Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monty the Mouse -- or How did she DO that?

There's an Australian author by the name of Esta de Fossard who, in the 1970's wrote a few books about animals.

Sounds pretty normal, right?

Let me give you a hint about the types of animal books she wrote --

Monty the Mouse Looks for Adventure 




Ok -- take a close look at the photo.

There in the center of the photo, drugged by a sugar overdose, is Monty the Mouse.

Yes, Monty is a real mouse, fur and all.


Here's another peek at him -

Monty the Runaway Mouse











Turns out Monty is quite an adventurer.  He is the featured character in at least three books (though the quality control for Worldcat takes a dive for the one listing that calls Monty a Moose).   Monty gets into all sort of scrapes and out of them just as easily.













Monty is, as far as I can tell, a stuffed mouse that has articulation abilities (i.e.: his arms and legs can be moved ).  I have no basis for this assumption, but I honestly can't come up with a better answer for how the photos for this series of books was accomplished. 





The stories are fairly basic and for young readers.  The images are the main appeal of the books and they are a wild amalgam of kitsch, standard issue kids book styling and pure genius, all rolled up into a package that becomes more appealing with each read-through. 

And Monty was not the only animal that Esta de Fossard featured in her books -- but Monty is, by far the most interesting (as far as I'm concerned).

Frisk, the Unfriendly Foal

Huff the Grumbling Pigeon



Catkin, the Curious Kitten



















It's been a while since I read the last three - but I believe that Huff the pigeon is a stuffed beast, just like Monty the mouse is.  The other two, I'm not so sure. And there are other books in the series as well that I have never been privileged to have in hand.

In my research regarding these books I found out that Esta de Fossard is a well respected educator and speaker.  She was, at some point, an actress in Australia.  She has written text books for educators on how to incorporate drama and independent thinking into writing and she has written at least one book on how to write for film and television.  That's pretty much all I could come up with. 

I was hoping to have some background into how she created Monty the Mouse.  I really wanted to know if Monty was alive and just  well trained for his photo-shoot.  If not, the taxidermist who stuffed Monty did a great job. 


Either way, this series of books have wormed a permanent place in my heart. 




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