March 26, 2014

André Hellé: Meine große Tiermenagerie

This is a big one and a great classic. French artist André Hellé (1871-1945) created this large-formated children's book in 1911. The illustrations were inspired by contemporary wooden toys. Hellé described 20 animals with funny and often ironic words and beautiful illustrations. "Meine große Tiermenagerie" ("Drole de Betes") has been republished by Knesebeck and is available in German for the first time now. I really enjoyed watching the pictures with all the details and reading the text. The words are a bit out of time of course and more for adults to enjoy than for the little ones. Also the stereotypes of that time need some explanation. Good to have it though and a true must-have for everyone who loves old children's books! You can pick up a copy here or here. The French edition has been published by éditions MeMo.

André Hellé was also a renowned creator of toys. Take a look here. In 2013 a first retrospective took place at Musée du Jouet de Poissy.