Free McKee

On a recent trip to London I found myself in what used to be the glorious Spitalfields market feeling a little sad about the tat around me when I noticed an untended stall with the sign “Free Books – Help yourself”. How could I resist? My northern stinge tendencies were rewarded with a couple of ACE finds.

Two Can Toucan – by David McKee. McKee is the writer and illustrator behind such delights as Mr Benn, Not now Bernard and of course Elmer. Two Can Toucan was his first children’s book – published in 1964. There are some really tasty images, with the flattened perspective and big strong shapes that I love in the Mr Benn books. The Toucan somehow doesn’t work as well as many other elements in the book – a clump of chaps in a bowler hats, a great old mountain triangle and some crazy boat designs. The title seems to have been republished with more slick and polished illustrations but I think I prefer my old copy.

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