it was noticeable enough. I certainly seemed to enjoy the challenge of the second half of the book much more than the first half, although in retrospect, the blue and pink were poor color choices for the characters.
Previously, I had only shared a couple sample illustrations from this book, but am going back in 2018 to be a bit more completist, and have shared all the illustrations for the first time since publication.
As a side note, I had given away my free author’s copies of both of these books years ago, and recently tried to find them on eBay. For some reason, this particular title is very hard to find, and copies are going for several hundred dollars (while “Mother Goose News” the other title I did around the same time, is still very reasonable priced as a used book). Guess I’ll keep looking.
Also, as a bonus, here’s an alternate cover illustration that was never used (although it may have been used as a frontispiece for the book, I can’t remember).