Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jolly Old Santa Claus

This is my Christmas time wallpaper scanned from one of my cherished books, "Jolly Old Santa Claus". The book was published by Ideals in the early sixties. My grandparents gave it to my sister, my brother and me. My youngest sister isn't mentioned in the inscription, so it was given to us sometime before 1966. As the oldest I laid claim to it years ago. The story is credited to "Sparkie" and the illustrations are by George Hinke. The book is laid out with the art filling double page spreads alternating with two pages of text. I may have read the text once or twice but I spent many hours staring at the pictures. Every spread shows a scene of Santa and his "Brownies" getting ready for Christmas. There is an abundance of detail and all the characters are truly individuals. There is an aspect of early "Where's Waldo" in that there are re-occuring characters on each spread. Look for the cat.
I haven't been able to find out much about Mr. Hinke other than that he immigrated from Germany. His only work beyond this book that I'm aware of are two paintings of Christ. The book was republished a few years ago, but the layouts were changed to integrate the text and pictures. It reads better as a book but the pictures were obscured and cut up. So, I'll stick with looking at my old, beat-up book every Christmas season.

5 comments:

Jessamyn said...

My grandparents also bought this book for my cousins, and then it was passed on to my sister and I. It is now in my parent's house and is read, by mother, to my daughters, every Christmas. It is without a doubt, the most beautiful Christmas book I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. I too have seen it in the stores just recently, but it has changed. I think they even removed the pillow fight at the end! The order of the illustrations was also different. I don't think it needed changing at all, but it is nice that other children can see the beautiful pictures and "walk through" Santa's house we did when we were young.

Marcus55901 said...

I, too, spent many an hour as a child gazing at George Hinke's Santa paintings. I came across them in an Ideals Christmas issue from the late 1940s. I still have it, and the quality of the printing is extraordinary. The colors are still gorgeous and the artwork is, of course, spellbinding!

Mary X said...

My Grandmother gave me this book for CHristmas (which is a fortnight before Christmas). I loved it and spent many hours looking at the wonderful pictures. As I got older I always enjoyed sharing it with kids. I left it at my parents place when I moved out and they threw it out. I am still grieving and just paid a small fortune to buy the original 1958 version over the internet. I'm hoping it turns up!

Mom Keele said...

Just found you on the internet because I'm trying to send a picture to my grandchildren of how I remember Christmas! The new books also don't have Santa smoking his pipe. Anyway, I am grateful you have this one, so I can forward it on to the kiddies!

beautifullydepressed said...

I have been looking for this book! I had it as a child, and like you, spent many hours looking at the beautiful illustrations! That was my ideal of the North Pole. I found the book when my daughter was young, but it had a different cover. Unfortunately, I lost it. Now, she is giving me my first grandchild and I must have this book to share. Thank you for posting this!