Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry and the Monstrous Din by Russell Hoban


Now for something New.

Henry and the Monstrous Din by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban.

This is a very early printing (most likely 2nd printing), but not a first -- the only distinction, according to Baumgarten, is the fact that the endpapers are supposed to be colored. This copy has solid off-white endpapers. 

This particular book is another one of those head-scratching Harper & Row titles --

I know I've mentioned them before, but for continuity's sake, here's a quick review:  Harper & Row generally notes First Edition on the copyright page for all books (and has done for donkey's years).

BUT -- when it comes to children's books from the 1940's- the 1960's (and even into the 70's), they were....


at best.

The publisher just didn't seem to care one way or another about children's books. Some copyright pages had the First Edition notation.
Many of them did not.
People who want to know what they have in hand have to find bibliographies, research material or just plain guess.
This does not make for happy Children's picture book dealers.
Or at least, it makes more WORK (and hair pulling) for dealers such as myself.

Baumgarten helps in the general sense.  Specific bibliographies of artists / authors helps greatly too (but are more expensive and you have to keep adding to your reference shelves, which means LESS space for books for sale...

None of which was what I wanted to discuss with this book.

The fact is, I think it's a fun book.

Here's the opener for you: 
"It was morning, and Henry woke up. When he woke up he felt good, so he began to make a little noise. He said HOOM, and the noise began to grow. He said HUM, and the noise grew bigger.  He said BEE BI BO, and Father, who was in the bathroom shaving, jumped. "What a monstrous din that boy is making!"

Pretty soon, the monstrous din takes over, becomes a REAL monster type and carries Henry off in it's jaws...

See -- Fun stuff.

This is the kind of picture book I like.

Besides, I was pretty loud myself as a child... and both my boys are VERY loud, so it resonates...)


babyzilla said...

This is an awesome book!
I just found a copy on ebay to share with my daughter and son. Only thing is, there's a chunk of page 6/7 missing. Would you mind telling me what the text on page 7 says? I'd really appreciate it! Thank you.

chanursteph said...


No text on page 7, just on page six:

"The noise was now much bigger than Henry, and Henry looked up at it. Are you a Monstrous Din? he said. The Din looked down at Henry and made a noise like pots and pans and iron kettles falling down a long flight of stairs. You can be my pet, said Henry. Take me for a ride."

Hope this helps!

Enjoy the book.

babyzilla said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!